After three painful losses, there are a few considerations that need to be brought up - and are not. Usually it is Nico who "breaks up the loose chatter" with a well aimed theme, but he is letting the crowd blow off steam . . . So why are the A's losing multiple games during the stretch run in September? Anything to remedy now, or is it "back to ST" and remedial rebuilding? More after the jump . . .
This is an open ended set of issues. I do not have any statistical evidence - and this is a statistically-oriented blog. However, it is the only outstanding forum for openly debating A's valid problems. So I hope that either somebody jumps on my case, or substantiates what I am suggesting. These are issues pressing for a fast answer - before the A's either collapse, or reach the ALCS.
First.- Seems like the A's have had a difficult time playing Detroit this year. Not in games won/lost, but in the general feeling of "being comfortable" playing an opponent. Does that ring any bells? Of course, results vs.Texas, in Texas, are nothing to write home about, either . . .
Second.- Good teams raise to the occasion. Deficient teams wait until next Season. To wit, Miguel Cabrera's homeruns vs. the A's. I have been arguing that Cabrera should be the MVP in the League - the man has been outstanding for years, now. So the Tigers and Cabrera seem to show their best right now. On the A's side, though - their "heart of the order" batters - Reddick, Cespedes, Carter, and (arguably) Donaldson - seem to have faded away in September. That's the wrong way to approach October, meaning that the A's seem to lack a "Mr. October" leader among field players.
Third.- A's pitching, full of rookies, relied heavily on anchoring veterans, scattered among the youngsters. The veterans "settled down" the rookies, toning down their excitement to a professional level. Thus, the overall SP level was quite professional, even if it is an A's fan saying it. In particular, I have a feeling that it was Colon acting the role of the "rock of steadiness". Without Colon, McCarthy, and even Anderson, the rookies are liable to feel somewhat "abandoned".
Fourth.- There is an escape valve for our frustrations: maybe the A's are "trying their hand" in using players like Chavez, Miller, and Barton, to see if they can garner some extra help for the playoffs within the 40-man roster. In any case, if I were Billy Beane, I would want to know, before the season ends, who my deadwood are, who to get rid of over the winter. Doesn't that sound reasonable? Possibly, Billy knows that the team needs some extra help in pitching/batting/fielding, to face the playoffs, so that is another reason for looking at them.
It seems to me that, however optimistic we have been during the season, plain logic tells that the A's are not a championship team yet - a half season of good play, with constantly moving players, is a tribute to the Manager. However, that is not a way to set up a top-notch team to compete with the likes of . . . we all know who. So, personally, I expect another active winter for BB - if he is serious about developing a competitive team to defeat the big-spenders of the game.
On the other hand, getting through the Tigers' games, there might be a miracle coming. Maybe the rookies will suddenly become all golden arms and heavy bats, just like in July? Or, expanding our thinking, maybe the A's will finally start drafting (Latin) players along Cabrera lines?