Offense: At least the offense bounced back big instead of slowly inching itself back to reality. With 11 hits and six runs, Oakland got the job done for the first time in a week. Coco Crisp had three hits; Daric Barton and Steve Tolleson had two hits apiece. A’s hitters walked five times (including three by Conor Jackson alone) and stole four bases. Downside was a 3-for-15 with RISP and 11 runners left on. This was similar to Friday’s game against the Twins, except this time, the A’s won by four instead of losing by one. GRADE: B+
Defense: Dallas Braden cost himself a run with an errant pickoff throw, so that wasn’t good. But Cliff Pennington made a dazzling play on a grounder to end the fifth inning – and it didn’t even make ESPN’s highlight reel. Lame! GRADE: B
Pitching: Braden gave up a single hit through six innings, and he only gave up three hits overall. Like most A’s pitchers in the past week, he lowered his ERA in the process. Unlike the other pitchers, he actually got a win out of the effort. Craig Breslow finally had an appearance without giving up a run, and Michael Wuertz pitched perfectly to get the save. GRADE: A
Coaching: Bob Geren did well to give the night off to a few regulars; sub Tolleson responded to the start well, and when Geren pinch-hit Kevin Kouzmanoff for him, he got a hit, too. Magic! GRADE: A
Overall Game Grade: A- (89.9%). Oakland needed this one, and they played well for the most part. But even when they get a lot of base runners, they don’t score as much as they could because they lack power and the consistent big-hit ability.
Overall Season Grade: B (83.74%). The team is crawling back to .500 now, but it’ll be hard with the Tampa Bay squad coming into town fighting for their own playoff spot. Hopefully, another day game win at the Coliseum on Wednesday is on tap.
A’s Record: 58-60. Gio Gonzalez gets the start today, and hopefully, he ca keep the team’s momentum going. The staff has an ERA well under 1.75 over the last week; they’ve been on a roll, even though the offense has been asleep.
A’s “Should Be” Record: 61-57. The team OPS is .695 right now – there are no words to explain how bad that is for a major-league ball club. If .800 is the mark of a good player, the A’s don’t have too many of those: Jack Cust is the only “regular” with a decent OPS, and he’s only played in 69 of the team’s 118 games. Barton is the team’s best “regular” with a .769 mark, good enough for 38th in the American League.