The Oakland Athletics are 14-21 and tied for third place in the AL West. Here’s why A’s fans need not worry.
Going into today’s off day, the Oakland Athletics are 7 games under .500, Sonny Gray‘s ERA sits at 6.00, and the A’s are in the conversation for which team will hit the American League West cellar. With the Oakland Raiders considering a move to Las Vegas and the Golden State Warriors shifting across the bay to San Francisco, Oakland may be left with an awful team which is struggling to eclipse their last-place expectation. It is not easy to forget last year’s finish as the worst in the American League. So what reason do A’s fans have to look forward to the rest of the season?
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Yes, injuries are abound in the A’s clubhouse as Jed Lowrie, Mark Canha, Chris Bassitt, Eric Sogard, and many other A’s were put on the disabled list. Yes, the A’s have given up the most runs in the American League (181 going into today). And yes, Sonny Gray has looked terrible in his last three starts.
But folks: it’s only May.
Sonny Gray will bounce back. He has to. Even his batting average on balls in play is far higher (.328) than it had been throughout his career (.274), which is to say that he has been a little unlucky. The A’s defense doesn’t help his cause. But don’t forget that it’s only May. His first four starts were decidedly Gray-like, where he pitched in four quality starts and allowed an ERA of only 2.73 and struck out one per inning pitched.
What about the A’s injuries? Danny Valencia will be out for a little bit as he struggles to keep his ailing hamstring healthy, and the A’s have many players on the aforementioned disabled list. But don’t forget that it’s only May. Henderson Alvarez is right around the corner, a white knight in shining armor given his stellar 2014 season. Sean Manaea is here to stay, as all he has done is decimate minor league hitting. Though critics may point to his rather unsightly 11.37 ERA, Manaea did strike out six Seattle Mariners in five innings, owing to that nasty slider of his. As far as infield positional player depth goes, Tyler Ladendorf has been a serviceable pinch runner, and Max Muncy and Renato Nunez can pop in and hit a few home runs if needed. Only three infielders in the entire Pacific Coast League have more home runs than Muncy and Nunez, who are tied at six.
Plus, the schedule may favor the Oakland Athletics for the upcoming week. They face the light-hitting (though hard-throwing) Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, a team which is dead last in the entire major leagues in batting average. Though a homestand starting against Texas may be tough, they did go 10-9 against them last year. Finally, the A’s will go against the Yankees at home, a struggling team they swept easily in New York last month.
Will the A’s turn things around this month? Share your thoughts in the comments section.