Sizing up what’s on the horizon for the guys in white shoes as the calendar turns to June.
* One nice thing about turning the page on the calendar is it creates the illusion of a fresh start with the opportunity to put some negative things behind you. With that in mind, you have to figure that the A’s snap their losing streak soon and that the offense picks up the pace because … well … they have to start winning and hitting at some point, right? Right? Deep down I know that’s true but I just can’t feel it right now.
* I’ve been wearing my A’s watch for the past two days because there’s a small, crazy part of me that thinks that’ll help break Oakland’s losing streak and spark a 12-run outburst. I know that’s nuts and it makes absolutely no sense but I’m sure superstitious manager Bob Melvin can appreciate the fact that if the A’s win tonight I’m going to keep on wearing the watch.
* With 12 games against the Royals, Rockies, Padres, and Mariners coming up in June you have to hope the A’s can at least go .500 against relatively weak competition which leaves them with 16 games against stiffer competition, most notably the AL West-leading Rangers. That batch of 16 games also includes matchups against the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Giants.
I’m going to be a pessimist and pencil in the A’s for around five wins against those clubs which will bring Oakland’s win total for the month to around 11 games. I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up conservatively sizing up the A’s for around 10 to 12 wins a month through the rest of the season while crossing my fingers that they’ll surprise me.
At some point every team goes on a hot streak and you have to hope the A’s will click and reel off about 20 wins in a month at some point during the 2012 campaign. I just don’t see it happening in June.
* Maybe this month can jump start underperforming second baseman Jemile Weeks and he can recapture some of the magic he had a year ago when he hit .309/.349/.469 in June. It’d be nice to see the top of the batting order start setting the table for Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes. Reddick is hitting way too many solo homers and a few more baserunners would put that power to far better use.
* It’ll be interesting to see if and when there’s a Manny Ramirez sighting in Oakland. I’m not expecting anything out of the guy but it should be fascinating to see what kind of media attention he brings to town and whether there’s any life left in his bat. Everything coming out of Sacramento indicates that Ramirez isn’t exactly punishing Triple A pitching as he tries to shake off the rust which makes me second guess the A’s starting him off at the level considering the fact that he barely played last year.
The Blue Jays are also taking a flier on an over-the-hill slugger but they started Vladimir Guerrero off in A ball where he tore it up before making the jump to Triple A. I’m willing to bet that Vlad does more damage in the big leagues this year than Manny. Of course, both men are just as likely to stink it up and be out of work by the All-Star Game.
* I know this is a terrible thing to throw out there, but when I look ahead to June a fleeting thought I have is, “Who’s going to get hurt next?” At this point it seems to be a given that someone always gets hurt for the A’s, so why not brace for it and try to see the silver lining with every trip to the disabled list?
When one player goes down another one always comes up and there’s an opportunity for someone to get playing time and run with it. If Coco Crisp pulls up lame again it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to see Michael Taylor or Grant Green play every day in Oakland for a few weeks. Same goes for a couple of injuries at first base opening the door for Chris Carter to get another shot at the big leagues. And if Kurt Suzuki ever went down in a heap it might give fans an early look at Derek Norris who could evolve into a poor man’s Mike Napoli one of these days.
* Maybe it’s just because the A’s ended May on such a terrible note, but right now the potential highlight of June appears to be the A’s Chia Pet Coco Crisp giveaway on June 17 and MUG Root Beer Float Day on June 20. If you go to Root Beer Float Day, tip one back in honor of Mark Ellis who was traded last year while scooping up ice cream for the fans. I’m no Dodgers fan but I’d love to see them make the playoffs just to stick it to the Giants and give Ellis a shot a winning a ring. I’m also crossing my fingers that Ellis returns to the A’s organization in some capacity when his playing days are over. It just feels so odd seeing the man in anything other than green in gold.
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