The Oakland A’s have lost seven of their last eight games and are now tied for first place with the Angels in the American League West. Just last week the Athletics owned a 5.5 game lead over the Angels.
What’s to explain this recent slump for the Oakland A’s? Many will answer simply that the overall offense just plain isn’t hitting, especially with men on base, which would be partially correct to say. Yesterday the A’s did not get a single base hit with runners in scoring position, but there’s a deeper explanation as to the main reason why the Athletics’ offense has been struggling as of late: Coco Crisp.
The A’s spark-plug lead off hitter, and key to their offense is batting a mere .108 over his last 10 games, and over the last month Crisp is batting just .113 with a .219 on base percentage.
Crisp is usually so good at getting on base because of his keen eye of the strike zone, his ability to work the count, his ability to take a walk, and his ability to work a count to his favor to see a good pitch to hit. Lately though, Crisp has not done any of that.
With Crisp in a big slump right now, other A’s hitters will need to step up to help jump-start the offense. Jonny Gomes and Brandon Moss must be those two players to step up their games. Both players have not been hitting well either and are the two other major keys to the Athletics’ offense.
Gomes isn’t going to replace the ability of Yoenis Cespedes in the Oakland A’s lineup or left field, but there is still a lot of pressure on him from management and fans to at least step up his game a bit to a worthy enough level to be Oakland’s starting left fielder.
Since he was traded to the A’s, Gomes has batted just .211 and he actually has a negative (-0.1) WAR (wins above replacement) value.
Moss is another key to the A’s offense. He’s been streaky all season and recently has fallen into another funk. He has remained homer-less the whole month of August (last home run was July 24th) and only has four RBI’s this month.
If the Oakland A’s want to start winning again soon their key players are going to have to start hitting again. Crisp must find ways to get on base, Gomes must get base hits, and Moss has to start driving in runs from the number four spot in the lineup. You can only rely on your pitching for so long before there is too much pressure to be perfect on the mound every game.
When a pitcher knows their offense isn’t scoring they try to be too fine with their pitches. That leads to mistakes and starts to wear out the arms of the pitchers in the most important part of the season. With a team that is mostly based off of a great starting rotation, that could be all kinds of bad news.