Tuesday, July 6, 2010

10 Thoughts: Oakland A's – June 2010

June Record: 10-17
Overall Record: 38-41 (3rd Place, -10 GB Texas)

(1) Bob Geren Had a Really Bad Month I: On
June 5, Geren – in his fourth season as A's manager – ordered Minnesota Twins All-Star 1B Justin Morneau to be intentionally walked in the top of the ninth inning with the bases empty and one out in a tie game. A's reliever Brad Ziegler has been mutilated by lefties (.321/.422/.502; 290 plate appearances) over his brief career, but willfully allowing the winning run to reach base safely would be an egregious offense in Little League or PS3. The A's could've called on southpaws Cedrick Bowers or Craig Breslow to face Morneau (who didn't start due to the flu) or let Ziegler go after the weakened slugger. Of course, Morneau's pinch-runner scored what would be the winning run in a 4-3 loss.

(2) Bob Geren Had a Really Bad Month II: In an interleague game against the Cubs on
June 17, Geren called on closer Andrew Bailey in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out and the bases loaded. The A's were nursing a 2-1 lead and promptly gave it up on a sacrifice fly that tied the game. Bailey struck out the next batter he faced to end the inning, but since Geren inexplicably didn't signal for a double-switch when he brought Bailey in, the A's had to pinch-hit for their best reliever as he was slated to lead off the top of the ninth inning. The A's lost in the bottom of the ninth.

(3) We Hardly Knew You, Jake Fox: Here's
what I wrote about Neanderthal utility guy Jake Fox in my "30 A's in 30 Days" preview back in March: "I just don't see a fit for him on the 2010 team." Fox was designated for assignment in mid-June after posting a .214/.264/.327 line in 106 plate appearances. American League teams are generally clueless about how to play platoon-y pinch-hitter types, but the A's compounded matters by filling the back end of their offense with them.

(4) Ben Sheets Continues to Hoodwink: FOXSports.com
reported that the A's may choose to retain the services of $10M SP Ben Sheets for the remainder of the 2010 season. The story cited Sheets' role as "mentor" for the young pitching staff. Sheets was 2-7 with a 4.95 ERA when this rumor came out. Through June 30, he's surrendered 16 home runs in 99.1 innings. I wouldn't want Sheets "mentoring" my six-year-old. Obviously, this story was fed to the press by someone associated with our boy-genius GM in an attempt to create demand via perceived scarcity. Good to see overpaid mediocrities continue to receive free passes from the media, simply for being a nice guy.

(5) Let's Discount What We Marked Up!: Like many teams, the A's charge higher ticket prices for games against "premium" opponents. This year's high-rent district included July series against the Yankees and Red Sox. Late last month, the A's began offering ticket discounts for the July 5-7 games against the Yankees in a transparent attempt to stimulate sales against an opponent that routinely sold out the Coliseum just a few years ago. Sucks to be fans who bought early and paid higher prices.

(6) Eric Chavez to Begin Rehab Assignme…Whoops, False Alarm: In early June, A's beat writers breathlessly reported on the impending return of the injury-ravaged Eric Chavez. Hailed for his "honesty", he suckered fans and writers into believing he was 100% healthy entering this season. But, since no one can stay mad at him, Chavez's minor league rehab assignment was reported with nary a mention of his earlier con job. And, gee,
what a shock.

(7) The One A's T-Shirt I Won't Be Buying: The A's are selling this ridiculous,
bush-league t-shirt in an attempt to further the "feud" with Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees. Last night, Dallas Braden issued a forceful denouncement of the attire, which was almost as forceful as HIS after-the-fact sh*t-stirring.

(8) A's Offense in June: .281/.332/.412 with 21 home runs in 27 games. Far and away their best month at the plate in 2010.

(9) A's Pitching in June: 4.34 ERA, .776 OPS allowed. Far and away their worst month on the mound in 2010.

(10) All You Need to Know about My Oakland A's: Whenever a ballplayer calls up to the press box to gripe about the way a certain play was scored – if I remember correctly there was a famous incident with Bobby Bonilla during his toxic first season with the Mets – the player is usually crucified in the press for being selfish. On June 30, A's 2B Mark Ellis was credited with a steal of home before the official scorer changed the call to "fielder's choice". The following day the team
announced it was appealing the scoring change. No word if my A's are appealing the 9-6 loss to the lowly Orioles.


SHough610 said...

What's the story between A-Rod and Braden? I remember very specifically seeing that something had happened on Baseball Tonight but missed the story.

And the A's might have lost a series to the Orioles, but at least they didn't lose a series to the Pirates when they were preseason World Series favorites.

Aaron C. said...

In the 6th or 7th inning of a Yanks/A's game in late April, Rodriguez was on first and took off for second. The batter fouled the ball off, so Rodriguez - who by this time was nearing 3rd base, cut across the diamond and walked over the pitcher's mound on his way back to 1st base.

Braden staged an over-the-top freakout (clearly trying to light a fire under an A's team that was scuffling a bit at that point) and the local A's media ate it up.

A lot of dirty hands here, but A-Rod's were probably the cleanest for once.