Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Fallen A's…by Josh Brown

The A’s have bad pitching and even worse hitting. The season is lost before the May has officially ended. Come’ on. Relax.

Click below to read the rest of the article.If everything went perfect, the A’s were going to be in a position down the stretch to be in the playoff hunt. Perfection meant Durazo had to keep close to his 2004 pace of batting .320. Chavez had to hit 35 homers. Kendall and Kotsay had to clog the bases at the top of the lineup with a .380 OBP clip. Harden needed to progress. Zito needed to regress to an earlier form. Blanton and Haren needed to pitch with ERA’s in the low 4.00’s. The bullpen with their power arms (Cruz, Street, Calero and Dotel) needed to blast the opposition away. Obviously, not much has gone to plan to date.

Injuries have stung the A’s. While they haven’t faced an injury to one superstar a la Bonds, they have faced a slough of injuries to good players expected to play significant roles this season—Harden, Calero, Swisher, Dotel, Crosby and Durazo. Combined with epic slumps from veterans such as Kendall, Chavez and Zito, the A’s have been in a month long free fall. I believe they have finally hit the bottom.

For the first time all season, the A’s took the field with Nick Swisher starting in the outfield, Dan Johnson at first base and Bobby Crosby at shortstop. These three players are the young offensive core players that must develop in order for the A’s to succeed in the coming years. I recall reading a Baseball America in 1997 which listed the coming stars in baseball for the next few seasons. Among the position players listed were Ben Grieve, Eric Chavez, and Miguel Tejada (I recall Mark Kotsay also made that list while with the Marlins organization).

For the first time since the late 90’s, the A’s have a group of young players maturing at the same time. All possess the combination of selectivity and power preached by the organization. Swisher, Johnson and Crosby all have the potential to hit 30 homers in the majors. The best young hitter in the A’s organization may very well be Daric Barton, the converted first baseman acquired in the Mark Mulder trade with the Cardinals, who is playing at double-A Midland.

Ben Grieve was the lone A’s player in the late 90’s to win the Rookie of the Year award, he certainly didn’t develop into the All Star caliber player that Chavez and Tejada eventually became. It can take several seasons for young hitters to mature. Tejada is the best example. Miggy languished several seasons as a .250 hitter before he matured into the best offensive player at his position. The process took the span of five years. We should be cautious of our expectations of Crosby, Swisher and Johnson over the next four months. However, I believe we will find solid progress from all three, providing Beane with the confidence to pencil all three into starting roles in 2006.

The off-season for the A’s was rightfully focused on the trades of Hudson and Mulder. Without those two pitchers, it was certain 2005 for would be a challenging year in Oakland. The A’s pitching is no longer the best in the AL. For some reason, the decline of Oakland’s offense hasn’t received nearly enough press until the last month when it has been downright dreadful.

After the defections of Giambi and Damon, the A’s were left with Tejada and Chavez as the two-man offensive punch. Loosing Tejada has proven to be too much and the A’s were fortunate their offense collapsed after the mid-August mark last season. A playoff team that must start Terrence Long, Chris Singleton, or David Justice is average at best. With a young pitching staff, average isn’t good enough to compete in the American League.

While the A’s are Kansas City awful, the A’s possess young position players that have proved all that they can at the minor league level. Finally, all three are in the lineup together in the majors. While the A’s may not break offensive records in 2005, the remaining months of the season will surely be better than what we witnessed in May.

Was the A’s come from behind victory over the Tampa Bay Pinella’s Monday night a premonition? Was the good karma the result of the post game firework spectacular or Lucky Charms in the broadcaster’s booth? I’m not sure. But certainly, the A’s arn’t as bad as May’s record indicated. I need to a good night’s sleep after Monday’s win in order to contemplate the futures of Misters Haren and Blanton.

By: Josh Brown


1 Anonymous { 06.01.05 at 1:14 am }


one thing to add — the May schedule is matchup hell — the past few years have seen the big runs come in July and August — Texas looks very good right now, and remember they have had several years stacked on apprenticeship of their core –adding Soriano and Hidalgo was relatively easy once they ditched the star system

right now the A’s look like Texas did the past few seasons — and plenty of help is on the way — will be interesting to see how the trade season plaays out

but the real deal is the franchise itself — and what kind of committment the Oakland community demonstrates.

2 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

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