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1973 A’s knew something about struggling in April

Ken Holtzman, Rollie Fingers and Sal Bando were among the attendees at the 1973 World Series champion A's reunion Friday

You know who knows something about April struggles?

Besides the current crop of A’s, of course.

Well, members of the 1973 World Series championship A’s team are here this weekend, and they lived it.

    After 23 games, the A’s of 2013 are 13-10 with a 4.21 earned run average. The A’s of 1973 were 11-12 with a slightly better ERA of 3.68.

The lesson? Baseball pennants aren’t decided in April. The A’s of 1973 went on to win 94 games and take down the Mets in the World Series. This is not to suggest that the 2013 A’s are going to do the same thing, but struggles in the early going are no indication that they can’t.

“That 1973 team might have been the best of the three straight World Series winners,’’ starting pitcher Vida Blue said before Friday’s game. “(Ken) Holtzman, Catfish (Hunter) and myself each won 20 games.

“But that’s not to say it was easy.’’

It’s not easy for the A’s of 2013, that’s for sure. After a 12-4 start to the season, they’ve won just one of their last six, mostly because the pitching has been off kilter.

“We’re not playing our best baseball right now,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve got to stay positive and expect to win.’’

That’s not as easy to do as all that. Melvin is playing around with his lineup to try and get more offense – Josh Reddick moved back to the No. 3 slot, Jed Lowrie is at second base to get Adam Rosales in at short. Casper Wells is making his first start of the season after being taken off the roster in both Seattle and Toronto.

Difficult stretches are just part of the baseball landscape. The A’s are going to have to fight their way through it. And they are going to have to know that others have done it before them.

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.