One can look at this past Oakland Athletics series in a number of ways, but I am thinking that is was just one bad turn through the rotation.
This seems to happen every May. The Oakland Athletics pitchers go through a dead arm period and the team ERA skyrockets. Then, one starter will have a terrific game and the other starters will feed off of that, and the pitching will be dominant once again. I am confident that the cycle will start with Rich Hill when he takes the mound in Tampa. I am also confident that the Rays will NOT reach double figures in runs scored.
The A’s seemed to have run into a perfect storm. The pitching staff is struggling, and the Red Sox are surging. Those two forces came together at Fenway Park, where it is pretty easy to score runs in bunches. Jackie Bradley Jr. is finally living up to his hype. A’s pitchers were leaving the ball up in the strike zone and Red Sox hitters were not missing any mistakes. As Hanley Ramirez aptly demonstrated to rookie Sean Manaea, mistake pitches at Fenway get hit a long way.
A’s fans should be careful about what they wish for. Remember all those “one-run losses” from last year? Close losses do not appear to be an issue this year.
The bottom line is that a loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it is by 11 runs or one run. Run differential is an intriguing statistic, but I don’t think it really matters. This recent stretch is going to cause the overall team ERA to rise significantly, and it is going to take a while for it to come down. It is, however, one cycle through the rotation. Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman, and Sean Manaea, have superior arms.
The starting pitching is going to carry this club as the season goes forward. This “Boston Massacre,” while historic, is just one bump in the road of a long season. By the time the Athletics are playing in July and August, no one is going to be thinking about what happened in Boston back in May.
So it is time to move on and forget about Boston. It’s time for a winning streak and Rich Hill is the perfect pitcher to get it started.
Will the series against Tampa Bay end up being the start of a turnaround for the Oakland Athletics? Be sure to let us know in the comments.