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A’s Can’t Steal A Win

May 14, 2011

The A’s took on the Chicago White Sox last night at the Coliseum and if you missed the top of the second or the bottom of the seventh you missed all the scoring and pretty much all the action. The A’s offense again failed to generate many runs despite a day of rest, and the A’s pitching starting with Brandon McCarthy and ending with two bullpen offerings, pitched well but not well enough to overcome the lackluster offensive support. Its a familiar story, not only this season but last year and beyond.

The biggest moment of the game was clearly in the eighth inning when Coco Crisp drew a walk with a full count off Pale Hose reliever Matt Thornton. He proceeded to steal second for his 10th steal on the 2011 campaign. Daric Barton‘s grounder moved him to third. So with Conor Jackson up and an 0-1 count, Crisp took off for a straight steal of home – and he nearly got it. But nearly doesn’t count, and what would’ve been the tying run instead goes down as a caught stealing. A’s end up losing by that one run.

I didn’t get the chance to watch the full game, just the “condensed game” which really doesn’t give you a feel at all for what happened. I am on vacation and will be seeing the A’s Triple-A edition tonight here in Nashville, Tennessee. But, the failure to generate runs screams through a box score. Normally I wouldn’t agree with Crisp’s move when you have your #3 hitter up. But really, how little faith do we all have in our offenses ability to drive in runs? It is minimal. If the A’s can’t figure out a way to score runs, they aren’t going to win this division, they aren’t going to even finish above .500. Everyday they waste pitching performance after pitching performance after pitching performance. This one from McCarthy wasn’t exceptional, but he’s had a few that are that have been wasted. Everyone on this staff with the exception of Trevor Cahill has.

Drastic changes are necessary. Mark Ellis can’t hit. Take this line from Jane Lee’s story, with was understatedly called “Ellis struggling to get on base”,

“Ellis began the day with the lowest on-base percentage in the Majors (.211), the third-lowest slugging percentage (.260) and the fourth-lowest batting average (.181).”

This sort of bat simply shouldn’t be in a Major League lineup – let alone one that is/was a chic pick by many to win the AL West. Eric Sogard whom I will see tonight is hitting the ball well at Sacramento, but even if he weren’t certianly should be able to muster a .181/.211/.260 or greater line in Oakland. But it isn’t just Ellis, we need to consider benching Daric Barton more often, because though he is drawing walks, he tests the limit of the value of walks when he has a .203/.327/.281 line with the rare on-base-percentage significantly higher than his slugging percentage. I love Daric Barton, but he simply isn’t getting it done, and his glove isn’t presently an asset either. Or the whole debacle at third base, with Kevin Kouzmanoff (.205/.237/.352) and Andy LaRoche (.250/.324/.328) competing to underwhelm fans, when is enough enough?

A’s take on the White Sox this afternoon, I won’t be able to catch it but will provide snapshots and thoughts and observations from tonight’s Sacramento River Cats game here at Greer Stadium against the Nashville Sounds. I realize it is the Pacific Coast League, but it’ll be nice to see a team whose starting first baseman (Shane Peterson) is hitting .324/.420/.471; and whose second baseman (Jemile Weeks) is hitting .343/.438/.510; and while Josh Horton at third is hitting a Kouzmanoffesque .209/.263/.279, this team on the whole is good for a .283/.374/.435 slash line. I like pitching matchups, great games, until you continually lose them 4-3 like today.

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