Yesterday I came across an interesting article over on ESPN.com, and I was not surprised to find that the article downplayed the A’s success so far. In his article, Jayson Stark dubs the A’s as an illusion. According to a scout, who commented on the article, the A’s are scoring more runs than their stats indicate they should. So far this season, the A’s have scored a total of 70 runs and have allowed just 59 (resulting in an 11 run-differential). As a team, the A’s are currently batting .240/.316/.352.
While I’m still disappointed to see the A’s lack of recognition thus far in the season, I do know that numbers don’t lie. Hitting .240 as a team is not going to garner many victories, especially in the American League. The A’s lack a considerable power-bat in their lineup, and with Michael Taylor and Chris Carter still getting seasoned in the minors, A’s fans will have to wait a while before seeing many fireworks.
The A’s pitching staff, which owns an AL-leading 3.09 ERA (through 17 games), is what’s keeping the A’s in first place. At 10-7, the A’s sit in first with a 1/2 game lead over the Seattle Mariners, who’ve won eight of their last nine games. The health of Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer has helped the rotation, and southpaw, Dallas Braden is off to a tremendous start. Brett Anderson is off to a solid start, and Gio Gonzalez, depsite battling personal problems has performed well.
The A’s pitching can keep them in games, but the AL West figures to be a very competitive division, and the A’s can’t afford falling behind the Mariners or Angels. The offense won’t have to score too many runs in order to be in thick of things come September, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to get away with a .240 team average. The A’s have the pitching to get to post season, the only question is whether or not the offense continues to score runs. Consider the A’s pitching staff a reality, but the offense murky at best.