It's reunion time in Oakland

 

The storyline of this series goes without saying.  It is MLB's only primary green team vs. the only team that wears purple.  Oh wait - we don't even wear purple anymore.  Right - that whole Matt Holliday/Carlos Gonzalez/Huston Street bit.

There's not a whole lot to say on that front.  It will be the first time the trio play their former team - more of an event for Holliday and Street, who were both celebrated for years as premium players for their former clubs.  Street has become a solid if not fantastic closer while Gonzalez furthers his reputation as a possible AAAA player.

As for Holliday, he is still working uphill from that terrible start.  His wOBA is lower than every year in his career, including his rookie year, and his OPS+ only exceeds that same 2004 campaign.  So it's not JUST being away from Coors.  His OPS has not reached .900 and his average have not reached .300 once this season.   He is currently on an 18-game, 64-AB homerless drought.  He has actually had a worse offensive season than the Rockies' fifth outfielder if you compare Fangraphs offensive value.

Oakland got off to a miserably sluggish start like Holliday - and the Rockies.  On June 1, the A's were actually one half game worse (19-30) than Colorado (20-30), but like the Rockies, June brought a bit of a surge.  Bob Geren's club reeled off seven straight at the beginning of June to bring them within four games of .500, but they have lost 10 of their last 15 to drop back to earth.

The Rockies last played the Athletics June 18-20, 2006, when they outscored the A's 15-3 at Coors Field.  However they haven't played in Oakland since being swept in 2001.  In fact, the Rockies won their first ever game in the Coliseum in 1997 thanks to a dominant start by Roger Bailey, yet they have lost all seven games there since.  The A's are only 3-8 at Coors Field though, so it evens out to a 9-10 Rockies record all-time vs. Oakland.

Colorado is now 8-4 in interleague play; Oakland is just 5-10 with a modest 17-17 overall home record.

The Rockies absolutely must win this series against an inferior team.  After dropping a series in Anaheim in which they outscored the Angels, they can't afford to head to Dodger Stadium needing a sweep for a winning road trip.

Athletics Nation is Oakland's SBNation blog, actually the oldest among us all.  In case you missed it in the offseason, here's a classic view on the Matt Holliday trade from AN from January.

 

Oak1263_medium

Oakland Athletics (31-40, L2, 4th, 8.0 GB) 

Friday-Sunday: 3-game series at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum


The Bats: D-

Bob Geren has toyed with the lineup to a great degree trying to spark some offense.  Suzuki could bat second, pushing Cust, Holliday and Giambi down one spot.  OFRajai Davis (.240/.309/.340), C Landon Powell (.182/.258/.364) and IF's Daric Barton (1-for-14, 2B) and Nomar Garciaparra (.254/.274/.390) fill out the bench.

This is my best guess on the lineup, which is just outright terrible (the guess and the lineup):

LINEUP

Avg

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

wOBA

Adam Kennedy - 2B

.298

6

24

.368

.474

.369

Jack Cust - RF

.227

13

37

.313

.421

.323

Matt Holliday - LF

.269

8

39

.367

.423

.352

Jason Giambi - DH

.205

10

37

.341

.384

.326

Kurt Suzuki - C

.278

4

27

.325

.400

.320

Orlando Cabrera - SS

.243

2

25

.289

.313

.264

Bobby Crosby - 1B

.190

3

17

.291

.306

.275

Ryan Sweeney - CF

.254

2

18

.315

.320

.289

Jack Hannahan - 3B

.191

1

8

.273

.304

.262

That lineup features your worst offensive 3B and 1B in MLB, plus the 2nd worst shortstop, only to 2007 NL MVP (*cough cough*) Jimmy Rollins.  The Rockies can field a lineup with a better offensive player at all nine positions (even left field!) except second base - by wOBA anyway.  Speaking of which, utilizing that, this lineup has two solid above average hitters (Kennedy and Holliday), three  a bit below average (Giambi, Cust and Suzuki), one  very below average (Sweeney) and three don't belong on the field, let alone an MLB starting lineup (Cabrera, Crosby, Hannahan).

