Big Hurt Will Be The Salve For What Bothers The A's

Raymond St. MartinContributor IApril 22, 2008

Two seasons ago, The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas, carried the Athletics offense and led the team to the ALCS.

His presence in the lineup made up for a slumping Eric Chavez and his home run off of Johan Santana in the ALDS began the A's march to a sweep of the Twins that ended when Marco Scutaro celebrated his bases clearing double while the entire stadium chanted his name.

There is no doubt, in this A's fan's mind, that Frank Thomas was not only the A's MVP, but he was the AL MVP.

His 39 homers and 114 RBI were good enough around the League for him to finish fourth in the MVP Race, not to mention 23rd in voting last season when he tallied 26 home runs and 95 RBI.

The 2008 A's, with 20 games in the rear view mirror, are projecting to hit a total of 56 home runs and the addition of Thomas will instantly add another 25 to that number.

The stats that sticks out the most to me are his numbers with runners on base.

As anyone who has followed the 2008 A's knows, they are leading the league with a .321 average with runners in scoring position.

Yet, without power, especially right handed power, the smoke and mirrors may soon disappear. They need a home run threat in the middle of the order, and the Big Hurt is exactly that guy.

Especially when he will make ONLY $300,000 this season. 

In 2007, Frank hit .286 with 11 home runs with runners in scoring position, two of them were grand slams.

In 2006, The Hurt batted .288 with 11 home runs with RISP.

He was at his best with runners on first and third, second and third, and the bases loaded. Even with two outs, he hit .320 with only two strikeouts.

With the bases loaded, he posted a .333 average and had more RBI than AB (16-15).

This exactly what the A's need. It is also exactly what the fans need.

The fans will throng through the turn-styles to see the Hurt chase the all-time home run and RBI leaders.

I felt cheated when Frank hit No. 500 for Toronto last season and I hope that the chase picks right back up when I am at the game on Thursday.

Mike Sweeney and Jack Cust, as much as I like both men, are just not getting it done.

Big Frank will add the power punch that the A's are missing in the middle of the lineup.

Go A's!