Totally biased Philadelphia Phillies vs. Oakland Athletics series preview


Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: Despite what the byline may say, the following preview is the work of Oliver Fisher.

The Phillies have gone back to playing rather awful baseball again. The offense has gone completely dead, which is partly to be expected with the constant line-up changes, but these games aren’t necessarily about mounting a challenge for a .500 record. Rather they need to use the remaining games as an opportunity to experiment.

After narrowly taking two of three from the Marlins while scoring just seven runs in the series, the Phillies proceded to lose three of four against the equally poor San Diego Padres. The opener featured yet another shut out of the Phillies offense.

Continuing the West Coast trip, the Phils have a tough three-game set against the Oakland Athletics.

The last time they met

It’s the first meeting between the teams this season. The last meeting was a series at Citizens Bank Park in June 2011 in which the Phightins’ took two of three..

What’s new with the Athletics?

Yoenis Cespedes

. Image Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Quite a lot considering its been three years since we last played them. To sum up the Athletics season: Super hot start, Billy Beane madness, question marks. The Athletics were part of the blockbuster trade that saw outfielder Yoenis Cespedes leave for Fenway Park, and ace Jon Lester (on the mound in game one) arrive at the Coliseum.

Having just been swept by the Rangers (a real rarity), the Athletics stand at 83-69. This is still a good record, but far from the number one spot in the power rankings they held previously.

Josh Donaldson: a star from the wilderness

Josh Donaldson. Image Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The emergence of Donaldson as the Athletics primary offensive producer has been pleasing for A’s fans. He leads the team in home-runs with 27, RBIs with 95, and hits with 146. With a .255 average and a .340 OBP, Donaldson has produced, plain and simple.

Starting pitching preview

A quick look at the scheduled starters for the series over the weekend.

Jon Lester

The hard throwing left hander has been up and down in his last ten starts. Despite being 15-10 on this year, he isn’t considered particularly elite. He has conceded at least 2 runs in in seven of his last ten outings, but he’s only lost three of those starts, thanks to a productive offense,

Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz. Image Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The ex-Rockies lefty has been impressive this season, going 5-4 with a 2.53 ERA. His last start was August 27th, where he pitched 5.1 innings conceding one (unearned) run.

Scott Kazmir

Kazmir has picked up 14 wins this season, despite a fairly average 3.44 ERA. In his start against Texas on the 16th, he gave up six runs (four earned), compounding what has been a poor last ten starts in which he has gone 3-7.

Reasons for optimism

The Phillies surely have to start scoring soon, and they may be able to take advantage of a shaky Kazmir, and maybe even exploit Pomeranz.

Reasons for pessimism

Sep 8, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman

Maikel Franco

(7) hits a single during the eighth inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are experimenting with the lineup against three solid starters. It will be interesting to see how the likes of  Maikel Franco copes with such good pitching.


Going with heart over head, I’m saying the Phillies take the middle game of the set, but lose the other two games to Lester and Kazmir respectively.

Who knows, maybe the Phillies take advantage of a disheartened (having just been swept) Athletics team and take the set, but even then, my head leans more towards getting swept than that possibility.