The Oakland A’s begin their second-half of the season tonight against the Kansas City Royals. The A’s will send Gio Gonzalez (7-6, 3.79 ERA) to mound, while KC will counter with reigning AL CY Young, Zach Greinke (5-8, 3.71). Oakland’s bats, which have been rather inconsistent during the first-half, will need to get the second-half started on the right foot. Greinke hasn’t been nearly as good as he was last season, but he’s still a very tough opponent to face.
The A’s closed out the first-half of the season with a series win against a visiting Angels club. Currently the A’s are stuck in 3rd place, 8.0 games behind the Texas Rangers. The Rangers, who have recently acquired ace pitcher, Cliff Lee, will be a tough team to catch—especially now that they’ve added Lee and have injured pitcher (Rich Harden) making their ways back. As for the A’s, the only considerable player that they’ve acquired is injured OF Connor Jackson. Jackson is currently on the A’s 15-day DL, and isn’t the only player the A’s are wanting back.
The A’s have been without young stud, Brett Anderson, who signed a four-year extension earlier this season. Anderson, who started the season exceptionally well, has been on the DL twice this season—which is not a good sign. The A’s are hoping to have Anderson back relatively soon. Once Anderson rejoins the rotation, the A’s expect to have Dallas Braden back as well. Braden, who threw the MLB’s 19th perfect game, was placed on the 15-day DL due to ‘elbow tendinitis.’ According to reports, Braden was unable to throw his slider (or breaking balls), and was placed on the DL as a prevention from further injury.
Once the A’s get Anderson and Braden back from the DL, the A’s could potentially dangle Ben Sheets (4-8, 4.63 ERA) in front of interested teams (if there are any) in the hopes of acquiring at least one solid prospect. The A’s signed sheets to a one-year, $10 million deal in the offseason, and the deal has yet to make very much sense. Sheets has been performing a little better lately, which could be a sign of a potential turn-around. But once Anderson and Braden rejoin the rotation, Vin Mazzaro (4-2, 3.81 ERA) will need a spot in the rotation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the A’s traded Sheets, simply because the A’s need to give Mazzaro some experience in the majors (he’s dominated in the minors).
Barring any injuries to either Anderson or Braden, the A’s rotation should be strong enough to keep the team close to a .500 season. If the offense can find some level of consistency, the A’s could have a chance for a winning record and even a shot at the post-season (albeit a very, very slim chance). So, if the A’s can find success on offense (a big IF), they might just have a chance at keeping pace with the Lee-led Rangers.
Topics: A's Pitchers, A's Pitching, A's Starting Rotation, A's Trade Rumors, AL West, Ben Sheets, Ben Sheets Trade Rumors, Ben Sheets Trades, Boston Red Sox, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, DL, Injured, Injury, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Trade Rumors, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Rich Harden, Texas Rangers, Vin Mazzaro