Earlier in the season, if I’d been asked to choose a team that I thought was a dark horse contender to capture a division flag, it would’ve been the Oakland A’s of the AL West. Based on the numbers on their player cards, the A’s looked unbeatable: a trio of starters with PB levels of 2-7 (Matt Keough, Alan Wirth, and John Johnson), another three 2-7’s in the bullpen (Dave Heaverlo, Elias Sosa, and Bob Lacey), a squad that consisted of five A and B base stealers, and batting numbers for the starting nine that looked much better than their current fourth place, 51-55 record would indicate. But now, I’m not so confident with my prediction, and the A’s didn’t help themselves much in July by going 12-16, and suffering through a 6-game losing streak in the process.
On a positive note, Mike Edwards, Mitchell Page, Glenn Burke, and rookie call-up Dell Alston all hit over .300 for the month, with Burke leading the way at .337; all four are currently hitting better than .300 for the season, the only Oakland players to do so. Edwards also went 19-1 for the month in stolen base attempts, bringing his SB total to 52, and his steals of second, third, and home in one inning on July 27th was an SP78 first. Slugging DH Rico Carty has 22 home runs on the year, second only to Angels DH Don Baylor’s 30, and the team’s total of 124 stolen bases is third best in the AL. So why are the A’s struggling? Look no further than their pitching staff: starter Keough went 0-5 with a 5.27 earned run average in July, while Pete Broberg went 0-4 with a 7.78 ERA, earning himself a demotion to Vancouver. In addition, three relievers—Steve Renko, Mike Norris, and Craig Minetto—were all saddled with ERA’s over 7.00.
To take a look at the A’s team page and numbers through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.