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Bats Can’t Come Through – Again

May 16, 2011

Again, as I was in Nashville didn’t get to watch the final game of this three game set, but did listen to it in the car. How disappointing, yet again. The A’s were aptly described by Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle who wrote,

“If this had happened 5 miles away, it would be called torture.

The A’s don’t do torture. It’s something lighter they offer, more of a sustained frustration.”

I agree wholeheartedly. Trevor Cahill pitched like a normal pitcher which signified our doom. It’d seem right now the only way we can clinch a victory is to continually pitch perfect games, but with our offense some of those will need to be extra inning perfect games perhaps. The A’s offense is pathetic, they are 12th in the AL in batting average (.236), 12th in on base percentage (.304), 12th in slugging percentage (.354), 12th in weighted on-base percentage (.295) and 12th in offensive WAR (1.6). Yet their other half, their pitching has been phenomenal, which explains their 20-20 record. But the pitching is being wasted and Sunday afternoon’s game was no different.

Cahill pitched seven OK innings, allowing two earned runs, and two unearned runs – though they were his fault as it was his error that led to those two runs – with two walks and only one strikeout. Michael Wuertz and Brad Ziegler, neither of whom have allowed a run this year (yet are put into losing games – figure that out one) pitched perfect innings with Wuertz’ featuring three straight strikeouts.

But the four runs were enough for the White Sox to win. Mark Buehrle didn’t pitch great either, going for six and a third with six strikeouts, and three walks, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton got the job done bringing it to closer du jour Sergio Santos who walked two in his inning of work, but finished the game with Josh Willingham weakly grounding out.

The A’s went 1-for-8 with RISP – Willingham being the biggest offender going 0-for-3 in those situations which led to ten runners being stranded. Willingham really is where the blame lies in this game, going 0-for-5 with a golden sombrero. But all together, the A’s offense just still didn’t hit well, and especially didn’t hit well when it could result in them getting runs, and that is a recipe for a loss.

Mark Ellis went 3-for-4, perhaps he is showing some signs of life? Though he has been so slow and just bad looking at the plate one has to suspect this is simply a fluke not a sign of more to come. There was a very good post on Athletics Nation about Ellis’ situation and the author Nico, made a good point regarding Ellis and that is that Ellis can’t play elsewhere, he is a second baseman which means if the A’s think about giving Jemile Weeks or someone else a shot at second, it would likely mean releasing Ellis. Makes the decision a little bit different for management.

Forty games is a key point in the season. It is just under a quarter of the way through the year and the A’s sit exactly where they started with as many wins as losses. Luckily for them Texas isn’t off to a great start – but how much of that is due to the injuries they’ve suffered and Los Angeles while doing better than many may have expected aren’t running away with things either, so the A’s sit only one and a half back. Plenty of time, but if these bats don’t start generating offense – this season is already done. Despite that, all is not lost – Baseball Prospectus says the A’s have a 37.5% chance of making the playoffs.

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