A’s Math: C+3B+18-54-DL-AO-NP-ERA=L
It’s always pretty easy to figure out the teams that stink by the halfway point in the Major League Baseball season. All you have to do is turn on the All-Star Game and start counting hats. Then, start counting hats that don’t make it into the game.
With the Oakland Athletics, you’re pretty spot on. Catcher Steven Vogt made the All-Star team. He seems to be a good guy. He appears in somewhat funny promotional commercials for the club. The fans love chanting, “I believe in Steven Vogt! I believe in Steven Vogt!” He hits .277. He has 7 home runs. He’s nice. But, if he’s your only All-Star, you’ve probably got problems. And if you’re the A’s, you definitely have problems.
So, let’s start with the first parts of our equation, which I like to call “mathemletics.” Some of you may call this, “Bob digressing.” No matter.
You have Vogt.
And you have a third baseman. If you’ve seen the A’s at all this year, and if you’re east of, say, Reno, chances are you haven’t, they do have an All-Star-caliber 3B in Danny Valencia, who has numbers (.304, 12 home runs, 67 games) somewhat on par with departed third baseman Josh Donaldson. Should we talk trades now? Letspedes not and continue.
Also possibly deserving of All-Star consideration is #18, Rich Hill. The team wasn’t sure what they were gonna get when they signed him. He’s been their ace (9-3, 2.25 ERA) minus five weeks on the disabled list.
…which is where we found former ace, #54 Sonny Gray early and he hasn’t been right since his return.
Also out for extended periods have been 18 other players, including their biggest offensive threat in Josh Reddick and 11 other players currently- including five pitchers, three outfielders, a catcher, a starting second baseman, and the guy who sells licorice ropes in the lower level.
Really, in 2016, every break has been a bone.
According to the team’s press box staff, this is the sixth time in 10 years the team has used the DL 20 times in a season. Sadly, General Manager Billy Beane batting .600 does not help the team.
Neither do two glaring faults the team has. One is the inability to see pitches during at-bats. They have seen 1500 fewer pitches than the Toronto Blue Jays hitters.
“The Blue Jays draw a lot of walks,” you say.
Fine. They’re 700 behind the Minnesota Twins, who are fifth in the same department.
Also, they can’t keep the ball out of the air. This is a problem, and if you’ve ever stumbled into O.Co.Co.lli.seum, you know why. It’s big. It’s below sea level. Even the seagulls have trouble staying aloft.
But, there are the A’s, leading the majors in fly ball outs.
They also lead the majors in home runs allowed, are second for most walks allowed and are third for largest earned run average.
Part of the problem is the roster was built with a lot of hoping in mind. A lot is injuries. Part of the problem is center fielder Billy Burns has suffered a severe sophomore slump. He’s not hitting the ball hard, he’s not getting on base and he’s not stealing much when he’s there.
At least pitcher, Daniel Mengden has a cool mustache.
But, the A’s don’t have much else that’s cool or the luck to do much besides what they’ve done already. And, if past seasons are any indication, the best players will likely be out the door in exchange for prospects or guys who have convenient contracts and maybe a prayer of producing next year.
In 2016, all that mathemletics adds up to Z to the nth degree.