I was all fired up to write a Cahill for the AL Cy Young Award last night, but sadly he got shelled for 8 runs by the Yankees. His ERA ended up ballooning from 2.43 to 2.82 dropping him from second to third in ERA. He held the lead in WHIP with an amazing 0.99, but that ballooned to 1.07 after last night, and now he’s now second behind Cliff Lee in that department. He was going to need to lead those key categories if he was going to have any chance in winning a Cy Young. Cahill missed April with an injury, so he had some ground to make up in innings pitched to be considered. Since he doesn’t strike out a lot of guys he needed to keep that ERA and WHIP down to get any Cy Young votes. He’s about as dominating a ground ball pitcher as you can be, but voters value K’s A LOT, so falling out of the lead of those two major categories might have pushed him out of the Cy talks. Until last night, he’d lasted five or more innings, and given up seven or fewer hits in all 23 of his starts. That was broken up yesterday, but the streak was still good enough for an Oakland record, which is surprising thinking of all the pitching greats that have donned the green and gold over the years. I ended up posting Stealing First Base last night, because I was rattled by this rare ugly start for our 22 year old sensation. If he’d shut down the Yankees, there would be more optimism in his Cy Young candidacy. At this moment, I can’t really put him at the top, so I’d probably drop him down to the second tier where I have CC, Bucholtz, and Wilson. He’s got a month left to get a new streak of zeros going, but the way Felix has been firing on all cylinders he’s the man to dethrone now.
If it was decided today, I’d would crown King Felix with the AL Cy Young. He’s been phenomenal after a so-so May. If he played for any team but Seattle, he’d at least have 15 wins. If he was on the Yankees he’d probably have as many wins if not more than CC’s 18. A 10-10 record isn’t anything to write home about, but I care a lot more about the pure pitching numbers, and the 24 year old is having another great season. He’s lost a number of games where his team only scored one run for him or in some cases was completely shut out. Nothing surprising coming out of Seattle since they own the lowest total amount of runs scored in all of baseball. They can’t even score as much as Pittsburgh! Just checking out his game log, it tells the story of his lack of run support. Quality start after quality start, and nothing in the win column to show for it. Over his last 15 starts he’s pitched at least 6.2 innings, and has given up only three runs three times, and two or less runs in the other twelve starts. He’s currently second in K’s (192), second in ERA (2.47), third in WHIP (1.11), leads in IP (204.1), and is holding hitters to a .225 BA (sixth best in the AL). I’ve found myself feeling sorry for the guy. Every time he goes out there he gets the least run support of any of the candidates, and the Seattle crowd knows it, giving him standing ovations even when he leaves the game behind on the scoreboard, because they know they are watching a great pitcher that gave them everything he had. Maybe I’m picking him because I thought he deserved it last year or because he’s on one of my fantasy teams. If it weren’t for Greinke’s freakish year that made Felix an afterthought when the award was handed out, he could be going for back to back awards. Even Greinke got better run support in his Cy Young season last year than Felix has had these past two seasons. I know the award isn’t given out based on a two year period, but consistency can be taken into considered in a year that the award could go either way. Kind of like when Kobe and Barkley won their MVP awards in the NBA. Kobe wasn’t the overly obvious choice for the award, but sometimes you have to reward someone that is at the top for an extended period of time. Same went for Barkley, they might have been tired of giving it to Jordan, so they threw in a change up and gave it to the big man who finished runner up a few times. If Felix keeps doing what he’s been doing, he should win the award! Now that I’ve said all that, I bet Felix gets blown up by the Angels tonight…
15 Comments | tags: AL, American League, Awards, Baseball, best season, cy young, felix hernandez, MLB, Oakland Athletics, pitching, race, Seattle Mariners, trevor cahill | posted in Sports
When MCeezy and I were in China, we were disappointed to see Stomper on a Chinese billboard, because the A's were struggling at the time, but maybe the trip overseas showed him what he was missing!
I’m very excited for all three of the Oakland franchises’ futures, more so than I have been for long while. I feel weird, because I’m not expecting/demanding playoff runs from any of them, but instead am just happy that all three franchises will be worth watching for the next couple of years, which is more than I can say for the last two years. It has been a downtime for all the Oakland sports area the last few years in terms of success, so naturally, there’s really only one way to go, up. So this three part series will be about why the fans of Oakland’s franchises can finally be optimistic about the future! Let’s start with the Oakland A’s, since their season is still going on, and everyone overlooks them outside of the Bay Area, and even in their area they are under covered because of the recent Giants success.
