Are the A’s For Real? I Like What I See So Far!

The A’s opened up their season with nearly every expert picking them to finish dead last in the AL West. I personally have VERY low expectations going into this season, and since they usually struggle out the gate, I figured this April would be just as rough as years past. Even back when they were winning the division crowns, they were always dubbed a second half team. Another reason for pessimism for my beloved A’s was that they are the youngest roster in the league, which usually calls for lots of growing pains. I’m not going to say that this 6-2 start makes them a lock to win the west or even a .500 ballclub, but I know that they have the potential to stay out of the cellar. A lot of the “experts” picked the Mariners and Angels to win the West. Most liked the M’s because of the big off season moves, and the Angels because they are always there over the last decade. They still could be right, but after watching both the first series between the two teams, I have to say I’m impressed with the grittiness that this years’ A’s squad has. If chicks dig the long ball, then there won’t be many in the A’s clubhouse, but if chicks dig good pitching and defense we could have the next Playboy mansion in the works.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably way too overly excited about the 5-2 start, but it finally got me inspired enough to write a late preview about the club. The A’s easily could’ve swept the Mariners in their opening series, if they hadn’t committed four errors in that first game they could’ve beaten Seattle’s best pitcher, King Felix. The most inspiring part about watching them so far, sans game 1, is their ability to continue to put up runs during the game. They’ve scored in nearly 30% of their innings this year, which is a good way to win. They are supposed to have a good defense, and have played pretty good aside from opening nights four error performance. Pennington and Kouzmanoff are much better defensively than I thought they were, and now that our outfield is Cust free (I’ll get back to Cust getting cut later), we don’t have to give up an out a game wherever he happened to be. This is a grind it out team, and even this early in the year it feels like they are never out of a game. They have been behind in five of their eight games and comeback to win four of them.

Most have predicted the A’s will fail because they put so much stock in two all-star veteran pitchers, Sheets and Duscherer that are injured as much as they are in the lineup in most recent seasons. They might be right, and both could fall apart like a leper in warm water, but in all honesty these aren’t the only “good” pitchers Oakland has. Sheets and Duke no doubt lead the staff, but the future pitchers we have coming up look like they have very bright futures. Last season we saw Brett Anderson come out as the most polished youthful pitcher we have, and showed that he has “ace” type stuff in him. Gio Gonzalez, has great stuff, and can shut teams out when he can tone down those emotions, which he did over the spring, and is what probably got him in the opening week’s rotation. Dallas Braden is a stud, not because of his stuff, but because he is ultra competitive and studies his opponents more than anyone in the rotation. He reminds me of the Lackey type, not overpowering, but great control around the strike zone. He fell behind in both of his starts, but battled and was rewarded with wins by the A’s offense. Like always, the A’s will be depending heavily on their starters to keep them close in games, and with a improved defense behind them, it will make it slightly easier than last year’s full time growing pains.

Everyone has ripped their lineup, and I can’t lie it doesn’t look that great on paper, but they have shifted to a new style of stealing bases and putting pressure on the opposing teams every time they have a runner on. They’ve reverted to manufacturing runs as opposed to waiting for that deep ball, a full on switch to an NL style team.

Good to see Rickey helping out Rajai.

The new style of play has helped this year as they may not be putting up crooked numbers often, they are scoring in four innings a game. The A’s led the league in doubles for the second half of last season, so at least they have the ability to clear the bases. Hell, they even got a bunt double this week. Mix that with seven stolen bases, and you can see this team that knows how to scrape together some runs. Cutting JacKK Cust wasn’t as bad as some have made it out to be, and I for one, was ecstatic. I didn’t mind him in the DH role, but when he was out in the field he was a disaster waiting to happen, and based on the direction we’ve gone, this was the right choice. I can’t argue that he doesn’t get on base a lot since he led the team in walks last year, but when he’s on base you basically concede that it’s station to station until the final out is recorded or he crosses the plate, putting no pressure on the defense or opposing pitcher. I hope Chavez can do well in the DH duties, and without the wear and tear of playing in the field he should last for at least 50 games. We’ll see if the A’s end up getting Cust back, but I kind of hope they don’t… I feel like this offense can lull people to sleep, as nobody respects them. When you don’t respect someone you get too much of the plate with your pitches, and hopefully that will happen a lot for the A’s this year.

The Bullpen is probably our strongest part of the team. Our closer Andrew Bailey got his ROY award, and made an all-star appearance last year for doing one thing well, closing out games. Tyler Ross was kept with the big league club on opening day, and he’s been lights out so far. Ziegler our closer from two years ago is always a good guy to call on in set up situations. Michael Wuertz is a solid vetran that can get guys out with his array of sliders. Jerry Blevins and Craig Breslow have looked good coming out of the pen. All in all I’m a lot more excited than I thought I’d be about this year’s Oakland Athletics!

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About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

22 responses to “Are the A’s For Real? I Like What I See So Far!

  • tophatal

    chappy

    If they can get off to a fast start out of the gate then there’s no reason not to believe that the A’s can’t win the AL West outright.

