Oakland A’s Weekly Preview – Week 5
Ryan Cook and his bullpen brethren have given A’s fans plenty to yell about.  (Kelley L Cox, USA Today Sports)

Billy Beane’s vision for the 2015 season isn’t coming to fruition.  With the Oakland A’s struggling to keep pace with much of the rest of the AL West, Beane and Manager Bob Melvin are going to have to figure out the right mix of ingredients to jumpstart the A’s season quickly before it goes too far south.  At 11-15 the Oakland Athletics find themselves in fourth place in the AL West and continue to lose games due to their lackluster bullpen.  

The A’s continue their three series road trip with a visit to Minnesota to take on the Twins for a four game series.  The Twins are floating around the .500 mark and are trying to keep pace with the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers.  

Here are the expected pitching match-ups for the series - all times in PST:

  1. Monday, 5/4, 5:10pm, Jesse Hahn (1-1) vs. Phil Hughes (0-4)
  2. Tuesday, 5/5, 5:10pm, Jesse Chavez (0-2) vs. Trevor May (2-1)
  3. Wednesday, 5/6, 5:10pm, Scott Kazmir (2-0) vs. Kyle Gibson (2-2)
  4. Thursday, 5/7, 10:10am, Drew Pomeranz (1-2) vs. Ricky Nolasco (1-1)

Predictions: Sonny Gray pitched on Sunday heading into this week and will start the next series.  However, he really is the only one in the rotation right now that affords the fan base some confidence.  While Kazmir has been very good to start the season, he looked a little gassed in his last outing and that isn’t a good sign in the beginning of May.  

Oakland will then head to the Pacific Northwest for a weekend series against the Seattle Mariners.  The Mariners enter this week coming off of a rough, four game weekend in Houston against the Astros.  Like the A’s, the Mariners are struggling to keep pace in the AL West.  Seattle will have Thursday off, heading home from a three game series with the LA Angels and may be a little more prepared (and definitely rested) vs. the A’s.  The expected pitching match-ups for the weekend series are as follows:

  1. Friday, 5/8, 7:10pm, Sonny Gray (4-0) vs. Taijuan Walker (1-3)
  2. Saturday, 5/9, 6:10pm, Jesse Hahn (1-1) vs. JA Happ (2-1)
  3. Sunday, 5/10, 1:10pm, Jesse Chavez (0-2) vs. Felix Hernandez (4-0)

Predictions: Gray starts the series on Friday night and the A’s wind up seeing King Felix to close out the series.  It would behoove the Oakland lineup to make the most of its chances on Friday and Saturday night ahead of Sunday’s match-up.  

Who’s Hot?

Josh Reddick has maintained his hot streak over the past week leading the team in Batting Average and RBI’s.  SP’s Gray and Kazmir remain solid with ERA’s under 2.00.  

Who’s Not?

If you sort the A’s pitching staff by ERA you will find that the bottom six guys on the list are all from the bullpen.  With the exclusion of Arnold Leon, five out of the six have made at least four appearances thus far this season.  As seen in this weekly column since Week 2, the A’s bullpen has been and remains dreadful.  

Utility man Sam Fuld has been as cold as ice at the plate, hitting under .100 over the past week.  Not to be outdone, Billy Butler has seen his hot start fade quickly, as he has also hit under .100 over the past seven days.  

A’s Roster Movement

The A’s made a slew of moves this past weekend in an effort to provide a jolt to the clubhouse.  RP Eric O’Flaherty was placed on the 15 day DL with shoulder problems … which may or may not explain his double-digit ERA.  The club recalled RJ Alvarez from the minors after just sending him down last week.  

The A’s designated OF Cody Ross for assignment and recalled OF Billy Burns.

Billy Beane then called up RP Chad Smith on Sunday and demoted RP Ryan Cook after another flameout from the ex-closer.