Overall, the Athletics have the lowest batting average in the majors (about Torrealba level), the 6th least runs scored, 6th least HR, and are dead last in wOBA at .299.  I know I know, sample size.  But I can't resist pointing out their team wOBA is 8 points worse than Ubaldo Jimenez'.

Should we treat their lineup like nine Ubaldo's?  Obviously not.  They get a significant disadvantage playing at the Coliseum, but still, their roster OPS+ is just 82, worse than every Rockie except Quintanilla, Gonzalez and Atkins.  Any way you slice it, this is a terrible offense.  Those big offseason additions of Cabrera, Holliday, Giambi and Garciaparra have done very little.

 
The Arms: C+

The Rockies draw the top two Oakland's starters.  Gone are the days of the big three, but Dallas Braden and  Trevor Cahill are still solid young arms with upside. Brett Anderson's scheduled start tonight has been pushed to Monday due to biceps inflammation, so Braden and Cahill will each move up a day; both have an ERA+ of over 112.  Vin Mazzaro moves into Sunday's spot - the 22 year old righty has been impressive in five starts this season.  Rookie Andrew Bailey has stepped in to be a dominant closer in place of Brad Ziegler, who still gets an opportunity now and again. 

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Andrew Bailey 4-1 2.23 1.04 50 18

Overall, the club has an 97 ERA+, which is a tick below average, but some of the deadweight pulling that stat down are not on the roster or won't be starting in the series.

The team is 13th in ERA (13th for starters, 15th for relievers) and 11th in FIP (15th and 2nd), so despite lacking big names, the Athletics continue to put forth an above average staff.  Other arms Bob Geren leans on in the pen include Michael Wuertz, Russ Springer, Santiago Casilla, and Craig Breslow.

 

The D:  C-

The A's have a UZR/150 rating at 1.6, slightly better than average.  They 50 errors (8th in MLB) and are 8th worst in fielding percentage.  That washes out to a slightly below average defense.

 

The Ballpark: Pitching Park

The multi-year park factor is 93, giving a pitching advantage over the last few years equivalent to the offensive advantage at Coors the last few years.  This year, it is at 97, mirroring Coors' migration to average, so it is still as much of a pitching park as Coors is a hitting park this year.

 

Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 8:05 pm MDT


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Jason Hammel 4-3 4.41 1.50 46 17


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Dallas Braden 5-6 3.26 1.29 62 25


Saturday, June 27, 7:05 pm MDT


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Jorge De La Rosa 3-7 5.85 1.51 82 36


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Trevor Cahill 5-5 3.68 1.34 41 33

 

Sunday, June 24, 2:05 MDT


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Aaron Cook 7-3 4.00 1.33 46 30


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Vin Mazzaro 2-2 2.56 1.07 20 8


33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumDallas Braden and Trevor Cahill have each thrown 7 consecutive quality starts, though Oakland is only 7-7 in those games.  Vin Mazzaro has four QS's in his five starts this season - in his only non-quality start, he allowed four runs to just miss the qualification.  Andrew Bailey has been unscored upon in 10 of his last 11 outings.  Ryan Sweeney is 6 for his last 17 and Orlando Cabrera has a .855 OPS in his last 6 games.

 

IceMatt Holliday is 12 for his last 58 (8 singles and 4 doubles) for a .208 average since June 7.  He only has two more home runs than Adam Kennedy this season.  Jack Cust is only 4 for his last 24, Bobby Crosby just 1-for-10 and Jason Giambi has scratched out just three hits in his last 15 trips.  

 

Bandaid_mediumPitcher Josh Outman (best name for a pitcher ever) is on the 15-day DL with an elbow injury.  Dan Giese (elbow) is on the 60-day DL, as are four very prominant names on the roster:  3B Eric Chavez (back), 2B Mark Ellis (calf), and pitchers Joey Devine (elbow) and Justin Duchsherer (elbow).  The elbow epidemic in Oakland is killing them.

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