The baseball season is a month old, yet I don’t seem to have commented on it yet. I guess I’ve been thinking about other stuff, or maybe it’s because of all the Food Network stuff that we have on the DVR. Admittedly, being able to pause games is nice, except that it’s really depressing to watch the rest of the game after dinner because the A’s can’t hit worth crap.
I’m sorry, am I shouting? For the first few weeks, I just kept on saying to myself “small sample size”, “small sample size”. And then the A’s managed to get back over .500. And then, well, they dropped a couple of series, and got shut out for a couple of games in a row. They’ve already gotten shut out more times this year than all of last year, and they were certainly no offensive powerhouse last year.
I was cautiously optimistic going into the season. Their bullpen was really depressing last year, and they seemed to have done a lot of work to improve there. I thought the offense would probably get a slight boost; signing Jason Kendall sounded like a nice move. I wasn’t thrilled about their starting pitching after the trades, but if Baseball Prospectus claimed that the trades wouldn’t hurt their starting pitching, who was I to quibble?
And, indeed, the pitching has been respectable; some of the starters have been pretty iffy, but Joe Blanton and, especially, Rich Harden have been awesome. And their relief pitching has been quite respectable. But the offense has finally slipped past Kansas City to the very bottom of the AL. (With my other favorite team, the Native Americans, keeping them company.) What is going on here? Each year, I think that this is the year where Eric Chavez will turn from one of the better third basemen in the league into a real star; each year, I am wrong. And it’s not just him: nobody, nobody is hitting on the A’s: the team leader in OPS is Mark Kotsay; while .753 is decent for a center fielder, it’s abysmal for your best player. (Fun stat: Mike Hampton is third on the Braves in OPS, at .900.)
Ah well; let me repeat again: small sample size. Plus, the Yankees suck, too. Speaking of which, one article on the Yankees (at a time when they were 11-18) mentioned that, in 2001, the A’s started off 11-18; the rest of the season, they won more than two-thirds of their games, including 20 in a row. Let’s hope the A’s pick it up like that again this year…
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