The Power is again out in Oakland
You don’t even need to use all the fingers on one hand to count the times Oakland pitchers have surrendered more than 4 runs this month. Yet, the team has only 5 May wins. You need even less fingers to count the games in which the A’s offense have scored more than 4 runs. And so the A’s have only 5 May wins. I count at least 4 losses with late-and-close situations, games during which the A’s either had a lead in the final inning or scratched back to tie the game only to lose in the end. This is why the team is 6 games under .500 and dangerously close to being an unquestioned seller. This slump is affecting everyone. However, one group may be more at fault than others.
The Lights Aren’t the Only Thing Going Dark
Oakland isn’t the worst hitting team this month, but is certainly isn’t the best. Its 89 wRC+ is 18th in MLB and better than only 7 AL teams. Oakland’s 49 runs scored this month is 22nd in baseball and is more than only 5 AL teams.
This is largely due to team-wide power outage. At .374 Oakland’s slugging percentage is 26th in MLB and only better than Toronto’s as far as the AL goes. By ISO it’s slightly better but in the sense that being mostly dead is still better than being actually dead.
Many of us are casting blame on the starting pitching. But with a 3.44 ERA this month, Oakland starters are doing their job. It’s also easy to look at the relief corps as the main culprit, and maybe for good reason. But with a 3.75 ERA A’s relievers have been better than those of 17 other teams. No, this slump is the fault of one group and that’s the hitters. You can’t bat like Jason Kipnis and expect to win many games.
This month 3 Athletics have a wRC+ north of 100: Matt Chapman is at 105 despite a horrendous slump, Khris Davis at 174 in only 8 games, and the since departed Kendrys Morales was at 103 thanks to a strong OBP.
Sluggers on the Upswing
Fortunately things should get better. Look past the 0-for-12 from Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, and Matt Olson last night. Those three will once again get going. Olson is back and while shaking off some rust has a 55.6% hard-hit rate. He has now homered twice in his past three games. And Davis had another 2-HR game on Monday and should be healthy after missing several games the past few weeks.
I’m also not worried about Marcus Semien, Stephen Piscotty or Chad Pinder. The A’s will be fine. However the playoffs are becoming more and more unlikely by the day.