Missing A's!

By Jason Wojciechowski on June 22, 2004 at 5:05 PM

I'm not panicking like some people are, but I'm a little tired of the A's losing at this point.

Only scoring three runs against John Lackey and Scot Shields is ugly. Only making Lackey throw 108 pitches in eight innings is ugly. Not drawing a single walk all game is ugly. Managing just a pair of doubles as the "power" side of the offense is ugly. Giving up ten runs over the last four innings of the game is ugly. Giving up four spots in the fifth and eighth is ugly. Having the only reliable bullpen pitcher give up four runs in two innings is ugly. Batting a guy with a sub-.400 slugging percentage in the three hole is ugly.

So you pretty much get the idea, there was a lot of ugliness last night, and that's just looking at the box score. Rich Harden was good early and bad late, throwing a scoreless four innings before blowing up in the fifth and sixth. Ricardo Rincon did his job, but Justin Duchscherer and Chad Bradford allowed more Anaheim runs to cross. This is new for Duchscherer, and it's kind of due, because he's no Eric Gagne, but it's starting to be old hat for Bradford. Maybe it's time to switch to the other arm. His right arm probably can't go any lower.

It looks, from scanning the box, that the one positive I can take from last night's game is that Chone Figgins was held hitless. The dangerous Chone Figgins. The key to the Angels offensive gameplan, Chone Figgins.

On the other hand, this hardly dooms the A's season. Last night's game does not display the need for ridiculous moves like trading for Carlos Beltran, then flipping him for Guillermo Mota.

The Oakland offense this year, while it certainly looks better than last year's version, is of a type made familiar to be by Baseball Prospectus: a bunch of guys who aren't really doing a lot to put runs on the board, but who aren't so bad that they're easily replaceable. The only easy move, in my mind, would be to stop playing Damian Miller. The man has gotten his at-bats, so let him cherish them on the bench while Adam Melhuse does his Dave Nilsson impersonation.

Maybe the A's have done some internal research that shows that Damian Miller is actually important to their pitching staff. It's doubtful, though, because the public studies that have been done have shown that there's little evidence that a catcher has much effect on the pitching of his battery-mates. Besides which, Miller's clearly not doing all that much to help the bullpen out.