TBLA Preview - Oakland A's - Scratching an Inge

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The A's and Mariners have been battling all year for the right to last place in the AL West and right now the A's are losing the battle, but I expect them to triumph in the end.

They even made five excellent moves this winter and they still are going to be a last place team.

  • Signed Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes to a four year deal and for the most part he's done just fine.
  • Traded middle of the road young major league pitcher Trevor Cahill for younger prospect pitcher Jarrod Parker, and I'd say they won that trade.
  • Traded closer Andrew Bailey and right fielder Ryan Sweeney for Josh Reddick and Reddick might just be their all-star.
  • Traded Josh Outman to the Rockies for left handed slugger Seth Smith
  • Signed free agent right handed slugger Johny Gomes

It is tough playing in the AL West where the Angels and Rangers are heads above the next group of competition.

I'm not sure if Mr. Beane put together a rotation that looks toward Jamey Moyer as inspiration or not, but not one of the starters has a K/9 rate higher then 6.68.

1st base - many of these at one time or another had been used by the Loney bashers as examples of someone who could hit better then James Loney. . Brandon Allen got a crack and was released. Kila Ka'aihue has been given 139 at bats. Found wanting. Old stand bye Deric Barton got 126 plate appearances to prove once again he has one skill. In desperation they turned to 28 year old major/minor league journeyman Brandon Moss and guess what? He's rocking. Six home runs in eleven games. Before anyone gets carried away, take note that he hit four of them in three games at Coors. Maybe not as much an indictment of the park as it is of the pitching staff. I suspect by the All-Star game they will be looking for another 1st baseman and TBLA can start talking about how Brandon Moss would be an excellent replacement for James Loney.

2nd base - Jemile Weeks was declared untouchable this past winter after a decent debut season. One wonders if that is still the sentiment after watching his sophomore season? The Weeks brothers have decided take the 2012 season off. Like his brother he can take a walk, like his brother he has above average speed, unlike his brother he has zip for power. The Weeks brothers are good baseball players, their struggles this year makes one wonder what they did this winter.

SS - Cliff Pennington is the starting shortstop.This may never happen again

3rd Base - What is with the A's and Tigers? Last year the Tigers traded Scott Sizemore to the A's, who gave him the job at 3rd base. He responded with a career season putting up a 114 OPS+. For the Tigers his OPS+ was 59 when he was traded. This spring Sizemore went down with a season ending injury and the A's were forced to use catcher Josh Donaldson at 3rd base. Donaldson has made 28 starts and hit one home and driven in seven runs. Five of those RBI's happened in one game. Basically Donaldson made 28 starts and actually hit the ball in one game. I'm not making that up. If you want to win a bet on who has been able to garner over 100 at bats and is the worst offensive player in baseball, bet on Donaldson. So, back to the A's and Tigers. Brandon Inge had a long career as a Tiger but it came to an end this spring when he was hitting .100 in 20 at bats, so he was released. Naturally the A's claimed him and proved that lightening can strike twice. As soon as Brandon donned the A's uniform he started hitting three run home runs. Inge has made 29 starts for the A's and has five games with four runs batted in. Five.

Catcher - Kurt Suzuki should be an Angel his offense is so bad

Right Field - Josh Reddick has been a revelation. He's simply been one of the best right fielders in the AL and deserves to be the A's All-Star selection.

Center Field - Yoenis Cespedes has hit when he's been able to play. His TSL of .273 / .336 / .485 is respectable. We shall find out this week about his defense which statistically looks wanting. I'm not sure if he will play CF in t this series or not. He's had a bad hamstring that has kept him out of games for over a week. He may be eased in as a DH, but he is supposed to play

Left Field - CoCo Crisp - played CF when Cespedes was out and will probably play CF in this series, if not he should be in LF. Overall Coco's numbers are horrible but he has shown signs of life in the past week. In the last eight games he's started his OPS is .891. Colin Cowgill has filled in while both Cespedes and Crisp were hurt. With both of them back I don't expect to see him but he might start one game.

DH - If you ever dreamed of a platoon, you probably dreamed of Seth Smith and Johnny Gomes and so far they are doing exactly what you would have expected. They are basically interchangeable with one putting up an OPS of .830 and the other .850.

Starting Pitching:

This is what you are looking at:

Game One - Brandon McCarthy

Game Two - Tom Milone

Game Three - Jarrod Parker

Bullpen:

Grant Balfour was the closer on opening day and lost that gig to Fuentes who lost that gig to Ryan Cook. Funny how it works but eventually they get the right guy for the gig. This is what they have done in June so far.

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