Any other Oakland Athletics’ fans struggling on this Monday afternoon to get a handle on the moment?
As I sit in front of the keyboard, I’m not sure what direction to take with today’s blog. Let’s see what it sounds like. The Oakland Athletics lost two games in a row and the series to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays over the weekend.
It sounds awful. Let’s try this. The Oakland Athletics fell four and a half games back of the division leading Houston Astros for the AL West crown with twelve games to play. That sounds much worse.
Let’s be honest… it was uninspiring baseball to say the least. Situational hitting was terrible for anyone not named Khris Davis. “Bullpenning” was ineffective. Mike Fiers struggled and took his first loss in an A’s uniform.
It’s a strong word, but one I know a little something about. This weekend, the Oakland Athletics failed. What we watched in St. Pete was not a playoff team.
And if that wasn’t a ninety win team playing out there on the artificial turf in late September when every game matters, the question then becomes, who are the A’s? Is it time to hit the panic button? Does what we saw play out over the last three games at The Trop mean anything?
Failures happen. Especially over the course of a 162 game schedule. The A’s aren’t going to win every series, and at times, we aren’t going to play like a playoff team.
I had a personal failure myself this weekend.
I have two sons, Jax (age 6), and Griffey (age 4). It’s actually Griffin but had I tried to sell my wife on naming him after Junior, I would have lost that battle miserably.
I also have a fifteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, but she’s a sophomore in high school who has mysteriously become allergic to her parents. If you happen to see her on Instagram or Snapchat, please tell her she has family downstairs that loves her.
Even through the difficulty of the teenage years, I find myself missing that moody little eye-roller like crazy. I’m told I’ll get my real daughter back when she hits her early twenties.
As a parent, we all know finding balance is difficult. There really just isn’t enough time in the day for us, for them, for work, for sleep. Instead, most days we are spread so thin that it feels like all of it suffers.
Last Thursday, I picked up Jax from school. He had a fresh new gap in his smile and proudly presented me with his tooth, securely tucked away in one of those little yellow plastic treasure chests schools keep around for just this occasion.
That evening, he excitedly put it under his pillow. He’s been banking of late, this was his fifth tooth deposit over the last two months.
After a bedtime story and hug, I raced back downstairs to find Brett Anderson imploding on the mound in his first game back off of the disabled list. The A’s lost… and I forgot.
Major dad FAIL. Jax came down the next morning, quieter than usual. As soon as I saw the look on his face, I knew exactly what I had done.
“The tooth fairy was overwhelmed with business,” I told him. A quick promise that she would deliver the following evening and that adorable, goofy grin quickly reappeared on his face.
Crisis averted. Except the next night, I forgot again. This time I explained to him that I was up working all night and the tooth fairy couldn’t find an appropriate time to sneak upstairs without being seen.
I was telling a six-year-old lies to cover up lies. What a proud father moment. I did what I had to do though, and in the process I began wondering how many times my parents lied to me as a child. Countless, I’m sure.
The only truth to be found here is that none of us really have it figured out and we are all just doing the best that we can from day to day. You win some and you lose some. The key to winning over the long haul is making sure what losses you do incur, are few and far between.
So what was the takeaway then?
My boys now believe the tooth fairy is being overworked. So many teeth, so little time. Welcome to corporate America.
My son Jax also believes in late fees now. The payday for his tooth went from one dollar to three, an extra dollar for each night of non-payment. Blockbuster would have been proud.
I learned a simple phone reminder could have saved me a couple of bucks.
Together, we learned the A’s are going to look awful at times, as they did this weekend. They aren’t as bad a team as we saw over the final two games against Tampa, just as I’m not as horrible a father as I was over the duration of this tooth ordeal. Hiccups. It’s how we bounce back that matters.
We learned the Devil Rays aren’t doormats. Far from it. A closer look shows the Rays are 22-8 over their last thirty games and 33-19 over the second half of the season. In September their winning percentage sits at a sizzling .786 (11-3 record).
So, it wasn’t as if the Oakland Athletics went out and got kicked around by the 106-loss Orioles. We lost a series to a winning club, on the road. It happens.
In the first ever “opener vs. opener” game on Saturday, we learned the Rays are much further along in this “bullpenning” thing than we are. The Rays appeared to have it down to a science.
If “bullpenning” for the A’s is indeed here to stay, and it sounds like it may be considering Trevor Cahill is dealing with an injury, then I hope we can at least find a comfort level with it before the playoffs begin. The execution on our end of this strategy on Saturday was a disaster.
I’m trying to stay optimistic here. Earlier last week I told myself, and all of you, that I’m all in. I would not doubt this Oakland Athletics team again. Today, we find ourselves four and a half back of the Astros with twelve games left on the schedule.
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It’s going to take a monumental collapse on their part combined with a long A’s winning streak for a division lead to materialize. The Astros are 12-2 in September.
A losing streak for them seems like a pretty big ask considering they wrap up the season with the Mariners, Angels, Blue Jays, and Orioles.
He showed up. Khris is clutch, or “khlutch” as A’s fans like to say (or spell, rather). Home run number forty-two for Davis on Friday night in the tenth inning was exactly the medicine the A’s needed. The result… an A’s victory in extra innings.
Davis again tried to win the game for the A’s on Sunday evening with home run number forty-three but you can only have three base runners on when you come to the plate. It was a grand slam that drew the A’s to within one of the Rays.
It was a pressure packed moment, and yet again, Davis delivered, as he’s done all season. Of the forty-three home runs Davis has hit this season, eighteen of them have been lead-changing homers.
Khrush, you have my attention. And I know you have the attention of J.D. Martinez as well. Martinez has an outside chance at a league-wide Triple Crown. It’s a feat that hasn’t been managed in nearly sixty years (Miguel Cabrera in 2012 was AL only).
After the grand slam from Davis yesterday, J.D. finds himself two homers short heading into the final two weeks of play.
12 games to play
A divisional race. A chase for the top Wild Card spot. A race for the home run crown. As an A’s fan, are you not entertained?
The A’s aren’t on the schedule tonight which means Mike Fiers can’t give up another home run. Too soon?
The bounce back begins tomorrow evening against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What a mouthful. It’s the Angels, or rather, Mike Trout. The A’s take on Mike Trout for three at the Coliseum followed by three more games at home against the Twins.
It’s our last chance to make a push. After an off day to catch their breath, let’s hope the playoff bound Oakland Athletics team we are accustomed to seeing returns Tuesday evening. Have a good week everyone!