The A’s find themselves in a similar position to where they were a year ago. They’re in second place in their division with a reasonable shot at both the division and the Wild Card. The difference, however, is how they got to this point. But, we’ll save some of that for the “why not” section. For now, let’s just say that Oakland needs to turn things around if they hope to make a run at their first championship in 23 years. Can they do it?
3 Reasons Why
- Walk On By – Oakland batters have the highest walk rate in the AL (9.4%). This is due in large part to the fact that they have the 3rd lowest percentage of pitches swung at outside the strike zone (28% – only Cleveland & Boston are better).
- Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat – the A’s have the best WHIP in the AL (1.21), which means they sit down more batters than anyone else. But, on top of that, they have one of the best LOB% in the AL (74.5%), meaning that the few guys they do allow on base, are often stranded there.
- Closing Time – Oakland’s bullpen holds the 4th best save percentage in the AL at 71% with just 14 blown saves. Grant Balfour leads the way, with 31 saves, just one blown save, and an ERA of just 1.84.
3 Why Not
- Slip Sliding Away – a year ago, Oakland was getting started on a massive run of wins that led them to overtaking a huge deficit to the Rangers in the standings. This year, the A’s have been leading the division much of the season, but have begun to head in the wrong direction. Since the All-Star break, they have been hovering around .500-ball. And, Texas has overtaken them in the standings. If the ship isn’t righted soon, then they could potentially find themselves on the outside looking in, come October.
- Under Pressure – with runners in scoring position, the A’s are by far the worst hitting team among AL playoff contenders. They rank 10th in the AL in runs scored (388), and come in 12th with a .250 average. If they want to win big, they’re going to have to take advantage of those pressure situations.
- Young At Heart – Oakland is a very young team. The average age of their batters is 28.3, and the average age of their pitchers is 28.5. History shows us very few World Series champions with that combination of youth in both the rotation and the lineup. In fact, it’s been 10 years since any team that young won it all (Marlins in ’03).
Where will Oakland finish the 2013 season? Vote now!