Sonny Gray is second in the AL with a 2.10 ERA, and a win vs. loss that’s bound to get better as the A’s excel. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics Offense Cooling Down at Wrong Time


The Oakland Athletics had the hottest offense in baseball, leading the league by a wide margin in the run differential department.

They outscored the Cleveland Indians 30-6 in their 3 game series. They were on fire, and they were on their way to play the Tampa Bay Rays, a reeling team who was not doing well at all. Their record was 2nd to last in the American League, ahead of only the Houston Astros by two wins. It seemed like the Athletics were going come in and continue their offensive tear.

They didn’t. In fact, they barely got by. The red hot offense was hurt by the off day, and are now ice cold.

They managed to score 3 runs in the first game. In one inning, they scored all three of their runs. Aside from that one inning, the offense was dead. They still won the game 3-0. It seemed disappointing only because the A’s had spoiled us. They got us used to those high scoring games and blowouts.

The second game came around, and the offense was even worse. They managed only 1 hit, a solo shot by Brandon Moss. The Athletics only won the game because of errors made, which accounted for two unearned runs. The Athletics caught a lucky break. The offense didn’t show any signs of life, striking out a lot. They did get a lot of free passes, but the Athletics could not capitalize on those walks.

The Athletics offense that was so dominant was practically shut down. 1 hit over 9 innings is a huge disappointment when we’ve seen them do so much better. In the end, they got the win so fans couldn’t stay disappointed.

In the final game of the 3 game series, the Athletics could not break through against Alex Cobb in the 6.2 innings he pitched. They had the bases loaded in the 6th, but failed to score. They failed to score against the bullpen until the 9th inning.

They tied the game at 1-1 on an RBI double by Yoenis Cespedes. The bases were loaded after Balfour intentionally walked Jed Lowrie, but Josh Reddick failed to bring anybody in with only 1 out. Alberto Callaspo came up to the plate after Reddick. If he could bring Donaldson home, all the Athletics would need is three outs to win the game, instead of going into extra innings. But Callaspo failed and left the bases loaded.

The Athletics had to go into extra innings, where in the 10th inning they went down 1-2-3.

In the 11th inning, Donaldson led off with a double, and he ended up scoring. He didn’t score on hit though, he scored by moving up to 3rd base by a groundout from Brandon Moss. Cespedes hit a deep sac fly for Donaldson to come in and score.

None of that mattered, because Dan Otero gave up a run the next inning and Luke Gregerson gave up a 3 run shot to lose the game.

The bigger picture here is that the offense has cooled down, a lot. Which is coming at one of the hardest parts of their schedule.

The Athletics have a tough stretch in which they face the Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, then the Yankees and the Angels again. All of those teams have winning records, and are either in 1st or 2nd place in their own divisions.

That’s 22 games against teams who are serious contenders to make the postseason. The offense needs to heat up fast if they are going to be winning against the likes of pitchers such as Justin Verlander and Masashiro Tanaka.

If the Athletics want to come out of that stretch remaining in 1st place, they are going to need their offense to come into these games and get big hits with runners in scoring position, not come up to the plate and strike out or pop up in the infield.

This offense has cooled down dramatically, probably because of the off day. This team has spoiled us as fans, because we are not used to watching our team go down 1-2-3 so often, but the bright side is that they have a good cushion for 1st place. One they cannot take for granted. It would be better to add on to that cushion rather than thin it out.

Wake up those bats boys, because you’ve got some tough games ahead of you.

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Tags: Oakland Athletics

  • Rob Ferrier

    I know that the point is to generate clicks by being hysterical. But I think you may be reading just a tad too much into a three game stretch at the end of a brutal road trip. The A’s are a good team, populated by tired humans. The Rays are a good team, playing at home. Without their A game (pardon the pun), they won two out of three. If they go on to lose the next ten at home, we all have reason to worry. We’re a quarter into a season where absolutely no one thought they would be playing this well.
    Cleveland is not a good baseball team. The A’s hammer them. As they hammer the Stros and the rest of the garbage at the bottom of the league. The better teams are harder to beat, have deeper lineups, and don’t have bullpens that will collapse at the slightest tap. Let’s see how they fare against the Mariners and Angels.

    • jbenitez

      I agree that it’s not of great concern, I am merely pointing out that they are going to need to wake their bats up against Toronto and Detroit and the rest of the teams coming up. The Rays are good, the Blue Jays, Tigers, Angels, Yankees, and Orioles are all better, so if they want to win those games they need to do better than they did in the previous series.
      They are tired human beings and they spoil us with their blowout wins. I’m not saying the season is over, only saying that these upcoming games are a horrible time to hit a slump in.

  • Nancy Galan

    Yes, we are spoiled by the A’s high scoring offense and I agree that they may be a tad tired from being on the road, but the A’s have a better record on the road than they have when playing at home. Let’s hope they can continue to win series at Toronto and then at home against the Tigers.

    • jbenitez

      The good news is the Tigers are struggling too, losing 4 straight! So we’ll see which team recovers best by the time they meet.

  • afannaz

    how many times lately have the A’s ended an inning by leaving the bases loaded? lots! LOB is the A’s achilles heal, and has been most of this year. too many all or nothing hitters. how about saying “uncle” to nerd power, who has no power and no BA, and investing in a real 2nd baseman for the second half push? callaspo wouldn’t be much of a loss either to throw into a trade to acquire someone who is both a +fielder and a +hitter. he’s been a strikeout machine lately and he never was a defensive anything. i hope they never use him at 1st base again. come on BB…go A’s!

    • jbenitez

      I think the offense is just hitting a slump. the hitters that usually do well are all getting out. They’ll collect hits here and there, but they just leave the men on base there. It’s killing me watching the A’s go down 1-2-3 so many times. This is not going to go well if the bats don’t heat up by the time Detroit comes to town on Monday.