Today it was reported that our highly touted prospect, Chris Carter, is going to be called up to join the Athletics roster in Seattle tonight. I couldn’t be more pumped. Even if they weren’t planning on it, the injuries to Barton and everyone in the outfield made it a necessary move. I thought this would happen sooner in the season, but now is as good of a time as any with the DL getting even more crowded adding Matt Watson yesterday. Although I don’t see this move getting us to the playoffs this year, it will give us a better idea of what we have waiting in the wings for next year, and this is a move that has rejuvenated my enthusiasm that much more for the A’s. If you didn’t know, Chris Carter is the best power hitting prospect we have in our farm system, and we got him as part of the Dan Haren trade to Arizona that keeps on giving (we got Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Gregg Smith, as the major pieces that have made an impact so far). I hope Carter hits a few bombs, and supplants Cust as the DH/Platoon LF for the rest of the year.
Oakland currently sits in 2nd place, 7 ½ games back of Texas in the AL West. They still play seven more games against Texas this season, and have a mild shot at weaseling out an AL West title or maybe a Wild Card spot if Tampa Bay falls apart. Not that I see that happening, but I can always hope that the standings tighten up a little as we get closer to the end of the season. Seriously though, with close to 50 games left, a there is room for movement! Texas is heading to NY, BOS, TB, BAL, and MIN. The A’s meanwhile head to SEA, MIN, TOR, TB, and CLE. I view the Rangers schedule as harder (feel free to disagree I’d like to hear that argument), so we could conceivable be 3-6 games out going into our next series against Texas. If Texas starts faltering, the A’s could sneak up on everyone! Also, this season has made me like our manager, Bob Geren a little bit more. I’ve never been a fan, but seeing how he’s kept this youthful team together through tons of injuries over the last couple years, you have to give him some of the credit no matter how many of his late inning moves I don’t agree with. Continue reading
3 Comments | tags: 2nd place, Baseball, call ups, chances, chris carter, free agents, great pitching, lots to spend 2011, make the playoffs, MLB, Oakland Athletics, optimism, salary off books, surprising year, trevor cahill | posted in Sports
Watching your team over the course of a weekend against a team whose lost 17 in a row on the road can certainly give one a false sense of excitement. The Athletics still remain double digit games back of the Texas Rangers, who’ve surged of late. But, the good news is with the All-Star break just around the corner, we know the A’s will have a representative. I’m not always a fan of the every team gets an All-Star, but more often than not it gets guys in that deserved it, but would’ve flown under the radar since their team was out of the pennant race. Very seldom do you see a guy make the All-Star team with underwhelming stats – Gil Meche from KC comes to mind. Today, though, I started thinking about who should get the All-Star nod from Oakland. Three guys come to mind…
Andrew Bailey, Closer – Bailey came out of nowhere last year and made the All-Star team, before finishing the year out as the AL Rookie of the Year. Now that Bailey’s on the map, he won’t get any gifts when it comes to All-Star selections. But he does have the numbers to back it up. His Saves aren’t mind-blowing, due in large part to playing for a losing team, but he’s one of only two AL pitchers with 30+ IP and a sub-2.00 ERA. (Jose Valverde is the other)
Kurt Suzuki, Catcher – Suzuki seems to garner a little All-Star attention each year now, but never really reaches the ranks of catchers like Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez. Although Martinez’s broken thumb this afternoon might affect some things. His numbers are modest: .264 avg, 10 HR, 32 RBI, but anyone who follows the A’s knows he deserves the honor. Though he wasn’t behind the plate for Dallas Braden’s perfect game, he’s managed the A’s pitching staff for the last three season, and I’d be willing to bet any of those pitchers would credit Suzuki for some of their success. He also has been the one to come up with all the clutch hits for the team lately; his 8th inning solo HR today gave the A’s a 3-2 win over the Pirates. I don’t see him getting the nod at catcher, simply because any manager would probably think Posada before Suzuki. Perhaps if he didn’t miss upwards of 20 games this season his power numbers would stand out a little more.
