Staggering to the finish line

It seems a bit like cruel and unusual punishment that we have to sit through another seven weeks of the A’s and Giants. The two began Monday a combined 25 games below .500 and a combined 30 1/2 games out of first place. The Bay Area hasn’t seen both of its teams finish below .500 since 1996, and they haven’t been on pace to be so collectively bad since 1979.

As bad as both teams are, however, there are things to watch for.

— Can Dan Haren regain his Cy Young form for the A’s? Haren continues to string together quality starts, but his ERA has risen nearly a point since June 9. On that day, it was 1.58 ; after Saturday’s effort it’s 2.53. That’s still the best in the AL, but the gap between Haren and second place Kelvim Escobar is dwindling. Haren’s ERA has gone up after each of the 11 starts he’s made since he threw seven shutout innings against the Giants on June 9.

Can Barry Zito regain any resemblance of his old form? You gotta wonder if, given the chance to do it all over again, the Giants would’ve left Zito alone to tinker with his wind-up after that first day of spring training. The former Cy Young winner should get about 10 more starts, and I question whether he can get his ERA under 5. Conventional opinion seems to be that Zito will bounce back next season, but that process needs to start now.

— How much will the Giants start to faze out Barry Bonds? If they indeed are intent in moving in another direction, no time like the present than to send that message. On the other hand, he is their most potent offensive player, so if the hope is to finish strong, how do you leave him out?

— Will any more players move? The deadline to trade players who have cleared waivers is 18 days from now, and for the A’s, there already have been reports that Mike Piazza and Shannon Stewart have cleared and could be moved. No such leaks regarding the Giants, but you know general manager Brian Sabean is hoping another sucker like Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield calls.


  • A. Andre

    The A’s aren’t bad (just unlucky this year) and I’ll still watch as many games as I can; but I guess that’s the difference between a fan and a reporter. Go A’s!!

  • Not only are the A’s bad, they are going to continue to get worse this year.

    They seem to have committed to dumping salary for this year. Good examples of this have been Bobby Kielty and Joe Kennedy. The A’s got nothing in return for solid role players. It was just straight salary dumping.

    The only thing to look forward to is some younger players getting the call-up (Dan Meyer just got the call. Hopefully Daric Barton will get the call sooner or later).

  • Solid role players? Surely you jest. Kielty never played and when he did he was just a sad victim of the double play ball, and his constant sliding catches were pointless. I’ll miss the personality, but not the player. And Kennedy was about as much a waste as anyone. Why do you think that they couldn’t get anything in return for them? Because Beane isn’t into shrewd trades? They were taking up space that could be held by better players, and we’re seeing that with Buck and, like you mentioned, soon with a hyped Meyer.
    Let me say that I have no delusions of postseason baseball for the Green and Gold this year, however, it’s going to be fun to see what they can do with the rest of the season. Take a run at .500 ball. If you want solid role players, look at Scutaro and Murphy. They’re taking the opportunity and running with it.

  • So, what’s the deal with trading for a 27 year old 3B prospect? Are the A’s looking to replace Chavy? He has stunk it up since the forearms fell apart.

    Kielty could at least pinch hit in the NL. I do recall him being pretty good against lefties. Also, the DP is more a result of the station to station mentality of the A’s. They have hit into more DPs than any other team (last I checked).

    Kennedy, while not an effective starter, tore it up in the reliever role. I can’t understand why someone in desperate need of bullpen help (i.e. Indians) didn’t throw out a lower level prospect or two for him.

    I think Beane is getting a rep of taking advantage of other teams in trades and people are becoming hesitant to deal with him. His goods weren’t the best this year, but he still could have flipped them for something.