A New Low Point For the A’s

San Diego cruisin

The Oakland Athletics fell to 22–45 after a 2–0 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. It was a new low point for an A’s team that is on pace to have their worst record since the 1979 season. It was their second consecutive loss to the Royals, who, like the A’s, don’t have many winning aspirations this year. What’s even more disappointing is that the A’s have only been able to scratch together one run in these two defeats. The offensive ineptitude is becoming difficult to watch. Saturday’s action only featured two hits from the A’s lineup. Of course, in this season development is going to outweigh results for this A’s team. However, all A’s fans have got to be wondering when they are going to start seeing results, and from who?


Ramon Laureano

The only way to start with a positive is to talk about Ramon Laureano. Laureano has shown some flashes of consistency through his first 37 games of the year. The right-hander is batting .244, to go with 32 hits and ten doubles. He may in fact be the only member of the A’s lineup to provoke some sense of fear from opposing pitchers. This being said, we have seen Laureano perform better before. In 123 games in 2019, he hit .288, to go with 29 doubles and 24 home runs. This was an A’s team that was much better than the current one, thus allowing Laureano to see better pitches. We’re now in the next stage of Laureano’s career though. In this next stage, he’s going to be tasked with the opportunity to lead a team. A really bad one, in fact.


Strong Leadership

Laureano is the perfect guy for this role. A guy that can lead by example on the field, while also providing energy for the team. Last week Laureano was ejected in a game against the Cleveland Guardians while arguing a balk non-call. Moments later he can be seen yelling in the A’s dugout, a message that essentially seemed to be him saying “let’s go guys.” The A’s ended up picking up a rare victory in this one, which snapped the team’s ten-game losing streak. In Game Three of the 2020 ALDS against the Houston Astros, the A’s picked up a come-from-behind victory. After the game, many A’s players referenced a fiery Laureano in the dugout as a reason that led to the comeback.

It’s this fire that Laureano brings to the table, that can’t be taught. Every team needs someone to have it, or the dugout goes flat. These players are always more valuable than a box score could indicate. The good thing about Laureano is that he’s not scared to contribute on the stat sheet either.


The Pitching Staff

The pitching staff was able to hold up earlier in the year. Since its’ early-season success, the rotation along with the bullpen has faltered. The team now holds a 4.42 ERA. The A’s ERA ranks 24th in the big leagues. Teams have also been batting .256 against the A’s, which places the A’s staff as fifth worst in this category. Paul Blackburn has remained as the rock of the A’s rotation. The right-hander is 6–2, with a 2.26 ERA.

Where the team has run into big trouble as of late is in the bullpen. Lou Trivino, a guy who used to be a consistent part of the A’s pen, hasn’t found his form after starting to struggle late last season. In 24 appearances this year, Trivino has an 8.66 ERA. Trivino’s season seems to be going synonymous with the A’s, which have each reached a new low point.

The A’s closer Dany Jimenez has also reached a new low point after a strong start to the season. Jimenez, much like Trivino, is having issues with limiting damage. Lately, it seems as though Jimenez is trading scoreless outings for ones where he gets absolutely blown up. These kinds of tendencies aren’t sustainable for those looking to hold the closer position. Just ask Trivino.


Kaprielian’s Struggles

Among the many disappointment’s the A’s have faced this year, James Kaprielian’s struggles may be one of the headliners. Kaprielian was coming off a very good season, where he had an 8–5 record, to go with a 4.07 ERA. This year the right-hander can’t seem to get a quality start, nor a win. Kaprielian is 0–4 this year, with a 6.31 ERA. His last start came on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox, where he wasn’t able to make it out of the fourth inning, officially reaching a new low point. A’s manager Mark Kotsay said command issues were the main factor that led to the bad outing in Boston. Kaprielian’s next scheduled start is set to be against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, where he will be looking to get his first win of the season.


What Comes Next?

The A’s  won their next game against the Royals on Sunday by a final score of 4–0. They were able avoid the sweep. The Mariners will head to Oakland next for a three-game set. The A’s will then travel to the midwest to complete their season series with the Royals. The team will then head to the east coast for a date with the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees.

The A’s awful season has reached a new low point. If the team is going to climb out of the hole it’s in it’s going to take a collective effort. Losing two straight games to one of the worst teams in baseball isn’t encouraging, but the A’s will get a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday. Jared Koenig is set to make his third career start for the A’s. He will go up against Brady Singer, who has slowed down this year after a hot start. All it could take is a great start from Koenig to get the team going. It would be a much needed win for a team that’s in dire need of one.



Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/Managers Mentioned:

Ramon Laureano, Paul Blackburn, Lou Trivino, Dany Jimenez, James Kaprielian, Mark Kotsay, Jared Koenig, Brady Singer