Oakland Athletics Starters Continue To Struggle, While Offense Stays Hot vs. the Boston Red Sox
The Oakland Athletics are going through a rough patch right now. The A’s have lost eight out of their last nine games. They have given up 11 or more runs in three consecutive games, and the starters have been consistently knocked out of the game before the fifth inning.
First, on Sunday, Kendall Graveman gave up six earned runs to Baltimore in just 2.2 innings. Then, the Boston Red Sox tagged Sonny Gray for seven earned runs in 3.2 innings on Monday. Finally, the Red Sox scored eight runs in three innings on Tuesday against Sean Manaea. In their final game against Boston, the A’s will turn the ball over to left-hander Eric Surkamp to try to stop this skid.
The most frustrating thing about the latest losses is that the A’s are hitting the ball with authority and scoring in bunches. Josh Reddick is tearing the cover off the ball. Marcus Semien has become an RBI machine, and Yonder Alonso is finally making solid contact as well. A’s hitters gave the starters early leads, which rapidly disappeared. Unfortunately, the offense can not score nearly enough to even keep the game close.
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To paraphrase Thomas Paine, “These are the times which try A’s fans’ souls.”
There are some glimpses of a brighter future ahead. The difficult thing about facing the BoSox is that every member of their lineup, 1-9, can hit. The A’s are getting there. The only hitter who is struggling mightily is Chris Coghlan. The rest of the Oakland Athletics lineup is making consistent contact.
The Athletics have not hit many home runs this year, but they will hit plenty before the season is over. Khris Davis is looking like the power hitter A’s fans were anticipating when Billy Beane traded for him. Marcus Semien is leading all American League shortstops in home runs. Semien’s defense has come around, as well. A’s fans no longer hold their breath when the ball is hit down to him.
The bullpen’s top relievers – Sean Doolittle, John Axford and Ryan Madson – are going to hold and save a lot of games as soon as the starters last long enough to get the game to them. Axford’s foot is fine. He was cleared to play the second game in Boston.
However, the rest of the A’s are a little snakebit right now. Hopefully Jed Lowrie’s foot and Danny Valencia‘s hammy will be okay. Mark Canha is going on the DL and getting an MRI on his back. He claimed his pain when batting was “excruciating.” Hitting a 95 mile pitch is difficult enough when a hitter is not worrying about pain, so it will be good to get Canha right.
Seattle is playing well, and the Oakland Athletics are digging a pretty deep hole for themselves, but it’s a long season, and the A’s often struggle in the spring. I believe that the starting pitching will come around and carry the team before long. However, if the starters are no better than this, it is going to be a very long season.