I took the youngest to her second A’s game on Saturday. Between the fat guy in front of us yelling “Shuck, you suck!” (A most delightful bon mot sir!), and the frat guys behind us yelling “Oaaaakkkkkkllllaaaannnnddd!!!!,” with no perceivable impetus, was this overheard exchange.
“Cespedes is hitting .226? That can’t be right.”
“Dude, Reddick is hitting .221! What the f@#$! How are we winning games?”
How indeed. The answer is simple. Pitching. Specifically, far better pitching than any A’s fan had the right to expect this year.
If I had told you, at the beginning of this season, that the ace of the staff, Brett Anderson, would break his foot six starts in, you would have, no doubt as I did, turned white as an A’s home jersey. If I told you Jarrod Parker would lose five of his first six starts, you would have, no doubt, looked for something small to break. And after all that, if I’d told you the team, through July, would bat .243, good for 21st in the league as a whole, you would have predicted that this column would be about which team the A’s could trade Josh Donaldson to.
But no. The A’s are winning. And winning.
Fat, forty-year-old, Bartolo Colon is a Cy Young candidate. Dan Straily, who should be making a spot start here and there and earning his spurs as a middle reliever, is instead six and four with seventy-five strikeouts. Jesse Chavez, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle have been tough as nails. Grant Balfour, who I might remind you, is 35 years old, has 28 saves this year, four more than last year’s total. And our blessed Athletics, (in the American League West mind you), have an AL leading ERA of 3.60.
Which brings us to another, larger point. Why does this team want Jake Peavy? If this was 2007, the answer would be clear. Peavy was an ace back then. But this ain’t 2007. This is 2013. And in 2013, Jake Peavy is eight and four with an ERA above four. In other words, he’s Dan Straily. But older. In other words, he’s Tommy Milone. But way older. In other words, he costs more than the two of them combined.
This team doesn’t need Jake Peavy.
We all get antsy at the trade deadline. We see the Rangers grab Matt Garza. And we want a reaction. Since the Garza deal, the Rangers have been swept by the Indians and are now six games back instead of two. They can have Garza. I’ll take the six game lead thanks.
Brett Anderson is throwing again. It’s hard to get too excited, but it looks like he’s on the way back. If so, there’s your extra starter. There’s your long reliever. Even if he doesn’t make it back, does this team need to fix the half that ain’t broken?
If the A’s make a move, let it be for middle relief. Pick up a shortstop with good defensive skills. But don’t start tinkering with a motor that’s running just fine.