Over the last 3 1/2 weeks everything has been going fantasically for the Oakland Athletics. The team is hitting, pitching, fielding and doing every little thing it takes to win games. Certainly luck plays its part, the little bloop falls in for a single, the line drive down the line catches chalk for a double, the umpire gets some dirt in his eye and misses a critical tag out at home to give your team the lead. So while the A’s have caught fire and taken the baseball world by storm, we all knew it couldn’t last forever.
The A’s were trying to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays this morning/afternoon and many of those things that went the A’s way simply didn’t do so today. But the Jays simply outplayed the A’s today, and that’s really okay. Sure Tommy Milone wasn’t at his best, and did make a critical error on a squeeze play that cost the A’s the lead for good, but the A’s have played such a terrific brand of baseball during the month of July its hard to get upset about that. The Jays got a little bit of revenge for last night’s rout with their 10-4 win that salvaged the final game of the series, but the A’s still find themselves riding a huge wave of momentum that has taken them into contention.
The 15-3 month of July has turned the A’s from almost certain sellers to actively persuing the trade market for the right pieces to add for a potential playoff push. With the big fish off the market with the Hanley Ramirez trade a couple days ago, many assumed the A’s would turn their attention to either Yunel Escobar of the Blue Jays or Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies for some shortstop help. At this point both of those acquisitions seem like extreme longshots, for two very different reasons. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Yunel Escobar simply doesn’t want to be traded from Toronto and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN stated that it appeared the A’s interest in Escobar was lukewarm as questions about his character have come up. Jimmy Rollins, a longshot to begin with considering the financial situation doesn’t appear to be interested in taking his talents home to Oakland according to Slusser, and they don’t really know why.
So perhaps lesser names like former Athletic Marco Scutaro might pop up in trade rumors in the coming days. That would probably be a welcome sight for most of the Athletics faithful. At this point it’s hard to imagine Billy Beane completely standing pat at this deadline.
The A’s continue their road trip in Baltimore where they were swept earlier this season. Jarrod Parker (7-4, 3.00 ERA) will start for the A’s coming off perhaps his most impressive start of the season last Saturday against the Yankees, he’ll face off against Zach Britton (1-0, 3.60 ERA). The A’s will face their 4th lefty in a row, and hopefully they can recapture the offense they displayed on Wednesday to get back on a winning track in Baltimore.