Trevor Cahill, Pitcher – After Saturday night’s 7.2 inning, 2 hit shutout performance, Cahill is definitely my pick right now. He’ll have another start, I think, before the votes are cast, and if he can get to 8-2, despite missing the first month of the season, his numbers should get him noticed. He currently ranks 8th among AL pitchers in ERA with a solid 1.88. His 1.08 WHIP and .213 BAA aren’t too shabby either. Those are good for 5th and 3rd in the AL, respectively. It’s too bad he was hurt to start the year, it’d be nice to see where he’d be at with four more starts. It’s too bad also that Brett Anderson’s been hurt this whole time, or we might be talking about him here as well.
2 Comments | tags: andrew bailey, Baseball, Kurt Suzuki, MLB, mlb all-star game, Oakland Athletics, trevor cahill | posted in Sports
Even Stomper's excited!
The A’s had their fans hopes sky high going into this season after making many moves and signings to acquire talent, instead of their normal MO of trading away talent. One thing led to another, and we found that the guys we signed either weren’t that good in an A’s uniform, or were just plain old. This season has been a disappointment to say the least especially with some of the experts picking them to win the AL West at the beginning of the year. Those dreams were quickly dashed as we saw Matt Holliday consistently getting fooled by pitches, and taking the crown for most fly ball outs since Eric Chavez was healthy and playing. Once his trade to the Cardinals went through Oakland once again had hope for the future. At the time of the trade all A’s fans wanted was a bag of peanuts for Holliday, but instead we got what looks like a great hitter in the near future with Brett Wallace, and a possible good end of the rotation pitcher in Mortensen.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since they dipped below the 20 games out of first. Alas, they have been playing very good as of late, which has inspired me to pay attention to them again. Maybe it’s because the games don’t matter, or maybe it’s because they have finally adopted a new style of play since their most recent rebuilding began. Since being swept by Seattle on August 26th, they’ve won or tied every series since, going 16-6, and are currently on a seven game win streak. Once again, A’s fans will be able to go into the off-season hoping that a fresh start will rid us of our recent losing ways.
The A’s main failings over the past couple season’s have all pointed to their incompetence on offense, and since getting rid of Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera they’ve surprisingly done much better in that department. Post All-Star break, the A’s have led the league in stolen bases, doubles, and are third in runs scored. For a team that never used to steals bases, and isn’t known for manufacturing runs, it’s refreshing to see them make a change for what suits their players. The always referenced “Moneyball” will finally be an afterthought, as they seem to be turning to a new page. I haven’t read anywhere that they’ve had a change in philosophy, but it’s pretty obvious if you ever pay attention to them. Even Rajai Davis, a guy I never thought I’d like, is tearing it up. He stole his 40th bag of the season last night against Cleveland, and is the first big threat on the base-paths since Rickey Henderson was around. Rex Hudler, the Angels announcer, whom I completely despise, actually made a good point about the A’s and how they have adapted to so called “Angel way” of manufacturing runs. He likes how they are putting pressure on opposing defenses to worry about runners taking off at any given moment, which opens holes in the infield for more of those dribblers to get through. In a post steroid era the A’s can’t rely on power as much as they once did as we all know it was rampant in the Bay Area. So the shift to stealing bases and manufacturing runs has looked like the a good change in their philosophy, and is starting to pay dividends in the win column late in the season.
Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.
The greatest part about these late season stats is the fact that this isn’t even the reason I’m optimistic for next season. I’m excited about the guys going to be in our offense of the future. Sure guys like Kurt Suzuki are going to be mainstays in the lineup for awhile, but since everybody digs the long ball, A’s fans should be very excited about the two power hitters coming to Oakland sooner rather than later. 3rd baseman, Brett Wallace (#2 in Baseball Prospectus) and 1st baseman, Chris Carter (#4 in Baseball Prospectus) are the new reasons there is optimism in Oakland. They’ve already contributed to the Sacramento Rivercats (AAA) team during their playoff run for a PCL championship. Carter had three home runs in one game since being called up from AA about a month ago, and he is the closest to Ryan Howard type hitter the A’s have in their farm system. Many point to Carlos Gonzalez as the biggest position player gained in the Dan Haren deal, but Chris Carter has the potential to have much more power than C-Gon. It also looks as though we kept the best pitcher from the Haren deal as well in Brett Anderson, who has had a rocky season, but has shown that he has ace type stuff. Brett Wallace should be on the other corner for the A’s infield solidifying a position that’s been a problem since Chavez went on the DL, about three seasons ago. Personally Wallace reminds me of Troy Glaus, and if we got that I’d be pretty happy. If the A’s can continue to steal bases and hit doubles the way they have been at the end of this season, and add the power of Wallace and Carter to the lineup they will undoubtedly have a chance to challenge the Angels for years to come.
