Saturday, May 25, 2024

Rook Before You Leap


I think it says a lot about the A's that their most tense series of the year thus far was against the Colorado Rockies.

Two teams that aren't very good battling it out! Close games! Extra innings! Dramatic finishes! It's like watching two pigeons try to play chess! Eventually they do move a piece or so but they can't really do anything without shitting all over the board.

And while it doesn't shock me that the A's took the series, two games going to extras make me think it honestly could have gone either way. Logically the Athletics are better than the Rockies, but the A's followed a 6 game winning streak with an 8 game losing streak, and are only in 4th place because the Angels without Trout or Ohtani is just a dire experience all-around. At the same time, the Astros have gotten hot, they're in third, they're trying to make everyone forget their first 40 games didn't happen, and now they're...more of a factor than the A's. Of course. 

A lot of the pieces people were talking about in Oakland just weeks ago have suddenly dissipated. Paul Blackburn's hurt. Esteury Ruiz just landed on the IL. J.P. Sears evened out. Joey Estes had his good start then fell apart. There have been some strong pieces, especially somebody like Brent Rooker, who's back to  excelling at offensive production, hitting .286 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. You're even seeing people like Abraham Toro, Kyle McCann and somehow Aaron Brooks claim important spots on this roster and own them. And yes, the core of Shea Langeliers, Zach Gelof, Seth Brown and J.J. Bleday isn't perfect, but these guys do have some perks, mostly in the realm of power hitting. In a year where a lot of great teams can't power-hit to save their life, I'll gladly take some one-dimensional power stuff if it means A's games are watchable. 

But with an injury-plagued rotation, a lot of unsure pieces of the lineup, and some dire losing streaks, there's still not a ton that's truly comforting about the A's right now. Even Mason Miller seems to bring up the topic of 'who's trading for him in two months', rather than what he can actually accomplish as an Oakland Athletic. And while it was kinda clear that this team wouldn't compete, the early games in May gave the idea that they'd turn out a little better than this. It's a real 'nothing has changed, everything has changed' sort of thing, cause they're still a bottom feeding team despite being more sure of themselves than they were last year. We know who's good on this team, it's just that most of them are injured and the rest keep striking out. 

The A's have to play the Astros this weekend, and while I'd love to say that the A's somehow triumph, the Astros have improved in recent weeks and might have the pitching now to overpower them. Not that I wouldn't mind some upsets to put Houston in their place, I think we'd all love that,'d take a lot of things coming together for the A's, and we need more working variables for that probably.

Coming Tonight: 5 years ago I did not think this guy being a multi-faceted first baseman would be a regular thing. 

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