Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. A’s fans, click HERE to learn more and join FanPulse.
A’s fans were asked last week if they have confidence in the direction of the team, and they responded more positively than they had the week before. After dipping from 86% down to 51% last time, they rebounded back up to 70% answering “yes” in the latest poll.
The uptick in fan confidence lines up with the team’s recent bounce-back. The surveys go out every Monday, so the vote before this one took place right as the A’s finished a disastrous 1-8 road trip that saw the health of stars Khris Davis and Blake Treinen both come into question. It’s no wonder fan confidence plummeted 35 percentage points at that moment.
Upon their return to Oakland, though, the A’s won series against both the Reds and Indians to put together a 4-2 homestand, adding a no-hitter along the way for style points. They also got good news on the injury front, as Khrush and Treinen each missed only a few games and Matt Olson made his own triumphant return after a month on the shelf. That good week wasn’t enough to dig completely out of their early hole in the standings, but it was a huge first big step back up toward daylight and the fans noticed.
And the momentum has carried through since Monday’s vote, at least somewhat. The A’s dropped a pair to the Mariners this week, but then turned around and took two from the Tigers including a 17-3 rout. They’re still in last place, but only by a half-game entering Saturday, and they’re only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card chase. There’s work to be done over the next four months, but the negative tide has been stemmed for now and there’s still a lot of season left.
A lot will have to happen for the good times to keep building. The rotation has suddenly become a strength, with Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt off to hot starts and Mike Fiers appearing to settle down after an April slump. However, the bullpen leads the majors in blown saves, and the offense has struggled with consistency outside of their occasional double-digit scoring outburst.
At least one of those departments will have to shape up quickly, preferably both, if the A’s want to seriously contend in 2019. Fortunately, they have the personnel to make that happen, but the games aren’t played on paper and the players will need to step up on the field like they’re capable of doing.
One area that does not concern A’s fans is the manager. Bob Melvin received an 88% approval rating in the latest poll, a few ticks up from his season-low 85% the previous week. Even as the team’s fortunes have fluctuated, fans generally agree that Melvin is doing the best he can.
Finally, this week’s national question involved pace of play. As you might expect, fans of baseball enjoy baseball and have little to no issue with how long the game takes. Commissioner Rob, please don’t screw up the sport in an attempt to achieve a goal that your customers aren’t really asking for.