Laureano’s hit streak ends, but Oakland’s outfield offense keeps flourishing
The center fielder’s 16-game streak ended in the A’s loss to the Angels on Thursday night, but Grossman and co. didn’t skip a beat from the plate.
Just as they did this time one year ago, the Oakland Athletics are exploding on offense.
After a mediocre March and April, starting in early May – coinciding with Matt Olson’s return to the lineup – the Swingin’ A’s have been one of the best offenses in the MLB, returning back to the form that won them 97 games in 2018.
Highlighting those successes was Ramon Laureano, who was on a career-high 16-game hit streak that (not coincidentally) began on May 18, the first game of the A’s 10-game win streak.
That streak was broken last night, with Laureano going 0-4 in the A’s 10-9 extra-innings loss to the Angels, although the center fielder extended his on-base streak to 24 games, the longest current streak in the MLB.
But in Laureano’s offensive absence, left fielder Robbie Grossman continued his own recent tear, knocking a season-high four base hits – besting his three-hit day on June 2 – and scoring two runs, leading the charge until his 10th-inning defensive blunder cost the A’s the game.
Grossman, a career .255 hitter who was batting .212 on the season on May 19, is hitting .368 with eight runs and three RBIs since May 19.
In 57 games this season, he is nearly halfway (29) to his career-high in runs (62) and is only two away from surpassing his home run total from 2018 (six).
Grossman and Laureano are not alone in their offensive firepower in the outfield.
Since May 18, the quintet of Laureano, Grossman, Stephen Piscotty, Mark Canha and Chad Pinder are posting: a .290 batting average, 32 runs, 11 home runs and 31 RBIs. Even the worst hitter in that span – Canha at .250 – leads the unit with four bombs and eight ribbies in the last 17 games.
We have talked about the importance of the big bats – Olson, Matt Chapman, Khris Davis and to an extent Marcus Semien – but just as key for the Oakland Athletics will be consistency from the bottom of the order and from pinch-hitter and platoon players, especially as the starting rotation takes time to heal up and the bullpen continues to reel.