The Oakland A's came off a home series against the Texas Rangers where the A's couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position. As a team the A's went for 0-30, but somehow were sable to take two games from the Rangers.
With the A's taking two games it seemed like it was going to be a turning point in the season, a step in the right direction so to speak. Winning two games from the Rangers meant there was still a chance at the American League West title and with the A's next series against the Seattle Mariners in Seattle it seemed like an excellent chance for the team to make up ground in the division race.
Instead that didn't happen! Somehow the A's lost two games to the Mariners a team stuck in the American League West cellar. Now it was definitely understandable the A's wouldn't sweep since the A's in the second game faced off against Felix Hernandez.
In the first inning though the A's had a chance to do some damage against Hernandez. With runners on first and second and nobody out Kurt Suzuki came up to the plate and got the A's first hit with runners in scoring position in a long while.
The only problem was Suzuki's ball was hit so hard that Coco Crisp could not score from second base. After that point though Hernandez settled down retiring the next three A's hitters easily.
Regardless of that series there's no better example of just how pathetic the A's offense has been then the first game of the three game series against the Minnesota Twins.
The A's had plenty of opportunities to score and yet only managed to score three runs.
In fact the game started off well with Crisp leading the game off with a single then stealing second on the first pitch to Daric Barton. Suzuki who's been struggling mightily at the plate came to the plate with one purpose get the runners over, but that didn't happen Suzuki struck out swinging on a pitch nowhere near the strikezone.
Jack Cust was able to move the runners to second and third, but that meant the A's needed a hit with two outs. Kevin Kouzmanoff then grounded out to Alexei Casilla who made a nice play to get Kouzmanoff.
Two of the A's runs came in the top of the third inning when Cliff Pennington doubled, Crisp struckout not able to advance Pennington, but with Barton up Pennington stole third because Twins starter Carl Pavano was not paying attention to him. Barton then lined a triple into the right field gap that easily scored Pennington.
Suzuki again came up with a chance to bring a runner home but wasn't able to bring in Barton. Cust came through with an opposite field double driving in Barton and knotting the game up at 2-2.
For the rest of the game the A's had plenty of runners on base but were not able to cash in. The top of the seventh and eighth innings were the best chances for the A's to score some runs and to put the game out of reach.
In the seventh inning Crisp singled, Barton lined out to center, Suzuki singled to left field and was able to get to second while Crisp to third because Delmon Young was not able to catch the ball on a dive.
Ron Mahay came in and relieved Pavano. Cust was pressing a little bit because he got the count to 3-1 and swung at ball four and ended up watching strike three on an excellent pitch on the outside corner from Mahay. Kouzmanoff was robbed of a two run single by Casilla on a nice diving catch at shortstop.
During the top of the eighth Mark Ellis hit an infield single, Rajai Davis hit a single, Chris Carter bounced into a fielders choice leaving runners on first and third with Davis being forced out at second.Pennington came up and worked a walk.
This meant that Crisp was up with the bases loaded and the infield playing back hoping for a double play. The Twins in the game had already used a suicide squeeze and that was a perfect time for the A's to use one.
Instead of at least getting a run Crisp grounded into a double play ending the threat by the A's.
In the top of the ninth inning the A's managed to score a fluke run. Barton lined a ball to Denard Span for the first out of the inning, Suzuki doubled, Cust popped out to shortstop, Kouzmanoff hit a sharp grounder to Casilla who tried to make a backhanded play, but wasn't able to do so which was an error and this allowed Suzuki to score.
Ellis came up again and hit another infield single leaving runners on first and second. Davis had a chance to tie the game but instead of being patient swung at the first pitch from closer Matt Capps and ended up flying out to end the game.
The A's had 14 hits to the Twins five, but in the scoring department the Twins etched out four runs on those five hits and the A's only managed three runs on those 14 hits.
Just further proof that in the offseason the A's need drastic changes at the coaching level starting with Jim Skaalen and moving on to Geren. It comes to a point in time when the players aren't producing that a change must be made.
It's also not like the A's don't have any options to replace Geren, Don Wakamatsu a former A's bench coach could be in line to replace Geren along with Tony Defrancesco the manager of the Sacramento Rivercats.
For hitting coach Carney Lansford would make an excellent addition to the staff. He played over 1200 games for the A's and knows how to hit in the coliseum and he can pass on that knowledge to the hitters.
The other problem with Geren and Skaalen that the team went from preaching patience at the plate to a small ball approach. Meaning manufacturing runs anyway possible whether it's going from first to third on a single, stealing bases, or sacrificing runners over.
Obviously Geren and Skaalen have not bought into that system. There's been other times where the situation dictated that the A's should have been bunting and moving runners into scoring position, yet the A's hitters were still swinging away.
Usually the end result isn't good because of rally killing double plays and until the A's get a manager and a hitting coach to buy into the small ball philosophy the A's will continue to struggle offensively.