Sunday, September 14, 2014

Something To Build On

The A's are on a roll.

True, it's not much of one, but the last time the A's won two games in a row was on August 22-23, so you take what you can get, and try to build on it. It's interesting what back-to-back wins can do: in Oakland's case, they're now a respectable 3-3 in their last six contests.

Now a mere thirteen games remain; nine are at home and ten are against last-place clubs (Texas and the Phillies). And so, despite a 12-17 August – didn't it seem much worse and more tortuous than that? – and a September that, until this series up at Safeco, gestured toward the consummation of a monumental second-half collapse, the A's are well-positioned to make the playoffs.

It is, of course, a tremendous comedown, from boasting the majors' best win-loss record for 58 straight days (June 18 to August 15) to trailing the Angels by ten games and having to scratch and claw to qualify for the one-and-done wild-card playoff. Most irksome of all, to this observer, was Oakland's habit of losing one-run decisions, eight of nine to be exact before the A's prevailed 3-2 yesterday in ten innings. (I had a strong feeling the A's would win that game. It was time, I reckoned, that the baseball gods would apprehend the patent injustice of having the A's on the short end of so freakin' many close games.)

Brandon Moss hit a ball into the right-field stands in the seventh inning of today's game. It was his first homer in forty games. Through July 24, Moss was on pace to hit 37 homers; since July 20, his two dingers work out to a rate of 6.3 over 162 games. And yet Moss's slugging percentage (.444) was second-best among the nine Athletics who started (and finished) today's game. Weird, no? It attests to what's been obvious: the lack of power up and down the A's lineup since, well, since Beane dealt Cespedes.

Posted by C.S. Soong

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