August Preliminary Report: A’s

Oakland A's
• The moment I picked Oakland as my dark-horse contender for the AL West flag, they fell into the dumpster, losing 4 of their next 5 and finishing July in fourth place with a 12-16 record for the month. But after a few tweaks to their starting lineup and pitching rotation, the A’s just might turn it around in August and give the Rangers, Twins, and Royals a run for their money.

• Like most teams in the major leagues, the A’s will convert to a 4-man rotation for August, with three PB 2-7 pitchers (Matt Keough, John Henry Johnson, and Alan Wirth) joining veteran Steve Renko as manager Jack McKeon’s starting quartet. Rick Langford, a right-hander who made five starts for the A’s after his call-up in June, will make one more on August 1st before moving to the bullpen on a permanent basis.

• Keough, who’s pitching range of 2-7 would seem a lock for success, somehow went 0-5 with a 5.27 ERA in July.

• Second baseman Mike Edwards is back from his beaning by Chisox pitcher Ross Baumgarten, after Edwards stole second, third, and home in the first inning of their July 27th game at Comiskey Park. Edwards, who returned to action on the 31st and went 2-for-4, was Oakland’s offensive leader for July, with a batting average of .327, 34 hits, 19 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases (and only one caught stealing).

• Edwards’ steal of second, third, and home in one inning was an SP78 first, and was the first time the feat was accomplished in the major leagues since Dave Nelson of the Rangers turned the trick on August 31, 1974. It was the 22nd time a triple-theft had been pulled off in the American League, and 43rd overall.

• The A’s stole 50 bases in July, and were caught only ten times.

• After a stellar July, outfielder Glenn Burke has won a spot in the starting lineup, and will now bat lead-off and be stationed in center field. Miguel Dilone and rookie Dell Alston will platoon in right, while Mitchell Page will return to his customary spot in left.

• Both Burke and Dilone were suspended one game for illegal bat use in July, and strangely enough, they were both caught during the same game, in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Twins on July 7th. Both blamed an unnamed teammate, who’d loaned them the bat and had promised it would bring them ‘luck’.

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2 responses to “August Preliminary Report: A’s

  1. It took a lot of nerve (or a void of intellect) to get a second player caught with an illegal bat in the same game. I’m surprised that McKeon didn’t get added to the list. I’ll also say that the A’s starting rotation isn’t going to scare a lot of people, so their bats are going to need to come to life for them to rejoin the pennant race.

    • I can just picture it: Burke gets tossed for an illegal bat, and Dilone goes to the mysterious source and asks, “Hey, is this bat illegal, too?”. And the guy says, “Ummmmm…no, it should be good.” And boom, down goes Miguel for a game as well.

      Right now, on cardstock, the A’s pitching staff (both starting and relieving) look really good: three 2-7’s in the starting rotation, and three in the bullpen (Sosa, Heaverlo, and Lacey). The team’s offense looks great, too, but I think what’s really going to help them will be their speed on the basepaths: the A’s starting roster is stocked with A and B stealers, and they’re ready to run at will. I still like them as a dark horse, or at least a threat to the Top 3 in the West.

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