The Oakland Athletics announced Tuesday that they would not be calling Manny Ramirez up from AAA Sacramento on Wednesday, May 30. Wednesday is, of course, the first day he is eligible to return from his 50 game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, and is also his 40th birthday coincidentally.
The thought process behind this non-move is that Manny’s swing is not quite back and the A’s brass want to see more out of him before they insert him into the lineup.
My thought process after reading that was, “he must be really awful in AAA if he can’t crack the A’s lineup.”
Oakland’s hitting is atrocious. It has been atrocious all year and will likely continue to be atrocious for the remainder of 2012. Recently it’s been particularly bad with the likes of Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Inge on the disabled list and with the aforementioned Manny yet to make an appearance. And these injuries came at an especially tough stretch of the schedule for the A’s as I pointed out earlier this month.
Before that stretch the A’s were over the .500 mark; now, after a season worst 7 game losing streak where they lost two out of three to the Angels, got swept by the Yankees and lost the first two of three to the bottom dwelling Twins, they have fallen 6 games under .500. They now sit 9 games back of the first place Rangers and 3.5 games behind the Angels who have taken over second place and have recently looked a lot more like the Angels we all expected.
It wasn’t just that the A’s lost; it was the manner with which they lost. They were shut out multiple times, accumulating only one hit twice in that span. The top of the order, thought to be the strength of this team with all the speed provided by Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp, can’t even hit at the Mendoza line. To cap it all off, the A’s have made too many mistakes and blown too many leads late. The latest loss was a three run walk-off job Tuesday night by former Athletic, Josh Willingham. Of course.
With the exception of Josh Reddick (who’s been a revelation and I will be profiling him shortly) the A’s flat out can’t hit. Everyone on the field, in each of the dugouts, in the stands, in an umpire’s uniform, or watching on a TV screen knows it.
On top of all that Brandon McCarthy, the A’s ace has also been on the DL (though he’s expected to return Saturday) so the A’s only strength has also been diminished. It’s been so bad that I find it pretty remarkable that Oakland is only 6 games under .500.
Despite my uplifting attitude towards these series of events, the A’s aren’t out of it just yet. As I mentioned, Cespedes is due back soon (Friday is the target date), Inge was activated this week and Manny could be up within a week. And with the addition of McCarthy and hopefully a healthy Brett Anderson in the second half of the season, the A’s still have a puncher’s chance, but little more.
I apologize for my pessimism, but this decline happened so fast. Fifteen minutes ago, the A’s were hitting walk-off grand slams, then I blink and they are 9 games back of first and 6 games under .500. It got pretty ugly pretty quickly.
Just to be clear, everything, and I really do mean everything, must unfold perfectly for Oakland to right this ship and make a playoff run. It isn’t out of the question but it’s not likely either. The A’s have looked a lot more like the team we expected to see these past few games and a lot less like the team that surprised everyone in April. To turn it around, they have to hit. HAVE TO. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure they can hit much better than what we’re seeing now, unless Cespedes turns into Josh Hamilton… like, yesterday.
I’ve been saying it a lot, but another two weeks should give us a bit more clarity on where the A’s might end up at the end of the season and what they intend to do at the July 31st trade deadline. If they can go on a run with some healthy bodies returning and close the gap between themselves and the Rangers and Angels by mid-June, then Oakland could get rolling again. I wouldn’t necessarily put money on that happening, though.
About the Author
Written by Josh Muller
My name is Josh Muller. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and currently live in San Francisco. I watch sports religiously and organize my calender year to coincide with baseball season. I'm a diehard A's and Warriors fan, love talking sports all day and believe that the words "Opening Day" are the two greatest in the English language.