The Athletics have been rather consistent throughout this season, they won 16 games in each of the first three months, and won 15 during the month of July. They find themselves still in first place as the Texas Rangers prepare to open the month of August in Oakland for a huge three game series. The A’s saw their 6 game lead in the division dwindle down to 4 in the final 2 days of the month, and they should feel fortunate that they still have that cushion over the Texas Rangers.
The entire month of July has seen the A’s offense slow down dramatically. Only 7 times in the 24 games the A’s played did they manage to score more than 4 runs. Let that sink in for a moment, less than 1/3 of the games the A’s played in July did they eclipse the 4 run mark. They were shut out three times, and scored just 1 run three more times. The fact that they scored 0 or 1 run almost as many times as they scored more than 4 runs is quite alarming. They are truly fortunate to still be in the position they’re in.
The team simply isn’t taking quality at bats, and Bob Melvin said as much this afternoon in his postgame comments (which I was in attendance for). A problem like this isn’t something that can simply be solved by adding a bat, or calling up someone from the minor leagues to bring a spark to the team. What good would a catalyst player like Jemile Weeks be if there was nobody who could drive him in when he got on base?
The Major League season is a series of ebbs and flows, and chances are that the Athletics hitters will eventually come aroud and start taking quality at bats. Once that happens the team should start putting up some more crooked numbers.
As the Texas Rangers make their way to Oakland on Friday, the A’s will need to step up their offensive game. Even though the Rangers are struggling offensively, and may be about to lose one of their most productive hitters if Nelson Cruz gets suspended, they are not about to go away in this race. While the A’s opened up a bit of a cushion in the division race, they should not grow complacent. This weekend is an opportunity to make some serious progress and set the Rangers efforts back a bit. Best case scenario, the Rangers lose their makeup game with the Arizona Diamondbacks tomorrow, and the A’s sweep them this weekend to put them 7.5 games out. A lot needs to go right, and the first indication of good things to come will be the reawakening of the A’s bats.