Oakland A’s Finally Show Their Real Potential Against Giants

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Despite Melvin’s Continuing Mistakes

Oakland A’s Finally Show Their Real Potential Against Giants

On paper, the Oakland A’s lineup may be better than the Giants, at least in their current state. Kris Davis, Danny Valencia, Josh Reddick, Billy Burns,Billy Butler, Steven Vogt, Simeon and Coco Crisp are all proven hitters.  While each team still scraping around the .250 mark, the A’s have three hitters with more than 10 homers. The Giants have none. And, the A’s have guys like Burns, Butler and even Simeon and Davis who could be doing better playing more aggressively like the 2013 A’s  when they won the division playing small, patient ball ala the Kansas City and the Giants.

Seems the ‘small ball’  got away from them until recently. Maybe watching the Giants.  Where the Giants have somehow gotten the most of their .250 team hitting – mostly due to pitchers pitching over their heads and timely hitting (and not striking out-however they do that) – the A’s have been giving games away  with uninspired play – until now.

 

bruce bochy and bob melvin

Giants’ BRUCE BOCHY, A’S BOB MELVIN- Both Over-rated?

MELVIN MUST GO WITH THE ‘HOT HAND’

Much of the blame must go to Manger Bob Melvin. As good as he is with players – and he DID manage well before, taking the team to the playoffs-  things have slipped and the A’s went into a ‘losing culture.’ Hopefully they’re back out of it for good.

Even in beating the Giants in the first two games of the series, they had some luck, with a key error by Giants third baseman Connor Gillespie. But the A’s should have had the game handily after jumping to an 8-5 lead. First,  instead of bringing in a hot  hand like Marc Rzepczynski, Melvin brings in a slumping John Ashford who proceeds to give back the three run lead. Only THEN does he bring in Marc Rzepczynski , when it’s  almost too late – but he gets away with it thanks to a clutch homer by Jake Smolinski.  (This is where an over-rated Giants manager, Bruce Bochy,  is better. He is not hesitant to bring in the right pitcher at the time – even if he has a tendency to bring in too many pitchers for too short appearances. It cost him like last night when closer Santiago Casilla ran out of gas – and it would cost him more if other teams played smarter and wore down his pitchers to get to the short bullpen. And, Bochy also left in Javier Lopez much too long, perhaps also due to running out of pitchers. But, give the As partial credit for causing that.)

Then, second mistake is that he leaves in Marc Rzepczynski  , a one hitter specialist, to face not one but several hitters.  Marc gets the first two out quickly then begins to struggle and gives up key hits that lead to more Giants runs. Third mistake, as if he’s really trying to lose the game, he brings in young Zach Neal with his 8.04 ERA.  The A’s pitching may have been short handed but they still had better relievers on the bench such as Fernando Rodriguez.  Somehow – thanks to their hitting and not the managing – the A’s won the game this time.   Finally, Melvin’s fourth mistake of the game was leaving in Ryan Madsen-normally a one inning pitcher who had pitched three of the last four days and hadn’t pitched a second inning all season- for an extra inning, in which he gave up two homers, not surprisingly, in the ninth. I began thinking I was watching Melvin’s predecessor nightmare of a manager, Bob Gehren. Lucky for the A’s , they had a big enough cushion to hang on.  It should have never been that close. At least Four (pitching) mistakes by Melvin in this game. You gotta know when to hold them and when to fold them,.

 

GIANTS   BEATABLE

The A’s have been noted more for their pitching than hitting, by far, but the hitting has caught up and surpassed the pitching. Hopefully the A’s can continue to grind out at bats and build runs as they did June 27 and 28 against the Giants. Right now, at least, they have a better lineup than the Giants, in our opinion.  The young pitchers are good , too – good enough to win with smarter managing.  The A’s have one of the better hitting coaches, Curt Young, but maybe the losing mentality has gotten to them. Look to see things change and the A’s pull out the series.

Giants third  starter, Jeff Smardja, has come back down to earth.  I would expect Peavy and Cueto to also drop off to last year’s numbers – unless they’re getting some chemical help, as their increased velocity and numbers might indicate. Other than that, the Giants have a very average team. They only have one starter hitting .300 and their super-star , Buster Posey , is only hitting .280 with eight homeruns, less than three other players on the team.  I don’t expect Brandon Belt  and Angel Pagan to continue hitting  anywhere near .300. We’ve already seen last year’s magic men, Duffy and Panik , come back down to earth. But, now, as always, new guys come out of nowhere to hit big on the Giants – this year it looks like Connor Gillespie, who somehow has suddenly raised his average .100 points in the past couple weeks.  But, that’s a whole different issue – how players come up from the minors or from other teams to suddenly over-perform with the Giants. We’ll just say that it took SIX PED players for the Giants to win their three World Series  and without Torres, Cabrera, Morse and others who played  timely roles, the Giants would probably not have won any of those World Series, in our opinion.

The Giants right now have two solid starting pitchers – and that’s about it.  They have no solid closer anymore and no bonafied power hitter. How they’ve run up  their league leading winning record may have something to do with wearing down the opposing pitchers may have something to do with not striking out, in our opinion.  Even with average hitting, they’ve been able to do just that, wear down pitchers by running up counts and putting balls in play and eventually winning games.  As ex-Giant and A Eric Byrnes says in his new book, one of the key benefits of PEDs is that it helps a batter see the pitch as well as improving hand-eye coordination.  Not to accuse anyone of being on PEDs but it is an interesting question how the Giants have been able to  win so many games with so little -and based on thier history and PED culture of 26 indicted players since Barry Bonds, one has to wonder, in our opinion. The A’s seem to have more talented hitters with real track records  and can ‘grind’ down opposing pitchers naturally, as they did a few years back in Melvin’s first seasons with the team

 

SPINNING STAR

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