After the second half collapse for the Oakland Athletics in 2014 that ultimately led to the crazy Wildcard loss to the Royals, the A’s have struggled. The last two seasons have resulted in just 68 and 69 wins respectively while pulling up the rear in the AL West.
Once again, this squad seems poised to be the divisional cellar dwellers while offering playing time to a hodgepodge of flawed role players that manager Bob Melvin will try to cobble into a cohesive, respectable team.
2016 Record: 69-93
2016 Moneyline Record: -15.44 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 72-84-6
Current World Series Odds: +19000
Current Odds To Win AL: +9000
Current Odds To Win AL West: +1701
Regular Season Win Total: 73.5
The last couple seasons haven’t been pretty in Oakland with a number of failed experiments conducted by Billy Beane and his front office staff as they search for the next market inefficiency in true Moneyball fashion.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a simple answer like there was in the early 2000s when he could simply get good on-base guys on the cheap. The fact this team’s starting rotation is a collection of question marks rather than Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson doesn’t help either.
Sonny Gray was supposed to head the staff. After a difficult year headlined by injury and ineffectiveness and capped with a 5.69 ERA, the A’s were hoping for a major bounce back season for the talented young right-hander. After all, Gray is just a year removed from an All-Star appearance, a top three finish in the Cy Young voting and a 14-win, 2.73 ERA season for a 68-win team.
Gray could ultimately still put together a good year, but it won’t be a complete one as he is slated to begin the year on the disabled list. That’ll make Kendall Graveman the likely Opening Day starter. He was the only starter to eclipse 150 innings for this team last year and pitched respectably with a 4.11 ERA and a 10-11 record. He’s an okay middle-of-the-rotation arm and the team’s only reliable arm.
The rest of the rotation will be some collection of Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs, Jesse Hahn and a number of other uninspiring candidates.
Last year, 14 different pitchers made at least five starts for Oakland and we’re likely to see a similar revolving door in 2017, at least in the back end.
There is a bit of optimism for Manaea and Cotton. Both looked good last year with Manaea throwing 144.2 innings with a 3.86 ERA and Cotton pitching to a 2.15 ERA in five starts after coming over from Los Angeles in the Rich Hill deal.
While the starting staff is a huge issue for this team, they do at least have a strong, veteran bullpen behind the starters with Ryan Madison, John Axford, Sean Dolittle and Santiago Casilla all with experience closing. In addition to them, Daniel Coulombe is an intriguing young arm while Ryan Dull and Liam Hendriks pitched rather well out of the pen last year.
So, the team has a weak rotation and strong bullpen meaning they’ll need a good offense to help the starters get to the late innings with the game within reach. Unfortunately, this is the team that scored the fewest runs in the American League last year.
The A’s added guys like Matt Joyce, Rajai Davis and Trevor Plouffe to help improve the offense. Plouffe is a serviceable third baseman who’s having a strong spring, but he can’t be counted on for anything more than league average production. And while Davis and Joyce both played well last year, they’re platoon players on a good team. To really improve at the plate, Oakland will need internal improvement as well. That means, they’ll need the same power, but better on base from Khris Davis, Ryon Healy to produce as he did in 72 games over a full season and Yonder Alonso’s offseason swing adjustments to pay dividends.
Overall, don’t look for much improvement from the A’s over last year. They’re still the worst team in the AL West on paper. Bob Melvin is good at getting the most out of his players and teams and Billy Beane is a trend setter who may have a method to his apparent madness, but for now, this team is nothing more than a collection of flawed players on offense and question marks—albeit ones with a bit of talent—on the hill.
April 3-6: vs. Angels
April 7-9: at Rangers
April 10-13: at Royals
April 14-16: vs. Astros
April 17-19: vs. Rangers
April 20-23: vs. Mariners
April 25-27: at Angels
April 28-30: at Astros
The A’s will be pinned against the Angels to open the season, giving Oakland fans a chance to see the only team they have a chance to finish better than in the division upfront. Even topping Los Angeles, however, will be tough. They were just 7-12 against the Angels a season ago. Much like Oakland, the Angels have plenty of rotation vacancies and holes in a couple positions across the field, but unlike the A’s, they at least have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout who alone makes a series like this one fun to watch.
All in all, there’s quite a bit of divisional play on tap for the A’s in April. They have a home and away series against each of the Angels, Rangers and Astros and get to play a four game series at home against Seattle in the middle of the month. The team will get out of the division and the Pacific Time Zone only for the series where they head to Kansas City for three games during the second week of the season.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
|Major League Baseball Schedules By Month|
|MLB Betting Schedule||April||May||June||July||August||September||October|
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