Monday, June 8, 2009

June is the month of marriages -- and the A's

I was inside the Oakland A’s clubhouse on Sunday and I sensed a calmness. Some guys were playing cribbage. Others were watching TV or listening to country music. And I swear I actually saw Matt Holliday smiling.

It seems the A’s mood always changes in June.

The A’s on Monday owned the longest current winning streak in Major League Baseball. They finally had a winning record at home and, after spending most of May with the worse record in the American League and second worst in baseball (behind the Washington Nationals), the A’s had climbed to the fourth worst record in the AL and the eighth worst overall.

OK, they are still in last place in the AL West but at least they’re closer to first place than the other last-place teams in the other divisions.

Hey, it’s progress and we should know the A’s always seem to hit their stride in June. Since 2002, they have the best record (126-69) in the major leagues in June – 12 games better than the New York Yankee$ over the same period. What’s more, the A’s are doing this year with young pitching. Baby steps. They are the midst of starting four rookie pitchers in succession for the second time this season, the first time they’ve done that since September of 1983.

Defensively, they’re getting better so long as they can hide Bobby Crosby. Jack Hannahan, replacing injured Gold Glover Eric Chavez, has set an A’s record for third basemen by playing errorless ball for 68 games.

If the offense comes around as expected, the A’s could play their way back into the AL West – and keep Holliday smiling.


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