2014 Oakland Athletics Thread

Snodgrass'Muff

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I was about to start a thread specifically to talk about one player, but figured this would be a better way to go.  The A's might be baseball's best team, and they're doing it in an intriguing way.  Their offensive success is driven by Derek Norris, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and John Jaso.  The closest thing they have to a star in that group is Cespedes.
 
The rotation isn't much different.  Sonny Gray was drafted right before the Sox took Barnes in 2011.  Solid prospect, but not expected to be a stud.  Scott Kazmir was cooked.  We all agreed he was cooked.  Now he's dominating again.  Then add Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone.  Drew Pomeranz is also looking good.  The have three starters with a 2.53 ERA or better and ERA+'s of 147 or higher.  Pomeranz is at 0.99 and 399, though only has 3 starts.
 
The bullpen is fluid, but filled with excellent options like Sean Doolittle, Dan Otero, Luke Gregerson, Fernando Abad and Ryan Cook.
 
This is a really solid team.  The A's seem to exist in cycles, and when the pieces fall together, they get good in a hurry.  The tend to have small windows for making title runs, but this seems to be as good a start as they've had in a while.
 
And on a Red Sox related note... this is what I was going to start a thread about:
 
For all the hand wringing over players like Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick being shipped out for fairly benign or even failed returns, no one seems to talk about the Oakland A's player with Red Sox roots that is clearly the best hitter of the bunch.  Brandon Moss currently has a 171 wRC+.  Last year he posted a 137 and the year before that a 160.  He's a monster at the plate.  Now, he typically does most of his damage against right handed pitching, but so far this year has been crushing pitching from both.  Granted, his overall value is hampered by defense.  However, we're looking at a guy who has genuine 30 home run power and a solid amount of patience at the plate.  His strikeouts are down this year, which will probably normalize, but he's been a bigger offensive force than any first baseman the Red Sox have had in the last 2 and 1/3 seasons.
 
So why no sour grapes there?
 
Dec 13, 2013
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Snodgrass'Muff said:
I was about to start a thread specifically to talk about one player, but figured this would be a better way to go.  The A's might be baseball's best team, and they're doing it in an intriguing way.  Their offensive success is driven by Derek Norris, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and John Jaso.  The closest thing they have to a star in that group is Cespedes.
 
The rotation isn't much different.  Sonny Gray was drafted right before the Sox took Barnes in 2011.  Solid prospect, but not expected to be a stud.  Scott Kazmir was cooked.  We all agreed he was cooked.  Now he's dominating again.  Then add Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone.  Drew Pomeranz is also looking good.  The have three starters with a 2.53 ERA or better and ERA+'s of 147 or higher.  Pomeranz is at 0.99 and 399, though only has 3 starts.
 
The bullpen is fluid, but filled with excellent options like Sean Doolittle, Dan Otero, Luke Gregerson, Fernando Abad and Ryan Cook.
 
This is a really solid team.  The A's seem to exist in cycles, and when the pieces fall together, they get good in a hurry.  The tend to have small windows for making title runs, but this seems to be as good a start as they've had in a while.
 
And on a Red Sox related note... this is what I was going to start a thread about:
 
For all the hand wringing over players like Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick being shipped out for fairly benign or even failed returns, no one seems to talk about the Oakland A's player with Red Sox roots that is clearly the best hitter of the bunch.  Brandon Moss currently has a 171 wRC+.  Last year he posted a 137 and the year before that a 160.  He's a monster at the plate.  Now, he typically does most of his damage against right handed pitching, but so far this year has been crushing pitching from both.  Granted, his overall value is hampered by defense.  However, we're looking at a guy who has genuine 30 home run power and a solid amount of patience at the plate.  His strikeouts are down this year, which will probably normalize, but he's been a bigger offensive force than any first baseman the Red Sox have had in the last 2 and 1/3 seasons.
 
So why no sour grapes there?
About Moss, there' something to be said about the immediacy with which a traded player starts making contributions.
 
Reddick's 32 home run season was right after he got traded. At the time it was easy to say, how did we not recognize this potential? Obviously its looking like that was a fluke. Likewise, Lowrie has hit at every point since we traded him.
 
On the other hand, Brandon Moss disappeared from the mind of a Red Sox fan (or any baseball fan for that matter) for four years before emerging. Its conceivable in the mind of the fan that the Red Sox "couldn't have done things differently".
 
 
EDIT: While we're baselessly kvetching about players who were at any point in the Red Sox system, can I put in a wailing and gnashing of teeth for Anthony Rizzo? Having him and Bogaerts as an in-house middle of the order of the future would be fapworthy.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I agree about Rizzo, but he's not on the A's, so get yer teeth gnashing over to the Cubs thread. :p
 
In all seriousness, Coco Crisp is also one that people don't talk about, since we had a viable replacement for him in Ellsbury who was excellent at times, but since leaving the Red Sox his wRC+'s are 89, 114, 92, 106, 117 and 120.  Of course, UZR has his defense slipping to below average over the last 4 years, so his overall value takes a hit.
 

Al Zarilla

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Thought I'd catch a few innings of the A's - Tigers game today. No local TV. A's are the least televised/advertised/appreciated good team right now.
 

MuzzyField

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The A's sure do look to be constructed for another regular season of success, with plenty of former Red Sox in their lineup. They are pushing the surging Angels back this weekend. Slumping Jed has a couple of hits, including a solo bomb, and June 22nd is Coco Crisp Garden Gnome night. Now, if they could just fix the plumbing.
 

