Reality Check :: No Joy in Oakland

The A's have continued their dismal hitting, with an ice cold .235 BA and .338 SLG. Worst of all, they're hitting .210 with runners in scoring position, and slugging .265. Like I said last time, these dismal numbers have nowhere to go but up, although I expected that an improvement wouldn't take so long. Injecting Swisher back into the lineup should also help (or at a bare minimum, could hardly make things worse). The Hardball Times recently brought me a ray of sunshine, in the form of Projected OPS(PrOPS). The idea is to eliminate luck in an evaluation of a player's hitting. With that said, here are the numbers for the A's

Bobby Kielty 0.724 0.844 -0.120 -16.56% 69
Keith Ginter 0.554 0.842 -0.288 -51.96% 52
Eric Byrnes 0.633 0.803 -0.170 -26.82% 86
Erubiel Durazo 0.734 0.799 -0.065 -8.88% 121
Mark Kotsay 0.755 0.795 -0.040 -5.27% 137
Charles Thomas 0.350 0.759 -0.409 -116.80% 39
Jason Kendall 0.573 0.754 -0.180 -31.48% 125
Scott Hatteberg 0.694 0.752 -0.059 -8.46% 123
Marco Scutaro 0.722 0.744 -0.021 -2.97% 106
Nick Swisher 0.646 0.739 -0.094 -14.52% 84
Mark Ellis 0.684 0.702 -0.018 -2.57% 87
Eric Chavez 0.553 0.691 -0.138 -25.01% 136
Adam Melhuse 0.250 0.556 -0.306 -122.21% 12
(for some reason Bobby Crosby wasn't included)

It's tough to know exactly what to make of this stat, and I intend to contact the author for the full PrOPS (I love that acronym) formula , but all those negative numbers mean that all the A's are getting unlucky at the plate, which, of course, bodes well for a comeback. Keep in mind too that if the A's had held both leads against the Red Sox this weekend, they would be 16-18 and only three back of the Angels. Getting Calero back from the DL should help with these late game collapses. Remember, one of the reasons that Beane traded the people he did was to reinforce the bullpen that was so shaky last year. Another very impotant point I would make is that Barry Zito may be starting to return to form, or at least may be working his way back to above average. He was electric against the Yankees last Friday and missed out on the win due to bad defense. Until the eighth inning he'd only given up one run and his curveball was moving enough to warp the space-time continuum. Billy Beane and Ken Macha need to start reading this blog if they want Zito to turn around; throw him seven and put him on the shelf. A few solid wins could put him back on track. But, I must admit, if I'm still writing like this in two weeks, I might just have to declare this season what it really is, a rebuilding year.

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