Oakland “Raiders” Way Back into Hunt

“Listen up, Lunk Heads! The A’s won a game by 21-3 over the Angels last night! ~ If we can’t do better than that this weekend playing football, we are going to be the unfunny laughing stock of Oakland, California!”

Winning big at home by the football score of 21-3 over the LA Angels on Thursday, the Oakland A’s have battled back to within 3.5 games of the Houston Astros in the AL West with only nine games left on the schedule. Maybe a closer look at the A’s bench would have revealed that A’s manager Bob Melvin had drafted Oakland’s NFL Raiders skipper John Gruden as his baseball bench coach for a miraculous stretch run.

We Astros fans hope not, but we also hope that what the A’s did yesterday at least rings a bell that’s loud enough to awaken our own offense against the Angels, who had to take that beating Thursday before getting on a plane and flying to Houston for the rested Astros’ final 3-game home series of the 2018 season, starting tonight. With any luck, our guys could run into some tired Angel bullpen arms. It also will not register well either if we fall back into our often seen home range of a 0 to 2 runs game at home.

It’s also important that our Astros start making an offensive statement of their own. The season ends a week from this coming Sunday on November 30, 2018. This is no time to lose our grip on this always rare opportunity.

And left’s face it. If the Astros win it all again this year, they are going to have to do it without their ordained offensive trinity of Altuve, Springer or Correa having the kind of lights out year they each enjoyed as young and uninjured players. You know the story. All have been injured this year and none have played as well this season, either before or after getting hurt. Altuve probably will finish in the low .300s; Springer seems headed for the .260s, about 13-18 points down from last year; and Correa is off the cliff down, with an average of .238 – or .077 points down from his final total of .315 in 2017. Correa has the kind of back injury that will keep him from recovery until (if or when) he regains the flexibility to reach those low outside pitches that the league now knows he can no longer reach in time.

Other than that, Bregman, Gurriel, Gonzales, White, Reddick, Gattis, McCann, and Kemp all need to pick up the tempo of the lost offense that took us all the way last year. It would be a double shame to lose because we couldn’t offensively support the great pitching staff that Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has put together this year. 

The lack of an early offense has been really rough on Astros starters. Too often, our starters have been forced to high pinch count their ways through five qualifying innings, just to hang in the hunt for a 1-0 or 2-1 win, if the lead holds. Other times, when the low one-run difference favors the other team early, the departing Astros starter just gets hung with the loss. With a steadier stream of high early scoring, this 2018 Astros club could have 2 to 3 guys closing in on 20-win seasons, instead of none.

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Thru Games of Thu., 9/20/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .334

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .331

3. Trout • LAA ~ .317

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .315

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Thu., 9/20/18:

Houston (Did not play.)

Oakland 21 – LA Angels 3.

Seattle (Did not play.)

Texas (Did not play.)

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Fri., 9/21/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

95

57

.625

 —-

Oakland

92

61

.601

   3.5

Seattle

84

68

.553

 11.0

LA Angels

75

78

.490

 20.5

Texas

64

88

.421

 31.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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