The 2021 season has not started as the Oakland A’s would have expected. The defending AL West champions have stumbled out of the gates to a 2-7 start on the year. While slow starts are nothing new, their poor showing against the Astros has been particularly galling.
Injuries have not helped matters. Mike Fiers has yet to pitch this season, and A.J. Puk is back to his usual place on the Injured List. Super utility man Chad Pinder is also on the IL with his return uncertain. Trevor Rosenthal, their prized free agent signing, just underwent a procedure for thoracic outlet syndrome. Sean Murphy and Ramon Laureano have also missed time this year, although both are back in the lineup.
Three members of the Oakland A’s that need to step up
While these injuries mean opportunity, they also mean that other players need to step up. If the A’s are going to shake off their slow start as they have done so many times in the past, they are going to need to get those needed performances.
Let’s take a look at three players that need to step up for the Oakland A’s.
It is a bit unfair to consider Sean Murphy’s start to the season as disappointing. He suffered a fractured rib and punctured lung in the offseason, then missed time after being hit by a pitch.
But the fact remains that Murphy has disappointed thus far in the early going. He has yet to record a hit in his 14 plate appearances, drawing three walks and striking out eight times. Defensively, he has yet to throw out any of the three baserunners that attempted a steal despite his excellent arm.
Murphy started out slowly in 2020 as well, struggling over the first quarter of the season before he began to see results. His ability to hit the ball hard made him a popular breakout candidate this season, but that has not happened thus far.
Sean Murphy had a later start to spring training and is still shaking off the rust. The Oakland A’s need that to happen sooner rather than later.