Series Six Pack: A’s Hole


Have you ever met a Phillies  blog that published its series preview after the series had started?!  I sure haven’t.  But that’s another reason why this blog is just the tits.  Don’t believe me?  Check us out on The Fightins.  Yeah.  That happened.

Anyway, Joseph Lopez from Swingin’ A’s stepped up to provide us with the answers to these clearly tardy questions.  READ THEM.

1.  Don’t you think this series should be hyped up more?  You know, former Philadelphia team versus current Philadelphia team?  I’m sure most people don’t give a shit, but we in Philadelphia tend to heap all of our shit into caring about things that don’t matter.  Like killing raccoons.

Going into the series, I’m not sure too many people are really that interested in seeing the Phillies beat up on a lowly team like the A’s. But on a more serious note, I think it’s kinda neat that this series features a former Philadelphia team and a current Philadelphia team. The A’s originated back in 1901 as a new franchise in the American League, and it all began in Philadelphia. So, to see the A’s make a trip to Philadelphia, where it all started, is pretty cool.

2.  How did the A’s manage to sweep the Giants, despite the Giants being a quirky team of misfits whose camaraderie, shaggy hair, and can-do attitude help them achieve anything?

The A’s were clicking on all cylinders during their series with the Giants, and interim manager Bob Melvin had a lot to do with that. The A’s outscored the Giants 11-5 during the series, and swept the series thanks to their strong starting rotation and timely hitting. The A’s complained about a lack of communication under Bob Geren, but the team found a player’s coach in Melvin. Melvin, who has managed before in the big leagues with the Mariners and Diamondbacks, is regarded as a very good player’s coach. He communicates, and for a young team like Oakland, that’s important. The A’s renewed sense of confidence outweighed the Giants’ shaggy hair in the end.

3.  How detrimental do you see Josh Willingham’s movement to the DL being for the Phillies’ season?

Offensively, the A’s haven’t been impressive this season. The A’s rank 26th in the majors in runs (275), 27th in batting average (.237), and losing Josh Willingham doesn’t help the team. Willingham, while suffering through his worst big league season, led the A’s in home runs (10) and RBI (42) prior to landing on the DL. The A’s are getting some help, however, from a young second baseman named Jemile Weeks. Weeks, Oakland’s first round pick from 2008, has already made an impact on offense, hitting .321 with six RBI through 15 games.

4.  At a recent public speaking event, Billy Beane mentioned that whether or not an NFL team makes the playoffs is highly affected by the number of injuries sustained throughout the season.  With so many other teams catching up to his original strategy, will we start seeing a safety-first campaign instituted by the A’s brass?  A field full of men in Iron Man suits?  Or just guys that are trained not to dive or slide or get in the batter’s box until the pitcher agrees not to throw inside?

Oakland needs to do something to keep their players healthy for an entire season. This past offseason they fired head athletic trainer Steve Sayles, but the A’s still find themselves nursing their players back to health this season. Dallas Braden, who threw a perfect game last year, is out for the season. Young ace Brett Anderson is out for another five weeks or so. The A’s have a lot of trouble keeping their players from visiting the trainer’s room, and injuries are really hurting this organization. Promoting a safety-first campaign isn’t out of the question, as I’m sure the A’s are growing frustrated with all the injuries this year.

5.  People seem to be okay with how Bob Melvin is running things.  On a related note, who is Bob Melvin?

Bob Melvin’s managerial experience includes stops in Seattle as the M’s manager, and in Arizona as the D’Backs manager. Melvin spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons in Seattle. In his first year in Seattle he won 93 games, but missed the playoffs. The following year, the Mariners lost 99 games, and Melvin lost his job. He led Arizona to a NL West title in 2007 with 90 wins, and Melvin was named Manager of the Year in the National League. Before joining the A’s this season, Melvin was working with Arizona as a special baseball advisor.

6.  After their stadium lease expires, do you see the A’s becoming one of those barnstorming, road-only teams?  Or do they find an open lot in San Jose, clear out the broken glass shards, and set up shop, a la The Sandlot?

The A’s current stadium situation is a puzzling one. Fans have grown frustrated with current team owner Lew Wolff’s attempts to relocate the team to San Jose, a territory that belongs to the Giants. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sent a special committee to analyze the A’s stadium situation, but the committee has yet to report their findings. According to Wolff, the team has exhausted all options in Oakland, and San Jose is the only viable location to build a new ballpark. If the A’s aren’t granted permission to move to San Jose, I’m not sure what the team will do.