A's Hope To Finsh Season Strong, Look Ahead To Healthy 2011
Down goes Sheets. Down goes Duchscherer. Down goes Anderson, Sweeney, and Coco. Down goes our playoff hopes.
The Oakland Athletics were once again riddled with injuries and, what looked to be a promising team, became just average. Dropping to one game below the .500 mark with their loss today.
In what has become customary in recent years, the A's placed 19 different players on the disabled list and used it 23 times; placing them just two behind the club record, which was set in 2008 (25 times).
What made things worse, injuries afflicted most of their best players.
Coco Crisp, a new acquisition with an above average bat, tremendous speed and fielding ability, missed almost the entire first half.
Ryan Sweeney, the A's best hitter last season and on pace to have another tremendous year, was sidelined in early July and never returned.
And three of their most talented starters missed major chunks of the season. Brett Anderson missed nine weeks with two stints on the DL. Ben Sheets was sidelined for the remainder of the season in mid July with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. And Justin Duchscherer threw only five starts before his hip failed him again, ending his season.
Not to mention their all-star closer, Andrew Bailey, missed more than a month because of a right intercostal strain.
With all the heartache attached to their physical ailments, the A's have been pleasantly surprised with some of their young talent.
Injury woes in the starting pitching department significantly reduced expectations for the young staff. But once again, they turned out to be their strongest asset.
Everyone remembers Dallas Braden's perfect game against the Ray's in early May, but the rest of the A's staff has been steadily confounding hitters as well.
Their starters have a 3.56 ERA this season, the best in the American League.
Trevor Cahill has emerged as the ace of the staff with a 16-7 record and a 2.84 ERA. There were talks of him being a Cy young candidate until the Yankees helped balloon his ERA by almost half a run a few weeks ago.
Gio Gonzalez has also been a bright spot for the A's. His 14 wins and sub 3.5 ERA has cemented his status as on of their top three starters.
And while Brett Andersen and Dallas Braden were both victim's of the injury bug, they contributed 2.83 and 3.56 ERA's respectively.
The A's offense hasn't had a lot to cheer about, but Daric Barton and Jack Cust's OBP's each hovered around .400 for most of the season.
They also have six starter's with averages with .270 averages or better. It might not be enough to get worked up about, but it's promising.
And if the A's could get a couple more good bats in the off season and keep their players on the field, who knows?
Maybe instead of nipping at the Ranger's heels, they could be looking at them in their rear-view mirror.
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