The A's problem right now is simple. It comes down to one simple number. .342.
"Wow, that's not a bad team OBP," you might say.
No, not OBP. That's our Athletics team slugging percentage right now. And we're last in the major leagues with that number. The next closest competitor is the Seattle Mariners and they have a slugging percentage .013 points higher. The Pirates, Royals and Devil Rays have a much higher slugging percentage than our A's do.
Yes, the A's .314 OBP is nothing to brag about either, but consider this for one second:
Both the A's and the Cincinnati Reds have 241 hits. But while the A's are languishing in their effort to score runs (only the Pirates and Indians have scored fewer runs), the Reds have scored 135 runs compared to the A's 108. Why? Well, the Reds do have a .333 OBP, but the team slugging percentage for the Reds is .417.
What does this all mean?
It means that even when the A's are getting on base, they aren't getting enough extra-base hits to raise their chances of scoring more runs. The Reds are seventh in the majors in home runs with 32. The A's are 26th in the majors with only 21. The Reds have 65 doubles compared to the A's 41.
Why did I use the Reds as the team to compare with our Athletics? Well, for one thing, they are tied in hits. But the Reds have scored many more runs.
One more point...the Reds pitching staff currently sports a 5.67 ERA while the A's staff has a 3.99 ERA. So that's why the Reds only have 11 wins.
While we all know OBP is the most important stat that will help determine the number of runs scored, but an essential part of that is also slugging percentage. The A's will be hurting to score runs until that number goes up.