Ready for football? We are too! Keith Grieve, Steve Taylor, and Jim Saranteas (www.thefantasygreek.com) give you all their predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Listen at www.latenightsportsradio.com!
I’m enough of a man to admit when I’m wrong. But this time I’m not. Well, not completely.
When the Oakland A’s traded OF Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for P Jon Lester, I viewed it as a masterstroke by A’s GM Billy Beane as he loaded up on pitching for the postseason. What I, and Beane, too, apparently- underestimated was the effect of losing Cespedes on the lineup.
Cespedes is a long ball beast. In that A’s lineup, the team got out to an early lead and seemed to not be looking back. They were scoring runs in bunches. Their totals for the first four months of the season:
- April: 148
- May: 142
- June: 132
- July: 113
You have to remember that the All-Star break in July wipes out at least two games when compared to the other months. After the August 1 trade of Cespedes, the A’s scored an anemic 103 runs in August. Their AL ranking in OPS by month goes like this:
- April: 2
- May: 2
- June: 1
- July: 6
Yes, the A’s were trending down and if you wanted to use this as an argument they were running out of gas, I guess you could. However, there is a big drop off in August even though they actually had four more extra-base hits in August than they had in June.
However, there is another aspect of the A’s in August that played as big a role in their loss of the AL West lead: They allowed a season high 114 runs.
This wasn’t supposed to happen? What on earth did they accomplish by trading for all that pitching if they were still going to give up that many runs? Let’s not get too crazy- they were ranked 8th out of 15 in runs allowed and ERA in August. However the additions of Jeff Samardzija earlier and Lester should have made that staff bulletproof, no?
Well, batters are hitting .299 off Scott Kazmir over the last four weeks, But don’t worry, he’s also posted a 1.625 WHIP. Sonny Gray? .290 and 1.531. Tommy Millone? In 4 starts in August, he’s gotten battered by a .378 BAA and 2.235 WHIP. Samardzija and Lester have been as good as expected with a 1.103 and 1.057 WHIP, respectively.
So while the A’s are clearly struggling to score runs and have had their mojo seemingly destroyed, this is a collapse that may have been brewing for a while and was only exacerbated by the trade.
Just in time to play the Los Angeles Angels seven times. F.
Now it’s Kyle Orton. Yes, the Bills latest attempt to field a backup QB that has absolutely no chance to pressure EJ Manuel is Kyle ‘I’m Retired’ Orton. I believe that makes the list of QB’s that have passed through the gates at One Bills Drive in the past two years to 10 (Manuel, Kolb, Lewis, Tuel, Jackson, Leinart, Corp, Dixon, Palmer, and Orton). This is starting to remind me of the last days of John Gruden in TB, except he was actually trying to find a starting QB while the Bills still are all in with Manuel. I almost understood Palmer since he is reported to be a very good developer of QB’s, but what does Orton bring at this point in his career? Why not take a flyer on Terrelle Pryor? He has actually won games recently and would bring a running QB option to the backup position. Ready for it…. how about Tebow? Before you start laughing, Tuel Time and Kyle Orton! Isn’t Tebow a better option? Let’s try Sanchez, Ponder, or anyone who still has the possibility of developing into a starting QB. If true leaders overcome adversity and all challengers, why are the Bills convinced that shielding Manuel behind a layer of washed-up QB’s is the best way to pump up his confidence?