Posted By Jeff Fletcher on April 22, 2011 1:32 pm
The A’s wasted great pitching again on Thursday night, and it sounded like even the always-optimistic Bob Geren was getting a little frustrated. I am going to do something almost unthinkable: I’m going to try to convince Geren that it’s not that bad.
The A’s right now are hitting .237 and averaging 3.47 runs per game. Their OBP is .302. No sugar-coating it — that’s awful.
However, it’s only been 19 games, which is nothing. Just to prove my point, I looked up last year’s highest scoring team in the AL, the Yankees, and I found that they had a 16-game stretch in which they hit .236 with a .291 OBP, averaging 3.8 runs per game. I am sure that I could find a similarly bad stretch for just every team, no matter how good they ended up being.
All of which is not to say that the A’s really are going to have an offensive juggernaut. They aren’t. I do think, however, that all of the reasons that we believed the A’s offense would be improved are still valid. Don’t go jumping off a bridge without re-reading this, which is where I detailed the reasons the A’s can reasonably expect to be averageish, offensively this year, which is a whole lot better than last year’s awfulish.
Let’s also not forget that they’ve faced the best pitcher in the American League, King Felix, in two of their 19 games. That’s more than 10 percent of the season, at this early date. If you simply take out those two games, their scoring average goes all the way up to 3.8, their average to .245 and their OBP to .312 against everyone else.
Yes, still bad. The point is to show what a difference a few games make in the numbers at this time of year.
There may be a time to panic about the A’s offense, but it’s not now.
Another reason to be optimistic is that the pitching has been good enough to keep them afloat. The glass half-empty perspective is that the A’s should be 13-6 with this pitching, but the other side is that they could be 6-13 with this offense.