Through the first 14 games of the 2015 season the Oakland Athletics pieced together a 7-7 record. In those games the A’s had only one back-to-back win. When you look beyond the surface you see a team that should be above .500 as Joseph points out in his article. But it doesn’t take much digging to see that there’s something sorely lacking with this bunch. If there’s anything consistent about this freshly assembled team it is their paradoxical inconsistency. The first two games of their series against the LA Angels have been a pathetically perfect case in point.
On Monday night Oakland had all the right components working like a well-oiled machine. The Athletics scored early, and continued to score with most of the team finding a way on base. Stephen Vogt once again wowed with the bat, hitting his fourth home run of the season, knocking in three. Although Kendall Graveman‘s outing was far from smooth, the bullpen picked up the slack with a welcome return of the trusty Dan Otero that we know and love. The A’s held the big bats of Anaheim to three runs and five hits during their first meeting of the season.
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Fast forward to Tuesday night’s matchup with the Angels, a game the Athletics and their fans hope to forget very soon. The A’s lost to their division rivals by the embarrassing score of 14-1, marking their biggest margin of loss to that team. It seemed like a completely different group showed up wearing green and gold, one that didn’t even look like a major league team. The evening was categorized by sloppy defense and misplays, tallying three errors, but it looked like even more. One of the only highlights of the game came with Billy Butler’s second home run as he kept his hit streak alive, reaching base safely in all 15 games of the season. The other bright spot in the game was a perfect eighth inning pitched by none other than Oakland first baseman, Ike Davis. Move over Stephen “Everything Bagel” Vogt, looks like Ike just may take the title in the versatility department.
So what are we to make of this Jekyll and Hyde team that looks so different from one day to the next? A big part of the team’s woes have been the bullpen, and as we saw last season, when the relief pitchers are filling roles they are unaccustomed to it often results in less than desirable, well, results. So, it goes without saying the team is missing their closer Sean Doolittle and hope things in the bullpen turn around with his return. Also, let’s not forget that at least half the starting lineup is new to Oakland and to one another. It is to be expected that the team would still be ironing out some kinks through the month of April.
One can also argue that the inconsistent offensive production is not helped with the ever changing lineup card. The Oakland Athletics’ management is well known for platooning players based on the opposing pitcher. It may be time to shoot down the platoon approach and just stick with the consistent producers on the team. Vogt is truly something to believe in, leading the A’s in HRs, RBIs, OBP, SLG and OPS. He should be catching nearly every game, without fail, if possible. The speedy Sam Fuld has been great in the lead-off spot, topping the team in runs scored and triples while his counterpart in center, Craig Gentry, has yet to get a hit. Whether hitting or pitching, Ike Davis is another player who is swinging a hot bat and needs to stay in the lineup playing first base. The Athletics have all the necessary parts to break out of this win one, lose one funk so let’s hope we see this trend broken soon.