Al Zarilla

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MuzzyField said:
The A's sure do look to be constructed for another regular season of success, with plenty of former Red Sox in their lineup. They are pushing the surging Angels back this weekend. Slumping Jed has a couple of hits, including a solo bomb, and June 22nd is Coco Crisp Garden Gnome night. Now, if they could just fix the plumbing.
Racist?
 

Al Zarilla

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No love for the A's around here? I've sort of taken up rooting for them, especially when Lester pitches. Their offense has really gone south, particularly Moss, Norris, Vogt, just about everybody except Donaldson. I looked at some Oakland A's message boards and a common theme is to blame "the trade". They like Lester fine, but rue, rue, rue the loss of Cespedes and blame the whole offensive disappearance on the now void in the middle of the order. Have to look at the schedules of the two teams for the rest of the season later.
 

jon abbey

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Swept 4 straight by the Angels over the weekend, only scoring one run combined in the last three games.
 
OAK has now gone 6-14 in their last 20 at the same time the Angels have gone 15-5, from 4 games up to 5 games back in three weeks. 
 

Al Zarilla

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Melvin had a long closed door team meeting after the game, then spoke to reporters. He looked and sounded like someone had stolen his car and run over his dog. Said things like "this isn't who we are, worst in can't remember how long, esp. the last 3 days; everybody's trying to fix it by overswinging; feels bad for A's fans that have to watch this; team should feel embarrassed, all of them (wow)..." Then, with another question like "do you think the team is trying" (hate Qs like that) he said "I'm done". 
 
Kazmir looked like he could burst into tears in his interview. 
 

TheYaz67

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If they miss out on the playoffs entirely, after leading the entire AL by as many as 10 games most all spring and summer, that will be an epic squander, especially given the impressive pitching reinforcements brought in at the trade deadline....  Hope for Lester's sake that they make it in.
 

jon abbey

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13 of their last 19 (including tonight) are against the White Sox, Rangers and Phillies, so it would really have to be a massive collapse to not make the wild card game. 
 

axx

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jon abbey said:
13 of their last 19 (including tonight) are against the White Sox, Rangers and Phillies, so it would really have to be a massive collapse to not make the wild card game. 
 
They really are playing that badly though. Their saving grace might be that Detroit and KC play 4 more against each other after tonight, and for Oakland to miss the playoffs they would have to fall behind both.
 

nattysez

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2011 Sox:  80-51 on August 26, finished 90-72.  Final stretch of 10-21.
2014 A's:  73-46 on August 12.  Currently at 81-65, a stretch of 8-19.
 
Shared players:
Jon Lester
Jed Lowrie
Josh Reddick 
(but this is probably Punto's fault)
 
A's currently 1 game ahead of Detroit, 1.5 games ahead of Seattle (who they play three games against starting tomorrow), and 4.5 ahead of Toronto.
 
The A's should hold off Seattle given their remaining schedules, but at this point anything is possible:
A's:  3 v. SEA, 7 v. TEX, 3 v. PHI, 3 v. LAA
M's: 3 v. OAK, 7 v. LAA, 3 v, HOU, 4 v. TOR
 

TheYaz67

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Well, the way they are hitting right now, I would at least expect that they will lose the game King Felix starts (probably by way of a shut out). 
 
 
The A's should hold off Seattle given their remaining schedules, but at this point anything is possible:
A's:  3 v. SEA, 7 v. TEX, 3 v. PHI, 3 v. LAA
M's: 3 v. OAK, 7 v. LAA, 3 v, HOU, 4 v. TOR
 
Except for the fact that Seattle has played to a 28-19 record against those 4 teams to date, and Oakland is only .500 against their remaining opponents.  I think Seattle overtakes them if they win 2 of 3 in the head to head series....
 

nattysez

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TheYaz67 said:
Except for the fact that Seattle has played to a 28-19 record against those 4 teams to date, and Oakland is only .500 against their remaining opponents.  I think Seattle overtakes them if they win 2 of 3 in the head to head series....
 
Tonight's results certainly make your argument compelling.  
 

nattysez

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The A's are an absolute tire fire right now.  Shark pitched a gem and Doolittle gave it away, with the 'pen ultimately allowing SIX runs in the top of the ninth. 
 

E5 Yaz

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TheYaz67 said:
Except for the fact that Seattle has played to a 28-19 record against those 4 teams to date, and Oakland is only .500 against their remaining opponents.  I think Seattle overtakes them if they win 2 of 3 in the head to head series....
 
The thing that could kill them though is being on the road this long. An 11-game road trip over the final 2 weeks of the season is brutal. 
 

TheYaz67

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nattysez said:
 
Tonight's results certainly make your argument compelling.  
 
Of course they follow a clutch series against Seattle on the road, where they actually LOST the first game but bounced back to take 2 of 3, they then return home and lose to the Rangers 6-3, 6-1 and 7-2 at home.  Tire fire sounds about right - Seattle may not be playing great, but Oakland is still in an epic tailspin. 
 
Philly up next, and Lester pitches the first game of that series, which I hope he does not lose by a 2-1 score....
 

jon abbey

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No A's 2015 thread yet, so I thought I'd bump this because I just noticed that they are 7-7 with a +27 run differential, and that is including a 10-1 loss (and 10-0 and 12-0 wins, but it still seems really unusual). What's the latest in Beane-town?
 

jon abbey

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OAK proceeds to lose 14-1, such an odd season they're having so far. They were the first team in MLB history to throw 5 shutouts as quickly as they did, but they've lost almost every other game.