Remember when the A’s were in first place? It wasn’t that long ago, really. Earlier this month the A’s were sitting atop the AL West, but have been rather inconsistent since then. Currently 2-8 in their last 10 games, the A’s sit in third place and are ahead of the last place Mariners by just 2.5 games. This current free fall is the result of poor pitching and inconsistent offensive production.
The A’s pitchers have struggled mightily on the road, and the offense has not been consistent enough to help out the starting rotation. Ben Sheets, the A’s $10 million man, owns a 2-7 record and a 4.95 ERA in 15 starts this season. Sheets, who is a four-time NL All-Star, has hardly looked like a player worth $10 million. In fact, the Sheets deal looks like a big bust for A’s GM, Billy Beane.
Aside from Sheets, the A’s have had problems with their bullpen as of late. Michael Wuertz, who signed a two-year deal this offseason, has struggled this season and owns a 7.11 ERA in 12.2 IP this season. This month, Wuertz has had trouble pitching against opposing offenses, as he’s got a 11.57 ERA in June. Opponents are also hitting .455 off him this month. Jerry Blevins (4.81 ERA) is also having some trouble this season, and has not been sharp this month: 4.05 ERA, .321 opponent BA.
Aside from Ryan Sweeney, Kurt Suzuki, Daric Barton and Kevin Kouzmanoff, the A’s offense hasn’t been really much of anything this season. Sweeney owns the highest batting average on the team with a .294 mark, while Suzuki and Kouzmanoff lead the team in home runs with 8 blasts each. Barton, meanwhile, has been surprisingly solid this season: .275/.385/.400, 4 HR, 24 RBIs. But other than those four players, the A’s really boast no real threat on offense.
The team still lacks a considerable power presence, and now that the team is free falling out of contention I don’t see any point in Billy Beane going out a trading for some big power bat before the deadline. That definitely looked like a serious possibility earlier in the month when the A’s were looking like a serious contender in the West, but with Texas and the Angels playing good baseball, the A’s chances of reaching the post-season are looking rather slim.