    As good as the Angels appear to be. The loss of John Lackey on that roster will be felt !.

    Hopefully the A’s fans than showing apathy will actually get out there in droves and be vocal in their support of the team when they play at the Coliseum . Albeit, that they may not be enamored with the ownership group headed up by Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley .

    Crowley and Wolff combined have more money than they actually know what to god-damn do with. But yet they constantly act like friggin’ paupers ! I think that’s indicative of a lot of the professional sports franchises and their owners in the area there ! And because of that the apathy grows amongst the fans.

    Alan Parkins

    • chappy81

      Funny how you mentioned Lackey. My buddy and I that I went to the games with over the weekend were talking about that. He was worried that the loss of Lackey will hurt them a ton this year. He was their stopper of any losing streaks they went on. Now they have to depend on Jered Weaver for that. I’m not sure he’s up to the task, but I can tell you it’s sure as hell not Saunders or Santana stepping into that role!

      I really hope the A’s do well, but I still have my doubts because they are so young… If the A’s do good, I could see more fans going out to the coliseum, but if they suck, there won’t be anyone there….

      • tophatal

        chappy 81

        Like I said neither Crowley or Wolff care ’bout the A’s . Not as long as baseball has its own form of socialism by way of the tax revenue sharing scheme. How much has the A’s pull down from that “bitch” over the last few years and haven’t reinvested it in the team ?

        The Sports Weekend In Pictures ……….. Other Sundries As Well

        Let me know what you think of the following ?

        So the DA’s office in Baldwin Cty Georgia have decided not to press charges against Ben. But they’ve not dropped the case wholeheartedly. Roethlisberger , however, has decided to enter the league’s substance abuse program . What is it now ? You bang porn stars and skanks you have to go into rehab ? It’s known that you can’t handle liquor and there’ve been two sexual assault allegations made against and you still got to go into friggin’ rehab.

        Where’s Amy Winehouse when you need her ? Click here to see how she’s been doin’

        Alan Parkins

        • chappy81

          Actually they have been spending about as much as they have in past seasons. They’ve gone away from signing the old vet, and gone to signing the highly touted prospects instead of filling out the big league team with over the hill vets. Anyways, I’m not going to blame it on the owners, because they’ve done well in the past rebuilding…

          I’m really curious to see if Ben gets suspended. Could be a big fallout for Goodell if he doesn’t make an example of him!

  • tophatal

    chappy

    Roethlisberger has voluntarily placed himself in the league’s substance abuse program for alcohol abuse.

    As for Crowley and Wolff how can you not blame them for the A’s malaise ? They were there for the recent successes and they’ve been there for the collapse !

    That’s like saying the CEO and other of executives of AIG weren’t responsible for the collapse of the company . Do you get my point ? Ultimately the blame rests with “them” and the coaching staff !

    While Ben is in rehab he’ll be constantly listening Amy Winhouse’s song “Rehab” !

    Winehouse’s lyrics to rehab for Ben

    “Rehab”

    They tried to make me go to rehab but I said ‘no, no, no’
    Yes I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know know know
    I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine
    He’s tried to make me go to rehab but I won’t go go go

    I’d rather be at home with ray
    I ain’t got seventy days
    Cause there’s nothing
    There’s nothing you can teach me
    That I can’t learn from Mr Hathaway

    I didn’t get a lot in class
    But I know it don’t come in a shot glass

    Lyrics to “Rehab”

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    I’d done this piece on University President Steven Sample and Garrett of USC </a ?

    I’m Not About To Lie Down And Take One For The Team ………

    Let me know what you think as to the merits of the piece ?

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    Who have the A’s that has been of benefit to them ? The coaching and scouting staff of the A’s are all members of visibly challenged ?

    They couldn’t spot talent much less the word if you spotted the them the T A E & T !

    Alan Parkins

    • chappy81

      The past two seasons were disasters from an injury standpoint. Awhile back I wrote a post how the 2007 A’s used the DL more than any other time in their history, and followed that up with breaking the record again in 2008 with even more injuries. You can’t really blame management for guys getting hurt. We’ll see how this upcoming crop works out. I think our pitching is going to be great. Our offense will come around when Michael Taylor and Chris Carter hit the big leagues.

      • tophatal

        chappy

        What is or are the primary roles of management as it regards a team ? Is it not to make sure that in terms of the team —

        a) Backup pan b) the roster is actually deep in terms of talent .

        That’s merely a cop out !

        If you’ve neither in place then why in turn up to compete ? It’s something that is taught in business is it not ?

        Is it any wonder in baseball it’s always consistently the same teams that essentially come into play during the postseason ? The rest of the teams are dead and buried before midpoint of the season as they’ve essentially given up !

        Alan Parkins

        • chappy81

          So if basically all your starting pitchers keep getting hurt, and the vets you signed for offense are hurt you’re supposed to have a back up plan for that too!?! Give me a break! You can plan for some things to happen, but losing a lot of the starters will kill your team… Sure you can pick guys up during the year, but the replacements are just that replacements and NOT starters…

  • tophatal

    What team in the NBA on the cusp of pulling 11 straight seasons of 50 wins or more ? When you have the answer let me know .

