The Oakland Athletics are playing decent baseball to start the season, decent being a major improvement over 2017. The A’s pummeled the Royals last night to move to 30-28 on the season. A year ago at this point, they were just struggling to stay competitive in games. It wasn’t until the second-half of the season, and the trade of Sonny Gray, that the club started to wake up.
Maybe it was a signal to some guys on the team that no one is immune from getting a ticket out of town. For Gray, he went from a losing team to the New York Yankees, so it wasn’t much of a loss for him. However, Gray hasn’t had the same success with pressure on him in the Bronx. Nevertheless, the message was clear in Oakland, everyone is replaceable.
The A’s finished 5th in the American League West with a record of 75-87. They finished strong to make their record look somewhat respectable. With the Texas Rangers having a bad year, it at least looks like the A’s will avoid last place. The A’s did not look like a last place team on Friday night. Matt Olson led the way with 2 dingers and 4 RBI’s. It was 9-0 in the top of the 9th, and the Athletics weren’t done yet, as they tacked up some more runs. Too bad they won’t be able to carry over some runs to Saturday afternoon.
The Royals have become accustomed to being on the receiving end of beatings in 2018. The loss dropped the Royals to 20-37, as this looks like a lost season in KC. Oakland just hopes to keep playing respectable baseball, and maybe add a few pieces the next years to become a postseason team again. Who knows, though, they are certainly within striking distance of a wildcard. If they run hot in September again maybe they creep up and steal a spot. The dependable Trevor Cahill will get the spotlight on Saturday for the A’s. Head below for our free Athletics vs. Royals pick.
Oakland Athletics vs. K.C. Royals Pick
Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.25 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (2-5, 5.23 ERA)
In a year that plagued Trevor Cahill with injuries in 2017, he’s bounced back to have quite the season thus far. The Athletics took a shot on him and it’s paid off. Cahill did spend some time with the Royals a season ago, as he got 3 starts and 10 appearances. It made for one of the worst stretches of his career, leaving KC with an ERA of 8.22. He only pitched 23 innings as a Royal.
Cahill also spent some time in San Diego where he looked better with a 3.69 ERA. While that was adequate, no one really foresaw what was going to come in 2018. Cahill, on the same team that drafted him around ten years ago, is playing some of the best baseball of his career. He enters with a 2.25 ERA and 0.89 WHIP.
This current Royals roster has had a heck of a time trying to hit Cahill. In 31 at-bats, they have just 4 hits off him for a batting average of .129. That includes only 1 RBI and no deep balls. The Royals will counter with the 12-year veteran, Jason Hammel. Hammel has carved out a career for himself and cashed some nice checks along the way. Not only that, Hammel helped the Cubs win a World Series in 2016, so anything else is icing on top for him. He is without a doubt nearing the end, though. Hammel enters Saturday with an ERA of 5.23. There are four Royals that have gone deep against Hammel, which includes a team batting average of .260. No, the A’s won’t be able to rollover some runs to today, but they should be able to outscore the Royals for another win on Saturday.