Any way you look at it, the A’s have to start playing exceptional baseball if they want to catch the powerful Texas Rangers. The A’s are 11-7 since the All-Star break, and hope to continue their success at home (32-23) when the Rangers come to the Coliseum for a three-game series starting Friday. The A’s, who have seen their pitching staff mature this season, have the league’s 6th best ERA (3.72). The staff, which recently got Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden back from the DL, has seen guys like Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Vin Mazzaro mature into solid pitchers. However, despite the pitching staff’s success this season, the A’s offense has not been as good.
The A’s have a team batting average of .260, which ranks 13th in the MLB, and have hit just 69 home runs (29th in league). The A’s are led by the likes of Kurt Suzuki, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jack Cust and Daric Barton. Suzuki, who has 12d homers on the season, leads the team in the power department. Kouzmanoff, who has taken over at third-base this season for Oakland, has been quite the addition. Kouzmanoff has 54 RBIs this season, and is hitting a solid .272/.303/.409 with 10 homers. Cust, who has played quite well this season, is hitting .292/.406/.476 with 8 homers and 29 RBIs. And finally there is Barton, who has been one of the A’s constants on offense. On the season, Barton is hitting .271/.377/.387 with 5 homers and 38 RBIs. While Barton hasn’t shown a ton of power, he’s been able to put together a solid season without much power.
Unfortunately, however, without much power the A’s might find it rather difficult to catch the Rangers. The Rangers, who have seen impressive numbers from their pitching staff, have seen their offense do even better. The Rangers lead the division by 8.0 games simply because of their high-powered offense. Unlike Oakland, the Rangers have a pretty consistent offense, and are able to provide their pitching staff with plenty of run support.
The A’s do have some prospects with power potential (Chris Carter and Michael Taylor, any one?), but the team is in no hurry to rush their top talent. As of right now, the A’s top-hitting prospects Chris Carter and Michael Taylor, are still getting some seasoning in the minor-leagues. Carter, who is the team’s top power prospect, is hitting .252/.362/.521 with a team leading 24 homers along with 77 RBIs for Triple-A Sacramento. As for Taylor, who was acquired via trade with the Blue Jays, is hitting .272/.350/.398 with 5 homers and 63 RBIs. While Taylor’s power numbers certainly aren’t there, fans shouldn’t worry: he’s the real deal. The A’s have some talent and some powerful bats waiting in the minors, it’s just a question as to whether or not they decide to bring them up.
The A’s begin a three-game set against the Rangers this Friday.
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