Carlos Gonzalez slams A’s; Carter, Weeks picked for Futures Game

A story in today’s Denver Post has a very interesting quote from former A’s prospect Carlos Gonzalez, now playing for the Colorado Rockies, who visit the Coliseum this weekend. Gonzalez, of course, was shipped to Colorado along with pitchers Huston Street and Greg Smith in exchange for Matt Holliday during the offseason.

“I think we have more talented players and a better team (than Oakland),” Gonzalez told the paper. “I know what it’s like to play over there. Here we expect to win every game. I think we are going to do fine against them.”

I guess you could say the kid’s not afraid to speak his mind. Gonzalez has been good with the glove, playing mainly left field, but he’s hitting just .180 in 50 at-bats.

–You might have seen Baseball America released the rosters for the Futures Game to be played July 12 in St. Louis. The A’s will be represented by first baseman Chris Carter and second baseman Jemile Weeks. Carter is having an excellent season at the plate for Double-A Midland. Weeks has been on a tear for Single-A Stockton after injuries that delayed the start of his season …


The Second Half

A few very quick thoughts before the A’s commence the second half with their final visit to Yankee Stadium:

— Huston Street will be the next one out the door. This is pure speculation, based on nothing other than what the A’s already have done this season. Can’t imagine Street’s value getting much higher than it is now, and clearly, the A’s have made the decision internally that they don’t think they’ll win this year. Among the teams that could use a closer or additional set-up guy: The Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals.

— Justin Duchscherer will finish the season here, but don’t be shocked if he’s sent packing over the winter. Personally, I would hate that move — I love watching guys who can’t light up a radar gun pitch as effectively as Duke has — but again, it gets back to value, and Duchscherer’s may be at its peak.

— The A’s need to be very careful about the workoad they give to Dana Eveland and Greg Smith. No reason to pile on innings for these young arms.

— A .500 season is very doable, still. But it shouldn’t be, nor it will be, a primary focus of decision-making.

— Finally, a little late for this, and some obvious choices, but my first-half awards go to:

MVP: Justin Duchscherer. 

Biggest disappointment: Daric Barton.

Most pleasant surprise: Bobby Crosby, for staying on the field. P

rospect who impressed me the most: Carlos Gonzalez.

Prospect I didn’t expect to be this good: A tie between Ryan Sweeney and Greg Smith.

Won’t be blogging again til Sunday. Talk to you then.




Another bad Street

A’s closer Huston Street has just given up another mamoth blast to a left-hander. This time, it was Cleveland’s Travis Hafner, and I’m not sure if the ball has landed yet. That’s three dingers in three innings off him this season, all by left-handers. David Ortiz and Brandon Moss got him earlier.

Who else is wondering how this will play out?


Lit Street

Anybody out there alarmed by the first impression Huston Street has left? As the A’s brace to begin their first non-Boston series of the season tonight against the Boston Red Sox, Street’s struggles are just as much a concern, if not more, than the quiet offense.

Street has allowed home runs in two of his three appearances this season and has allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings (he’s blown his only save chance). Wish I could say it’s a surprise that both of the long balls have come against lefties (David Ortiz and Brandon Moss), but it’s not. Lefties hit Street regularly down the stretch last season, and four of the five homers he allowed in his 50 innings came against left-handed swingers.

The other thing that’s concerning is Street’s appearance against left-handers. He just doesn’t appear confident against them. It’s a subtle thing, but some scouts have picked up on it, and I would imagine fans are starting to notice it, too.

This is an issue that bears watching.


Street signs?

Several years ago, went to a Giants home opener at Candlestick Park and wandered into the upper deck to meet a buddy. It was an hour before game time, and he was on the edge of his seat, the heart about to pump out of his chest.

“This game,” he said, “is gonna set the tone for the whole season.”

I bring this up, because Huston Street may be in for a brutal 2008 if that theory applies. He’s just been raked for a two-run double by Manny Ramirez, the capper on an Opening Night in which he’s blown a save and now given up a tie. Just what you want, especially when you’re team is supposed to be one of the league’s dregs.

If nothing else, the A’s are going to find out just how mentally tough Street is, because this was a brutal one. Street is as sound as they come in that area, probably because his old man was a football star at Texas and passed on knowledge of failure as well as success.

Still, you have to wonder where this will lead. On that night in Candlestick, the late Dan Quisenberry blew a lead late and proceeded to have a miserable year.