The A’s first-half peak may have come in last month’s Bay Bridge Series against the Giants.
When the A’s beat their cross-bay neighbors on June 29, they had won six of seven games. Their lineup had scored 28 runs in three wins over San Francisco, the hottest team in baseball. Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that “if healthy, these are the type of things we can do in our lineup.”
It didn’t last. Oakland lost seven of its next 10 games to enter the All-Star break at 38-51, indicative of a first half defined by inconsistent play. That and a rash of injuries contributed to the A’s compiling the fourth-worst record in the American League.
The A’s had a season-high six-game winning streak in April but lost 14 of their next 18 games. They won five consecutive from May 28 through June 1, then promptly lost seven in a row.
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Absences played a part. The A’s used the disabled list 20 times in the first half, three fewer than all of last season. Key players like Sonny Gray, Josh Reddick, Rich Hill and Sean Doolittle spent time on the DL. The starting rotation was hit especially hard.
Starting pitching, typically a strength for the A’s, was poor. Oakland’s starters posted a 5.00 ERA, third-highest in the A.L. Their offense was not good enough to compensate, compiling the lowest on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.701) in the league.
The result is a team that, once again, looks like a seller before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The A’s may not repeat last year’s A.L.-worst finish – Minnesota is the front-runner – but they probably will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.