Ever since the All-Star Break, the Oakland Athletics have been struggling to find their mojo in just about every facet of the game. They haven’t pitched particularly well in a number of cases, their offense has been inconsistent at best, and their defense has been downright awful. With the trouble they have had in so many aspects of the game, the losses have been piling up and the Athletics’ once prime position in the standings turned into a very precarious one.
Aug 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Coco Crisp (4) is congratulated by third base coach Mike Gallego (2) after hitting the game winning home run in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Athletics defeated the Orioles 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
There are many fingers to be pointed at various members of the Athletics roster, but without a doubt one of the biggest reasons the team has been struggling has been Coco Crisp. Since he came to the Athletics before the 2011 season, Crisp has become the catalyst of the A’s offense. As Coco goes, so the team goes. They rely on Crisp to function as the motor of this offensive engine.
It is no coincidence that the A’s have struggled as badly as they have lately at the same time Crisp has fallen into a deep slump that has seen his overall numbers on the season take a decisive nose dive. Since the All-Star Break through Friday’s game, Crisp hit a paltry .228/.297/.356. Compare that to the solid .263/.345/.414 line he posted up until that point in the season, and it’s clear to see just why the offense hasn’t been able to get going.
The last three games though have seen Coco Crisp come to life. In Wednesday’s loss versus the Mariners, Crisp led off the game with his 11th home run of the season. The offense sputtered during that game, but the home run was a good sign of things to come. Crisp broke out in a big way during Friday night’s game in Baltimore, going 4 for 5 with another home run and three runs scored. They lost but it wasn’t due any fault of Crisp’s. Saturday’s game saw Coco impact the game yet again with his third home run in as many games. This time it was a clutch ninth inning homer that gave the A’s a 2-1 lead, and enabled them to snap their three game losing streak and ultimately gain a game on the Texas Rangers in the AL West.
While Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick continue to struggle, a productive Coco Crisp can help mask their defficiencies. With the likes of Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss having solid seasons, they don’t necessarily need Cespedes and Reddick to return to their 2012 forms as long as Crisp is pulling his weight. Of course it would be nice if they would do that, but let’s not hold our breath.
Because of Coco’s possible resurgence, the Athletics have a chance to win this series in Baltimore and head into Detroit with a little bit of momentum. Without a doubt they will need every bit of momentum and confidence they can gather because this upcoming four game set in the Motor City is going to be a major challenge. The A’s are up to it, but only if Coco Crisp can lead the charge.