With Sunday’s win over the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland A’s stretched their winning streak to a season-high five games. The A’s finished off a sweep of their bay area rivals, and are suddenly one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Oakland’s Trevor Cahill improved to 7-5 on Sunday, and the A’s continued to show an improvement under interim manager Bob Melvin.
The Athletics faced turmoil earlier this month, as the team dropped 10-straight contests, and even fired manager Bob Geren. The team’s offense and defense struggled mightily under Geren, and there was a certain degree of frustration mounting in the clubhouse.
GM Billy Beane‘s decision to let Geren go has already made a positive impact. The A’s are now 6-4 under Melvin, and are playing better offensively.
The A’s have been winning thanks to a mixture of solid pitching and timely hitting. Melvin’s decision to use DH Hideki Matsui in an everyday role is also paying off. Under Geren’s rule, the A’s veteran DH wasn’t seeing much playing time, often sitting out against lefties. Under Melvin, however, Matsui has been used more frequently.
Over his last 10 games, Matsui has driven in nine runs and has collected three home runs. Godzilla’s resurgence is likely due to Melvin’s display of confidence in the Japanese superstar.
Oakland currently sits at 33-40, five games back of the Texas Rangers in the American League West. The A’s still have their work cut out for them, as their starting rotation is still without Brett Anderson, Rich Harden, Tyson Ross, and Brandon McCarthy.
The A’s are hopeful that Harden will return to the rotation soon, however, as the right-hander is slated to make his first start of the season as part of a rehab assignment for Triple-A Sacramento. The A’s signed Harden this offseason for $1.5 million, but he’s yet to make an appearance for Oakland in 2011.
In the meantime, the A’s will continue to look for ways to help support the pitching staff. Offensively, Melvin has done a pretty good job with configuring his lineup. Melvin’s approach seems to be working thus far, and unlike Geren, Melvin seems to have an idea of who is best hitters are.
Struggling 1B Daric Barton, a favorite of Geren’s, is lucky to still be with the big-league team, according to Melvin. The first baseman has been a disappointment this season, and Melvin seems inclined to give other guys like Connor Jackson a shot at playing.
The A’s weren’t producing wins under Bob Geren, but with Bob Melvin, the A’s seem to have found the recipe for success. It’s hard to believe this team lost 10 straight games this season, and that they still sit only five games out of first.