Rookie, Brett Anderson, has won two straight starts for the first time in his career.
Their pitching has been shaky at times this year, and may continue to stay that way as their under 25 year old rotation learns the ropes. Between Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and maybe Justin Duchscherer (if he snaps out of his depressed mental state) we should have a solid rotation come next season. The young guys have taken their lumps this season, but they have also shown that they can shut teams and shown glimmers of domination. This year should have taught them the ropes as they find out what types of adjustments they need to make going into the off-season to prevent those crooked numbers from going up on the score board. Michael Inoa is a long way from being called up, but he’s another young guy I will be keeping my eye on, especially since we gave him a Strausberg like contract for a 16-year-old, which I still feel is kind of ridiculous. All in all I couldn’t ask for much more from our management on a tight budget. You just have to hope it all pans out!
14 Comments | tags: A's, AAA, Baseball, bases, billy beane, brett anderson, brett wallace, Carlos Gonzalez, chris carter, farm system, future, Gio Gonzalez, hitting, Kurt Suzuki, MLB, moneyball, Oakland Athletics, PCL Championship, philosophy, pitching, rajai davis, rebuilding, record, Sacramento Rivercats, stars, steal, trades, trevor cahill, winning | posted in Sports
This is the night I’ve been waiting for!
Nomar Garciaparra made his long-awaited return to Fenway Park tonight. But while the ovation he received from the fans was fantastic and well-deserved, that’s not what this is about.
What’s that you say? It was also John Smoltz Fenway debut? This definitely isn’t about that!
No, this is about the Athletics 21-year old pitcher, Brett Anderson, finally doing what we’ve all been hearing he was capable of. Coming over from the Diamondbacks in the huge haul that was the Danny Haren deal, Anderson was widely regarded as the second best prospect of the bunch. Once Carlos Gonzalez showed his ceiling as a lifetime quadruple-A player, Anderson emerged as the top prospect in the A’s system. Working for the A’s triple-A club in Sacramento, and being 45 minutes from the single-A affiliate, has given me plenty of opportunities to check out the A’s young players. Brett Anderson, along with other prized pitcher Trevor Cahill, however, spent all of last season in AA-Midland. That’s in Texas, not really within driving distance. So, that left me following box scores, and reading updates from Baseball America and Athletics Nation.
That was, until Anderson was moved up to AAA in time for the PCL playoffs last year. I would finally get an up close look at the next great Oakland pitcher. I won’t lie, it was sort of a letdown. He had a great outing, don’t get me wrong. If I recall, he threw 2 or 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 or 2 hits. But nothing really stood out. Not one dominant pitch, no crazy velocity, or filthy strikeouts. I guess he was just a placement pitcher – not flashy, but efficient. Fine by me, I guess.
But this year, since starting the season in Oakland, Anderson had yet to impress (5-7, 5.45 ERA). Is he just another Gio Gonzalez? (I’m not ready to write him off, but I’m close) Anyway, Cahill was the one looking like the future ace of the staff.
UNTIL TODAY. Against the best team in the AL with the best home record in the major leagues at the most famed stadium in baseball, Brett Anderson threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout. It wasn’t just the outcome though, he looked filthy doing it. He struck out nine batters, and he did it with nasty curveballs, sliders, changeups, and oh yeah, a 97 mph fastball. I don’t expect him to duplicate this performance every time out, but he finally showed what he’s capable of – on the game’s biggest stage no less. All of a sudden, Anderson-Cahill-Mazzaro sounds a lot more like it’ll have the same ring to it for years to come that Hudson-Mulder-Zito did.
1 Comment | tags: A's, athletics, Baseball, boston, brett anderson, fenway park, john smoltz, MLB, Nomar Garciapara, Red Sox, trevor cahill | posted in Sports