After a somewhat disappointing four-game split in Seattle against the lowly Mariners, the Red Sox are in Oakland to take on the Athletics. This west coast road trip was supposed to be an opportunity for the Olde Towne Team to gain ground on their divisional opponents, but only taking two against the M’s has so far disabled them to do so.
The Athletics won’t be any easy task with some of their young arms taking the mound. Throw in a suddenly dormant Sox offense and Boston could find themselves having to scratch and claw their way to victory while in the Bay area. This series will also give us another look at Josh Reddick who was snubbed of an all-star nomination. He continues to hit the ball well in Oakland, reminding Red Sox fans that maybe they shouldn’t have given up on him so soon.
Joseph from Swingin A’s helped us out and answered some questions to give us an inside look at the Oakland squad. He discussed the Reddick deal that happened, the Youkilis one that didn’t with Oakland, the Manny saga and much more. Enjoy!
1. Josh Reddick has been a nice acquisition for Oakland thus far and as of today it looks like the A’s won that trade. Just how good has he been and did he deserve an all-star appearance?
Josh Reddick has been an absolute steal this year for the A’s. Trading away Andrew Bailey
and Ryan Sweeney
, two popular figures in Oakland, was not easy, but the A’s scored huge on Reddick, who leads the club with 18 HR. He’s provided the power (.257 ISO) that Oakland has desperately needed this year. While Reddick’s strikeout rate is high at 23%, he managed to post a 10.3% BB% and has hit .260/.340/.517 this year. He’s produced a 3.1 WAR as well, according to FanGraphs.com
. In short, Reddick was very deserving of an All-Star nod and it was a bit of a surprise to see AL All-Star Manager Ron Washington pass up on Reddick in favor of Oakland’s closer, Ryan Cook
. Make no mistake, however, Reddick has certainly produced this year in Oakland despite playing with an anemic offensive cast.
2. Billy Beane loves Kevin Youkilis, that is no secret. We’re you surprised he didnt pursue him when he was dealt to Chicago?
I’m surprised that Billy Beane passed up on the “Greek God of Walks,” after the Red Sox were rumored to have been shopping Youkilis. Then again, you never know what Beane is thinking. The A’s aren’t really in a favorable position in the AL West with the Rangers and Angels getting better and better, so going after a seasoned veteran like Youkilis would’ve offset Oakland’s go young or go home approach to this season.
3. Brandon Inge‘s name has come up recently as a potential trade piece and the Red Sox could be in on him as insurance policy in the infield. Do you see Oakland dealing Inge? If so, what’s likely to be the asking price?
The A’s like Brandon Inge and for the most part, I see him finishing out the season in Oakland. In 9 games with the Tigers this year, Inge hit .100/.100/.300 with a homer and two RBI. In 41 games with the A’s, Inge is hitting .219/.302/.384 with 6 HR and 34 RBI. He’s in the twilight part of his career, so whatever Oakland manages to get for in exchange for Inge wouldn’t be considerably great. Let the guy finish the season in Oakland so that the A’s can have some
stability at a position Oakland has yet to fill in the post-Eric Chavez
4. The Manny Ramirez era in Oakland never really got off the ground. What was the general reaction from A’s fans? Disappointment or pleasure?
The Manny Ramirez experiment didn’t pan out. That’s unfortunate. The A’s were really hoping, at the start of the season, anyway, that Ramirez would be able to bounce back after missing a year of baseball and help the team score some runs. The prospect of Ramirez and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes
manning the middle of Oakland’s lineup was a grand idea, but unfortunately, Beane’s experiment was a bust. It wasn’t a huge risk to begin with, though, so there shouldn’t be too much disappointment in Oakland.
5. There’s been talk about a fire sale in Oakland with the club at 38-42 and 12 games behind Texas in the division but only 6.5 out of the wild card. What do you feel will happen and what do you think should happen?
The fire sale is coming. The A’s aren’t ready to contend, even for the wild card spot. Oakland’s offense just doesn’t have all the right pieces yet to make a serious run for the playoffs. The pitching has been solid for much of the first half with rookies Tommy Milone
and Jarrod Parker
stepping up to help man the rotation while Dallas Braden
and Brett Anderson
ride the DL. If I had to make one bold prediction about who the A’s are more inclined to trade at this point, I’d say it’s got to be catcher Kurt Suzuki
. The A’s recently called up Derek Norris
and he’s shown early signs of being a capable successor to Suzuki.
Suzuki’s time in Oakland has run its course. He’s been a solid backbone for the team’s defense, with his command of the young pitchers in the organization winning him much praise during his tenure in Oakland. His offense, however, has been a different story. He’s hitting just .208/.246/.257 with no homers and 16 RBI through 65 games this year. Not great, considering he hit .274/.313/.421 with 15 HR and 88 RBI back in 2009. Among the other possible trade candidates are relievers Grant Balfour
and Brian Fuentes
6. Give us an inside look at the three starting pitchers for the A’s this series and what we can expect from them.
The A’s will roll out with Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon
, and A.J. Griffin
for this series against the Red Sox. With Jarrod Parker, the A’s will have a confident rookie out on the mound, who has lived up to his top-prospect hype since arriving in the big leagues. In 12 starts this year with Oakland, the 23-year old has gone 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA. In his only start against Boston this year, Parker went 6.2 innings en route to his first win of 2012, limiting the BoSox to one run on four hits.
Colon, meanwhile, remains a possibility to start on Tuesday. He’s an option since Tyson Ross
was sent down to Triple-A and its been reported that Colon has been showing progress from his oblique injury. He recently completed a bullpen session and the A’s are seemingly confident he’ll be ready to go on Tuesday. In 15 starts this year for the A’s, the seasoned vet has gone 6-7 with a 4.22 ERA.
Griffin, 24, will the get the ball in the finale of the series on Wednesday. The A’s youngster has made two starts this year and has posted a 1.50 ERA over 12.0 innings. He’s also recorded 8 strikeouts to 3 walks. In 8 starts with Triple-A Sacramento, Griffin went 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA over 51.1 innings. The A’s are hoping their solid pitching holds up against the Red Sox during this three-game set.