Oakland Athletics’ Mojo Has Finally Returned


After a series sweep against the Texas Rangers, The A’s are riding a 5-game winning streak and are 9 of 11. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Things are good right now. A series sweep over the Texas Rangers for a five-game winning streak, nine Ws out of their last 11 games, the pitchers are getting run support and even the defense appears to have improved. The bullpen is holding leads — with the exception of the June 12 implosion — with two saves in their last three appearances where they gave up zero earned runs. It looks like the 2015 Oakland Athletics are finally coming together for their first winning month since July 2014.

With a whole six weeks to go until the July 31 trade deadline, the last thing Billy Beane needs to do now is harm that upward spiral mojo the team has rolling and trade away a “key” player. Things have at long last meshed and jelled – although the bullpen is still questionable – and the rest of the season may not be the predicted flop that fans sensed from a few weeks back. Steady hitting from Stephen Vogt, Brett Lawrie, and Josh Reddick along with the emergence of Billy Burns and the turn-arounds of Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman have led to the resurgence of the Athletics.

With three .300 hitters in the lineup, the A’s are ranked in the upper third of AL batting statistics for the first time in a while. Starting pitching has been extremely good with Oakland ranked second in AL figures. Imagine how things would be if the 6-16 last place ranked bullpen that only attained 15 of its 27 save opportunities had come through when given the ball.

Everyone remembers the downfall of the 2014 Athletics after Beane dealt away fan-favorite Yoenis Cespedes last July opting for Jon Lester to boost an already hefty pitching corps. The A’s were 57-33 after 90 games when the trade was made, which was the best record in baseball, but went 31-41 the rest of the way, 15-28 in their last 43 games. This was the fourth worst record in the league ending a most frustrating season that that nearly cost them a playoff spot — even if it was only for one game.

Steady hitting from Stephen Vogt, with the emergence of Billy Burns al have led the resurgence of the Athletics. Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t get sights set high yet, there’s still a ways to go in 2015. At seven games below .500 (.453) and nine games back from the cooling off Houston Astros, the A’s must ride this production wave in order to get back in contention. At this point, instead of a fire sale, Beane may want to work his magic on rebuilding the bullpen with a solid closer and reliable setup men.

I have no problem with 0-2 4.86 ERA Fernando Abad, 2-1 Evan Scribner with his four blown saves, or a 0-2 8.49 ERA Eric O’Flaherty seeing what summer is like in Nashville and around the rest of the PCL. Pat Venditte, who is currently on the DL, and Edward Mujica are overall showing promise. Unfortunately, given the statistics, no one else in the bullpen holds any value as trade-bait and it’s doubtful that Beane wants to give up a prospect at this point in the season.

So, as it stands now, let’s see if this is the long-awaited turning point. Beane should see how the next few weeks go before trading anyone of value. Remember, last year’s World Series was between Wild Card winners.

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