By Jason Wojciechowski on September 14, 2005 at 1:35 PM
From the fan's/analyst's standpoint, here's the problem with September baseball: there's nothing for us to do. The A's are struggling, particularly on offense, but there's no point in straining our brains to come up with bright ideas for trades or call-ups or anything else because they can't be implemented.
Calling for Dan Johnson earlier in the season made us all feel smart because he came up and immediately started out-hitting Scott Hatteberg. Calling for a higher-leverage role for Huston Street makes us look good when he turns into a serious Rookie-of-the-Year candidate. Pushing for the trade for Joe Kennedy makes us feel fuzzy inside because he's been pretty good out of the bullpen.
But what are we supposed to do now? Ask for Daric Barton? It isn't going to happen. Demand that the A's spend some money and trade for a big bopper? Obviously not. So we, particularly the bloggers, sit on our hands, unable to type anything constructive or useful, and watch as the A's sink into oblivion for the second straight year.
It's particularly hard because Oakland's current futility can so easily be laid at the feet of injury. Bobby Crosby's hurt, and it seems like he's the key to the lineup (he's not, but it seems like it). In addition, Joe Kennedy has been yanked from his spot in the bullpen because of Rich Harden's shoulder. That both of these young cornerstones have been hurt twice this year is worrisome in the utmost. Oakland has little margin for error with its moderate payroll compared to the powerhouse Angels, and they can't afford to be one of the league leaders in payroll lost to injury, or days lost to the DL.
You have to think it's a fluke, though, because Oakland's never had injury problems like this before, particularly from its pitchers. Sure, Tim Hudson would strain something in his torso every once in a while, and Mark Mulder had some back problems, but a shoulder? An Erubiel Durazo elbow? Those are the injuries that make me fear that the A's have fallen off the head of the curve in injury prevention, or even that they were never ahead of the curve in the first place, just lucky.