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An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans

Updated: 2018-04-24T20:15:21-07:00


Game #24: A’s Win Pitchers’ Duel, Beat Rangers 3-2



The save went to ... Santiago Casilla?

***Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread***

Well, that was a strange one. I can’t remember watching many sloppier games that ended error-free. But a win is a win, and a road win is a little more than that. Not only did tonight extend the A’s win streak, it also guaranteed another series victory.

All was quiet on the scoring front through the early and middle innings. The A’s got plenty of base runners - two in each of the first three innings - and managed to drive up Cole Hamels’ pitch count, but without avail. That changed in the sixth.


Ryan Dull, Yusmiero Petit, and Ryan Butcher beautifully held the game tied at 3 for three and a third innings (1 inning for Dull, 1.2 innings for Petit, and .2 innings for Buchter). Only Petit gave up a hit. No complaints here.

Chris Hatcher came in for the final two outs of the game. When it comes to Hatcher, you have to assume (read: hope) his days on the Major League roster are numbered. I started writing this recap when he came in, and he of course immediately had me worried I’d jinxed the game. He gave up back-to-back doubles to Adrian Beltre and and Joey Gallo, allowing a run to score. If he’s only used when the team is winning handily, and still gives us a scare, what’s the point?

Final Thought

Don’t look now, but the team has itself a 3-game win streak, and a winning record for the first time this year. Is this actually a good team? Too soon to tell — but we do know that when the pitching is solid, hitting can take the reigns. But is it headed in the right direction? Most definitely.

Game Thread #23: A’s at Rangers



We’ve got front row seats to round two of the Trevor Cahill Experience.

I think it’s fair to say we all prepared ourselves for the worst when Trevor Cahill took the mound in front of 46,000 fans last Tuesday night.

Lucky for everyone, the 50th anniversary celebration also served as a somewhat of a coming-out party for Cahill, who struck out eight through seven innings of shutout baseball.

We still really can’t say whether Cahill’s start was a short-lived, likely Dave Kaval-orchestrated miracle, or whether he’s back in 2010 form.

Regardless, things seem to be swinging in the A’s favor nowadays. Coming off a 2-1 series win against the league-leading Red Sox, which included some, errr, very good pitching, we’ve got every reason to believe the momentum will carry. The Rangers are 3-10 this year at home and are in the bottom third of teams in runs scored per game.

So do your best to invoke all the 2010 good vibes, and let’s get the week started on a high note.

Today's Lineups

Marcus Semien - SS Delino DeShields Jr. - CF
Stephen Piscotty - RF Shin-Soo Choo - DH
Jed Lowrie - 2B Nomar Mazara - RF
Khris Davis - DH Adrian Beltre - 3B
Matt Chapman - 3B Joey Gallo - LF
Matt Olson - 1B Jurickson Profar - SS
Mark Canha - CF Robinson Chirinos - C
Chad Pinder - LF Ronald Guzman - 1B
Jonathan Lucroy - C Isiah Kiner-Falefa - 2B
Trevor Cahill - RHP Matt Moore - LHP

A’s lineup arguably the best in baseball


They aren’t quite scoring the most runs, but they’re doing the best hitting. The Oakland A’s faced the Red Sox last weekend, and Boston entered the series as the hands-down hottest offense in baseball in the early going. However, the A’s shut them down so thoroughly that Oakland’s lineup may have wrestled away that title. It’s certainly not a unanimous decision. The green and gold ranks only 6th in runs/game (5.18), with the Red Sox still topping that category. Scoring is the ultimate goal on offense, so that will always be an important measure. But there’s more than one way to skin a spreadsheet, so here are some other MLB rankings for the A’s: 1st in wRC+ (120), 3rd in OPS (.787) T-4th in isolated slugging (.174), T-4th in HR (28) T-11th in walk rate (9.4%) 2nd in average (.269), 1st in BABIP (.327) T-4th in average w/ RISP (.281) 2nd in hard contact rate (39.9%) 1st in position player fWAR (5.1), 2nd in bWAR (5.3%) The important one is at the top. The A’s are only third in OPS, but that’s because the leaders (BOS/NYY) play in silly Little League parks rather than the cavernous Coliseum with its unforgiving marine layer. Oakland tops all of MLB in wRC+ and OPS+, the adjusted versions that account for park factors and such things. Leading the sport in the all-in-one hitting metrics is a great start to an argument for having the best offense. Breaking it down further, power is the main ingredient in the success. They’re also getting some good fortune in the BABIP department, which they’re at least partly earning by hitting the ball as hard as anyone, hitting as many liners as anyone (T-2nd in MLB), and keeping the infield popups at bay (9th-lowest). Time will tell how much of that high batting average they can maintain. Factor in their not-terrible, roughly average defense, and the A’s also lead in position player fWAR, just a tick ahead of the Angels. Switch to bWAR and it flips, with the Angels leading the pack and Oakland in second. Boston may still be in the conversation for best offense, but for best overall lineup on both sides of the ball? The answer is currently out west, one way or other. All of this is just a snapshot in time, of course. There’s nothing specifically meaningful about being the best on April 23, after 22 games played, but it’s the kind of benchmark we should be excited about in any sample size on a rebuilding team. The lineup so far is as good as we hoped and probably better, and at least a few of the pitchers are coming around too. The reasonable hope this year was to get back to .500, and that’s exactly where we are now. Here’s a look down the lineup, organized by wRC+ (100 is average, higher is better): Jed Lowrie (179): He still leads MLB in RBI (23), tied with Javier Baez of the Cubs. Still got that four-digit OPS, too (1.008). He finally had an 0-fer on Sunday to break a seven-game hitting streak. Mark Canha (167): He got a hit off of each one of Boston’s daunting lefty starters. Matt Chapman (156): His batting average has stabilized, but his plate discipline still looks great (12.8% BB, 20.2% Ks) and his tiny swinging-strike rate is lower than Lowrie’s. Khris Davis (143): Most dingers in MLB since 2016, most recently a game-winner off David Price. Matt Joyce (143): Only Bryce Harper and Joe Mauer have higher walk rates (21.9%). Matt Olson (113): Still searching for power, but producing in the meantime. Stephen Piscotty (108): This is closer to the hitter we were expecting, but hoping to see more on defense. Marcus Semien (100): Went 4-for-7 against Sale and Price last weekend. Jonathan Lucroy (85): Still waiting for the bat to come around, but when you catch a no-hitter you get a pass. The A’s are average or better hitters at all but one position, and the only weak spot is the veteran defensive catcher. They won’t all stay at their current heights, especially Lowrie and Canha up at virtual MVP levels, but there’s every chance this lineup can continue to be a terro[...]