Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A's are most disappointing team in baseball so far

I honestly thought the Oakland A’s would be relevant this year.

They made a great trade in the offseason to acquire Matt Holliday and then signed free agents Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra, veterans who brought the kind of personality and presence the A’s have lacked in recent years. With a young pitching staff, the A’s seemed more interesting to me than the Giants.

But here we are in May and the A’s are last in the American League in batting average (by 30 points!), last in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and even on-base percentage, which is the staple of Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” philosophy. Yes, the A’s have been extremely hard hit by injuries but, at last look, Holliday was hitting .223, Giambi was hitting .218 and Jack Cust had almost three times as many strikeouts as RBIs. The only A’s everyday player playing up to par or exceeding expectations so far is catcher Kurt Suzuki.

Yet, no one seems to be complaining. C’mon. This is America! We complain about everything.

Maybe there are more A’s fans griping about the Sharks nowadays than the A’s. Or maybe A’s fans just don’t care enough, resigned to the fact that their team will be moving to a new home anyway. Or maybe we have to wait until Memorial Day to be reminded about the A’s.

What gives? I mean the Giants knew coming into this season that they would have a tough time scoring runs and they have and they have still been roundly criticized by fans and media. There was talk that manager Bruce Bochy could be fired.

The A’s, meanwhile, were supposed to have an easier time scoring runs and they haven’t yet I don’t sense the same kind of anger and frustration being heaped on the A’s as the Giants. Not even close. Bob Geren’s job appears safe.

Based on expectations coming into this season, the A’s probably have been the most disappointing team in the major leagues thus far. They’re in last place in their division, only the Washington Nationals have won fewer games than Oakland and the AL West leaders are the Seattle Mariners, managed by former A’s bench coach Don Wakamatsu.

Given the A’s have pitched much better than anticipated (third in the AL in earned run average) one might have thought they’d be in first place by now. Instead they are, well, irrelevant.


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