I thought perhaps the A’s fortunes might change once they headed out on the road against some lighter competition. So where do they go from here? They left Minnesota on Wednesday having been swept in three games by the Twins, whose 18-32 record is the worst in the American League. As much as we talk about the A’s terrible offense — and it has been remarkably poor — what has to be disheartening for this team is that the breakdowns have come in all areas at various times. They got a bit of hitting on Monday only to see the bullpen let them down both Monday and Tuesday. They got a subpar starting effort from Tyson Ross on Wednesday, and the rotation in general has not been as air-tight as it was to start the season. So it’s not just the hitting, although I detail how amazingly bad Oakland’s offensive numbers have been in my game story for Thursday’s paper. The A’s will try to change their luck starting Friday against the Royals (21-28).
I’ll throw this question out there: How much impact do you think Yoenis Cespedes will have when he arrives? He’s supposed to come off the DL for Friday’s series opener. Given where the A’s sit in the standings, should we expect him to make that much difference? What about Manny Ramirez? The A’s have dropped five games in the division over the past 10 days and trail Texas by nine games. It’s still early, but that’s a lot of ground to make up, and I don’t know if the addition of those two hitters can help them jump back in the division race. The Angels are really turning it on, so that’s two teams the A’s have to catch up to.
Here’s something else worth pondering. If Ramirez isn’t brought up soon, and if the A’s continue to sink in the standings, you have to question whether it’s even worth bringing him up at all. If Ramirez is an impact hitter and he’s helping Oakland challenge for a postseason spot, by all means he should be in there. But if the A’s fall out of realistic contention, then he’s simply going to take at-bats away from Seth Smith or Jonny Gomes or Collin Cowgill or some combination of players. And if the A’s aren’t contending, then they need to continue finding out if those players are pieces of the puzzle moving forward. We know that Ramirez probably is not after this season …
–Here’s a piece on the Royals posting their first winning record in May in 12 years. In this notebook, you can read about George Brett finding his dog through Twitter, and a former A’s pitcher who may face his old team Sunday.