Since losing four straight games, the Oakland Athletics have gone 4-2 in their most recent six games. The team’s recent success is attributed to Oakland’s pitching staff, which has given up 10 runs in those six games and only six runs in its four victories.
While it’s only May and there is a possibility that the A’s can right the ship as the season continues, the team is 13 games behind the American League West-leading Houston Astros and find themselves in the division’s basement.
The A’s have for the most part been a second half team, but the deficit in the standings is a bit of a problem. The team’s inconsistency on the defensive and offensive sides have hindered its chances of long enough winning streaks to chip away at the deficit as well.
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The A’s, who have incurred nine more errors than the next closest AL team, the Texas Rangers, have had 51 total errors in only 50 games. Many of those errors have been accumulated by shortstop Marcus Semien who has 18 to date.
While offensively, the A’s are middle of the pack in the AL in runs scored, they’re second to last in stranding runners, according to teamrankings.com, with 3.74 per game. As a team, the A’s have a .248 batting average with runners in scoring position, according to Baseball Reference. The A’s “clutch stats”, as defined by BBR, also show that the team lacks power when needed. The A’s have a triple slash of .240/.295/.331 in late and close games.
Furthermore, in innings 1-3, the A’s are batting .260 and in 4-6 the A’s are batting .261, but it’s in innings 7=9, the A’s drop to a .244 average. In extra innings (with a small sample size of 41 plate appearances) the A’s are batting .243 with only one home run in extras.
These are some of the late game issues that are leading to the team being 3-15 in one-run games and 0-6 in extra inning games.
If the A’s hope to turn the season around, they’re going to have to get clutch hits and make the clutch plays. If not, we can surely expect even more close-game, one-run losses.
Also, there won’t be a mention of the bullpen, since kicking a dead horse just irks me. The team as a whole has to step up and be better, especially as games wind down.