Mazzaro stars again in A’s win over Royals
Offense: Oakland registered ten hits on the day, and the hitters drew twice as many walks (six) as strikeouts (three). Throw in three home runs, and it was a banner day for the A’s hitters. Even though the gang was only 2-for-9 with RISP, they still scored nine runs. Strangely enough, it could have been more as former A’s catcher Jason Kendall – who couldn’t have thrown out his grandmother on the basepaths when he was with the A’s in 1997 – threw out three base runners on steal attempts. Go figure. GRADE: A-
Defense: Kevin Kouzmanoff made his eighth error of the year, which resulted in an unearned run in the Royals’ five-run ninth. Vin Mazzaro made a nice pick-off to nail a runner trying to steal third base, though. GRADE: B+
Pitching: Mazzaro delivered another good start, before the bullpen imploded in the ninth inning. Brad Ziegler had a 6.57 ERA in June, and he now has a 6.75 ERA in July. Clearly, he’s not right. Andrew Bailey actually had to come in for the final out here (he got a one-out save), which was lame considering the A’s entered the ninth inning with an eight-run lead. The bullpen efforts (or lack thereof) killed this grade. GRADE: C+
Coaching: Bob Geren needs to figure out Ziegler’s issues before he puts him into another game. The offense was clicking today, and Kurt Suzuki got the day off – which is always good for him. GRADE: B
Overall Game Grade: B (85.9%). Lucky the offense came through in this one, as the bullpen came close to giving it away. But a sweep was a great thing in the first series out of the break, building the Oakland win streak to five games.
Overall Season Grade: B (83.64%). Oakland is now at .500 again for the year, and the team is seven games out of first place. With a tough stretch ahead, the A’s will know by the end of the month (or sooner) just where they stand in the AL West race.
A’s Record: 46-46. Boston comes to town for three games, and while the Red Sox are in third place, they still have one of the best offenses in the American League – and the A’s pitchers will have to be at their best if they want to win these games.
A’s “Should Be” Record: 49-43. The next 12 games are against winning teams fighting for playoff spots: Boston, Chicago and Texas. Ben Sheets, Dallas Braden and Gio Gonzalez take the hill in this set against the Red Sox. Shoud be fun to watch.