Tuesday: Cincinnati 4, Oakland 2 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
Wednesday: Cincinnati 3, Oakland 0 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 34-40
With this pair of losses, the A's now haven't won a game not started by Trevor Cahill in 14 games. These losses fall squarely on the shoulders of the offense, which managed just 14 hits in the 18 innings, good for a measly two runs. The A's are simply hitting the ball without authority; they're making plenty of contact, having struck out just eight times over the past two games, but they also had just two extra base hits. The bad is obvious *cough* hitting *cough,*so let me note what went right on Tuesday and Wednseday.
First and foremost was the starting pitching. Dallas Braden and Vin Mazzaro each pitched well; Braden went six innings with three earned runs and Mazzaro went seven, giving up just two runs. Both pitchers displayed excellent control, walking a batter apiece and each threw over 60% of their pitches for strikes. Mazzaro also was able to generate the groundballs he needs to be successful, getting 13 of the 25 batters who made contact off of him to ground out.
The other bright spot on the mound was Tyson Ross, who had an impressive outing on Tuesday. Ross kept the A's in the game (theoretically, at least) by pitching the final two innings and keeping the A's within two. He's looked much better after his rough spell in May, albeit he's been pitching in low-ish leverage situations for the past few weeks. Since June 2 he's given up just three runs in eight innings while striking out 8 and walking three. With Michael Wuertz struggling a bit (and perhaps a guy who may be traded), it'd be nice to see if Ross can regain his early season form and work his way back into pitching in crunch time.
The other bright spot of late has been Conor Jackson, who added one hit on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday. So far he's hitting .345/.441/.414 and though much of his success has been singles-driven, at this point I'll take what I can get.
Hopefully with the Pirates come to town the A's can end this embarrassing stretch. If ever the A's needed a series against one of the NL's weaker teams, now is the time. That being said, with the way the A's are currently playing, I wouldn't be shocked to see the A's lose two, or even three games this weekend. If the A's can't get some Ws now, the rest of the season may be even uglier than we had expected.