The Oakland Athletics had gone 1-6 in their last seven games and they also managed to blow a 5 game lead in the AL West to the Texas Rangers in that time span. While the A’s have not been known for their offense in almost a decade, they managed to hold off opposing pitchers while their own pitching staff picked up the slack. Jarrod Parker, possibly the team’s hottest pitcher was on the mound tonight and after the run supports dialed in, so did he.
Parker hasn’t lost a game since May and is on track to have a double digit winning season again after picking up his 8th win. Bob Melvin must have done or said something special to get the guys on track as they came out swinging tonight leading to back-to-back jacks putting them on top 4-0 in the 1st without recording an out. The A’s finished with 17 hits, 5 being home runs, and 3 coming from an unlikely hero, Josh Reddick. Reddick, who’s offensive numbers have dropped dramatically from last season, took off in the 3rd inning with 3 straight home runs and even had a chance for a 4th in the 8th inning but ended up with a ground out to second.
While their defense has still been appreciated, the entire outfield has under produced this year offensively but with Coco Crisp going 3-5 with a walk, Yoenis Cespedes adding his team leading 18th home run, and Reddick belting 3 home runs, this could kick start another division winning run like last year’s improbable victory. The A’s have got to be one of the most average teams in the league in all offensive respects, not having a hitter over .300, 20 home runs, or 65 RBI’s, but one thing they do well is share the wealth (what little wealth there is).
They may not have an offensive standout this year but with a different player coming through night after night, the team has not been forced to panic as their variety of pitchers have bailed them out as usual, from 40 year old Bartolo Colon to the one-two punch of Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour closing games out better than almost anyone in the league. The pitching has managed to keep the Athletics in 1st place thus far but for them to stay there above the heavy-hitting Texas Rangers, and more importantly make a World Series run, the offense will have to start clicking with the defense and hopefully tonight’s route of the Blue Jays is only just the beginning. Sonny Gray will get his first MLB start tomorrow against veteran Mark Buehrle. Gray has pitched 4 innings of relief work with 6 strikeouts while only giving up 2 hits and no runs.