Oakland A’s pitcher, Ben Sheets has been the target of harsh criticism in more than a few of my earlier posts. No other player on the Oakland 2010 roster has infuriated me so much.
Then on a cool and rainy Sunday night in Chicago, I came face-to-face with Oakland A’s Pitcher, Ben Sheets!
I was at the end of a very long and tiring day. What started out as a fun day at AT&T Park in San Francisco ended with the sting of a 3-game sweep at hands of the cross town rivals. It was now long past midnight and there I was waiting impatiently in baggage claim in Chicago’s O’Hare’. The airport had the emptiness of the Oakland Coliseum… during a mid-week series with the Kansas City Royals. (more…)
Reason Number 1. RAJAI DAVIS -Discarded by the cross-town rivals San Francisco Giants in 2008, we all wondered why on the earth the A’s would sign him. Raj had limited playing time and struggled at the plate. Fans kept waiting for him to show his speed and steal bases. Eyes popped and tongues when wagging when he was brought back to a crowded outfield in 2009. Fans called for his release when his production was dismal. Fast- forward to September 2009.
– Raj is the only A’s player batting above .300. I mean when was the last time a player on the A’s was batting .317.
– He has 39 stolen bases to date with a .375 OBP and .429 SLG.
Raj creates runs, disrupts the opposing team and causes them to panic.
Reason Number 2. ANDREW BAILEY – Last year this time Bailey was struggling as a starter in AA Midland going 0-8. Maybe someone saw something in him that showed he could be a relief pitcher. He was converted to the bullpen and invited to Spring Training. No one expected him to make the roster. Yet at the July All-Star game in St. Louis, Bailey was the only rookie and the lone Oakland A’s representative. To date he has 25 saves – surpassing the record set by Huston Street in 2006. Bailey has 20 consecutive saves and is on a list with the likes of Mariano Rivera, Huston Street.
Andrew Bailey has distinguished himself as the 2009 AL Rookie of the year.
Reason Number 3. KURT SUZUKI – When the A’s promoted Suzuki to the big leagues, the writing was on the wall for Jason Kendall. A good veteran catcher and a solid member of the team. However, as the A’s have proven, youth is the building block of the organization. At the all-star break, a nervous Kurt Suzuki took over the reins of calling the game. His contributions have been valuable to the team since. He is leading the league in innings, improved his defense and works hard on his offense. In addition, he gives back to the community. What an amazing guy.
VOTE FOR KURT SUZUKI FOR THE 2009 ROBERTO CLEMENTE AWARD
Reason Number 4 – BRETT ANDERSON- Hands down, he is he ‘ace’ of the A’s. He was highly touted as part of the “Little Three, the M-A-C Attack”. He has come of age. I know it is early to anoint him the next Cy Young Award Winner, but his performance has been spectacular.
A career-high 10 strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians at the Oakland Coliseum Friday night. With extra days rest, he seemed to have gotten stronger as the season went on. His poise on the mound and confidence in his pitches has propelled him to a .500 record this far.
His 1-hit performance against the Boston Red Sox earlier this year went largely unnoticed nationally. For A’s fans, it was a sign of things to come. Whenever he is on the mound, the team has the confidence that they will win the game.
In 28 games, so far he has pitched 164.2 innings with 139 strikeouts. What a performance.
Reason Number 5. THE BULLPEN. Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, Santiago Casilla, Jeff Gray, Edgar Gonzalez.
Need I say more!