Big Game James goes to the hill and should expect another 1-0 game because (a) Oakland is a pitcher's park (b) Jarrod Parker was a pretty good pitcher last year (but has struggled this year); and (c) Jeff Francoeur is not in the starting lineup and how do you expect to score runs without the heart and soul of your team?
On the plus side, the A's pitching staff has a 6.69 ERA over the last week and the club has dropped 20 of its last 31 games. A rundown of their club:
- Coco Crisp (remember him? No homo) leads the team with a .914 OPS due to some uncharacteristic pop. He has five home runs already, even though he has only reached double digits in dingers three times in his career with a high of 16.
- Jed Lowrie has appeared in 40 of Oakland's 42 games. I think that is a career high for him (kidding).
- The A's have nine hitters who are in double digits in walks and a tenth who has nine walks (Yoenis Cespedes). The Royals have four hitters with more than seven walks this year.
- Remember who Oakland used to be a slow, base-clogging team? They've swiped 26 bases this year, good for sixth in the league, and have been caught just six times, good for an 81% success rate.
- Josh Reddick, who had a sensational 2012, is having a miserable 2012. His OPS is .516, and he's hitting just .129/.282/.194 over his last 12 games. Of course, that .282 OBA is still better than the .258 OBA Jeff Francoeur has posted for the entire season.
- Daric Barton is back in the big leagues and still not hitting. In seven games, he's "hitting" .111/.200/.278. Just three years ago the guy led the league in walks. Since then he hasn't posted an OPS over .635.
- When Jarrod Parker faces Mike Moustakas, it will be the battle of 2007 first round picks. Parker was selected ninth (by the Diamondbacks), seven slots behind Moose. Moose barely edges him in WAR in their young careers 3.9 to 3.6.
Let's win this one for Jason Grimsley. For Mike Sweeney. For Luis Ordaz. For all those 2002 Royals that were humiliated by their portrayal in the movie "Moneyball."
This one's for you boys.