The streak is now at 8…Losses that is
The Oakland Athletics season is beginning to unravel like a poorly written Lifetime movie titled A Crime of the Heart – The Killing of the Athletics Wild Card Chances starring Brian Austin Green as Billy Beane or something like that. An 8 game losing streak has edged this years team to the precipice of the vast under .500 MLB abyss and even this year’s incarnation of bad, the Minnesota Twins, were able to sweep the A’s in this last series. A familiar name many A’s fans wanted to retain from last year’s team, Josh Willingham, was the main culprit of Oakland’s beatdown in Minnesota. Willingham ended the series going 4 for 11 & a BA of .363 with 2 HR’s, 7 RBI’s in the recent 3 game set.
Willingham’s biggest blow to the A’s came in Tuesday nights game with the A’s leading 2-0 in the bottom of the 9th and looking to snap the losing streak at 6. Instead, with 2 on and 2 outs and a 1-0 count, Brian Fuentes missed on locating a 91 mph fastball and Willingham jumped all over it and put the game to bed with a game winning walk off home-run. The next day he single-handedly killed any hopes of stopping the losing skid by going 2-4 with 1 HR and 3 RBI’s. Let’s just say that if Willingham had any axe to grind with the A’s not signing him to an extension, he went ahead and got his 10 lbs of flesh out of this series.
I bring up Willingham because he was the free agent that the Oakland Athletics let get away this off-season when they were unloading contracts and players like a UPS truck. Willingham all but wanted to stay in Oakland with an extension but was never offered one by the A’s even though he was one of the only bright spots on a wretched A’s line-up last year. He ended last year with 29 HR’s, 98 RBI’s, .246 BA, .477 SLG%, and .810 OPS. Instead the A’s gave that money to Coco Crisp since someone had to get a contract and Crisp has delivered in spades on the signing by hitting a gargantuan .178, a SLG% of .198, an OBP of .231, and an OPS of .430. Let me know when you’d like me to stop.
Now some would say, last year’s stats and lack of outfield depth may have dictated that Coco was the man to keep because of his 49 SB & 140 hits & the fact that someone needed to be kept after the A’s went out and got rid of anyone of note last off-season. Talk about being at the right place at the right time for a brand spanking new contract. But I would like to throw out a conspiracy theory that’s been the main reason for Coco’s current disaster of a hitting slump. I think that weird Inner Ear infection was more sour grapes about losing his starting CF spot to Cespedes at the beginning of the season than actual infection. Just think, how can you express your displeasure about something after being the only player to get a big contract during the off-season? Have some weird ear ailment that can’t really be tested but still gives you an excuse not to play since you didn’t want to play in Left field. I would have much rather Coco go the Aubrey Huff route and blame it on anxiousness because at least I can give that more merit and talk myself into thinking that the new contract & pressure to perform was why Coco was going so bad this season.
Then you start to wonder if Willingham would have been a better signing this off-season and let’s just say you should put away any objects that can be thrown across the room . Both are making around the same amount of money with Willingham set to make $7 million this year while Coco is making $6 million and Willingham’s offensive numbers this year would be going a long way to make the A’s Offense far more digestible. Also factor in the A’s signing of Cespedes in the off-season, and an outfield of Willingham in LF, Cespedes in CF, and Josh Reddick in RF might have been a pretty damn formidable.
At this point, there is no use crying over curdled whole milk but if Coco doesn’t get on track soon and start contributing in the line-up an 8 game losing streak may be the least of the A’s worries. The A’s are off today but start a 3 game series in Kansas City to end this hellacious road trip with the hopes of Cespedes coming back on Friday and maybe even Manny Ramirez making an appearance. Let’s just hope it’s not to late to turn things around or the pre-season pundits crowing about a 90-100 loss season may start to lick their chops at their visions becoming reality.
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