I want to talk more about the A's offense today. I know it's getting old hearing about it, but the fact remains that the A's have statistically one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.
The team has the fourth lowest ERA in baseball, the second lowest in the AL behind Detroit. The team's starters, for all the complaining people have done about Blanton and Loaiza, also has the second lowest ERA in the AL. So, for all the discussion yesterday about Ken Macha's decisions, the chances are that he was making the right decision on Zito. I know people will argue that Zito was done at 120+ pitches, but the fact remains that the two other times this year that Zito has gone over 120 pitches, the A's came out victorious. May 27 against the Rangers, Zito went 7 1/3 and threw 126 pitches. June 6th against the Indians, Zito threw 122 pitches over seven innings and wound up victorious. I don't want to rehash the argument, but Zito had shown before that he could still pitch 120+ pitches in. Street has struggled of late, especially with his control.
Now, as for the real problem. Hey, hey, don't you look away from me while I'm talking to you, young man! Offense, you are guilty, guilty as charged of being mediocre at best.
Yeah, yeah the injury thing will be brought up endlessly. No Chavez, no Bradley and only a shell of Swisher, DJ, Crosby and the rest of the players who are supposed to be the young cornerstones of this team. Kotsay's back seems to be bothering him, at least judging by his offensive production. And Jason Kendall, for all the crap he gets, is actually third on the current roster in batting average behind Kielty and Payton. As a matter of fact, that pretty much says it all right there. If you had told me before the season started that Payton and Kielty would be leading the team in batting average at this point, I'd tell you the team was in deep trouble with the sticks.
Oh, you don't believe in batting average as a measure? OK, how about OPS? The top four A's in OPS right now are Swisher, Thomas, Chavez and Kielty. Chavez and Kielty are hurt, Swisher is only leading the team in OPS right now because he was simply Ruthian for the first two months. Thomas is the only legitimate hitter right now. By the way, the next two on the list? Mike Rouse (no longer with the team and small sample size) and Adam Melhuse. Can someone please find a spot for Melhuse? I'm pretty sure Melhuse can play first base, get him in there, at least until DJ learns to stop trying to pull every single pitch he sees. The hole in his swing right now is large enough to drive a Volkswagen through.
Yes, these seem like small things and it's very redundant, but they all add up to the A's problems. The team has the third worst team OPS in all of baseball. Only the Cubs and Angels are worse. Even the Royals and Pirates are better. It isn't because of the OBP, either because the team's OBP is 24th in all of baseball. It's because the slugging percentage is pathetic. The team is slugging .395, good for worst in baseball, despite having 88 home runs and being 15th in baseball. That means when the A's actually connect with the ball, it's almost always a single (they have the second lowest number of doubles in all of baseball).
And here's the worst news of all, the A's are now facing statistically the best pitching staff in the AL for the next three games and then the third best pitching staff in the AL for the next four. It's likely going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So do whatever you need to do to get to your happy place because chances are, it's gonna get a bit bumpy in here.