    There’s No Crying In Baseball …………. So That Must Mean There’s The Perception of Racism …………..

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    In light of the fact the Players’ Union in baseball wants to sue MLB , and with some players saying that there’s racism involved in the deterring of free agents to be signed here’s my take.

    There’s No Crying In Baseball …………. So That Must Mean There’s The Perception of Racism …………..

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    Hopefully if you love hot looking chics’ you’ll love this piece ?

    Might I Take The Pleasure of Introducing You To Lucy Becker ? Glamor Model Extraordinaire

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    That’s where the rubber meets the road some fans will accept mediocrity as the norm . So you’re telling me that someone like the Twins who can get by aren’t doing something right ? Whereas for the A’s it’s all bad luck ? Is that atypical of all fans in the are there ? Blame it all on bad luck ? What’s the coaching staff and farm system there for window dressing ?

    What the hell !

    Boy the fans can dish it out but they sure as hell can’t even see what is wrong much less take the criticism !

    Alan Parkins

    • chappy81

      YEah, well your comparing us to teams that have a huge budget sans the Twins. Haven’t you been reading the hundereds of articles on re-aligning the MLB? There’s a ton of them that say they should maybe do it on payscales so the poorer teams can compete. I’m not for it at all, but it shows that if three players on the best teams can be paid as much as our whole roster, then teams like the A’s are at a serious disadvantage.

      So are you saying that if the Twins lost Mauer, Morneau, Span, Kubel, and three of thier five starters they would be just fine, and still made the playoffs with their awesome backups in the farm system? Cmon man, you know that some guys on teams aren’t replaceable with farm players. They are too raw that’s why they are in the farm system! I’m not saying the A’s would’ve won the WS or anything if they were healthy, but I know they wouldn’t have finished 20 games out of first if they didn’t have all those injuries. I’m saying it the way it is, and I can definitely take criticism, just not when you’re not trying to see the validity of my point.

      Would you be making excuses for the Marlins if they lost Hanley, Johnson, and Cantu for the year? I’m positive you would, and I wouldn’t blame you for a second…

      • tophatal

        chappy

        Pay scales don’t mean a thing to the MLBPA (union) much less the owner and teams . You’ve known to me to be steadfast in the fact that I do believe that there ought to be a hard and fast salary cap in the game to stave off many of the financial imbalances within the game.

        The reason why I make the comparison is because both are considered to be small market teams. And their revenue streams are comparable. What differentiates between the two are the mindsets of the two ownership groups.

        Click here A’s front office .

        A’s coaching staff .

        A’s 40 man roster

        Twins’ front office.

        Twins’ coaching staff .

        Twins’ 40 man roster

        How the hell can you have a $4-$5billion a year industry where less than half your ballclubs actually eke out a profit ?

        So be kind enough to tell me where it starts and end in terms of the structure and what’s desired to make a ballclub successful. Because it doesn’t work along the principles of eithe Aesop’s Fable or a fairy tale. It’s about reality and being able to overcome the obstacles of adversity and not simply making excuses as seems to be the norm.

        See my latest piece and then let me know what you think as to the merits of the piece ?


        GM For A Day Or Perhaps 6 Months ……………

        Alan Parkins

        • chappy81

          Dude, you are getting ridiculous with this. I NEVER said the A’s were a CHAMPIONSHIP team or that they were even deserved of teh PLAYOFFS the last two years, I’m just saying they would’ve been better. I don’t think we can compare the A’s with the Twins anymore now that the Twins are entering the mid-level payrolls. Sure they have some great scouting and great talent there, but who are you to say that they are that much better? What do you consider a meter of success? The playoffs? If that’s the bar here’s how the two teams stack up against eachother…

          On your comparison with the A’s and Twins over the last decade:

          Both of these teams have made the playoffs exactly five times since 2000.
          The A’s beat the Twins in their only playoff matchup in those years (2006).
          If it wasn’t for last year’s late push the A’s would have more playoff appearances than the Twins in the last decade.

  • tophatal

    chappy

    I’m not one to make excuses about my teams . I call them out if they suck and when they’re doing well I compliment them but at the same time I also look for them to improve and not simply rest on their laurels.

    That’s the difference.

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    I judge the what the team does by the actions of the executives and coaches. And what is that the A’s executives have done ? They’ve screwed you over ! The fans there have been let down immensely over the years. And all they’ve shown is complete apathy !

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal

    chappy

    Your statement says it all ……….” that they would’ve been better” . And I ask you again what are the front office and management actually doing about it ? Recycling the same ol’ players because they’re tight fisted is a sound way of getting ahead competitively. You merely put stuff out there but give little on either side of the equation.

    Give A Person A Stick To Aid Them Ambulatory And They Normally Use It Give It To An African American Baseball Player And He’s Liable To Beat You With It ……………

    Alan Parkins

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