Though the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics found their middle infield bench help in Alberto Callaspo prior to the deadline, it may be outfield that they really have to worry about.
Yes, that’d be the same outfield that was supposed to be one of the deepest in the game prior to the start of the season.
However, with Home Run Derby winner Yoenis Cespedes still struggling with a .232/.326/.342 split in July, Seth Smith quickly falling off with a .358 OPS (yes, you’re reading that acronym right) in the same month and Chris Young being Chris Young (ie. mostly terrible), the team’s outfield crew was already in trouble even before Josh Reddick took a knee to the head on Tuesday.
Now, it seems like Coco Crisp has been afflicted by the curse too.
Though he’d given the A’s mostly steady production at the plate throughout the first three months thus far and creating offense as the leadoff man, he’s all but doing the opposite these days. Including a 0-for-5 performance on Trade Deadline day, the center fielder has now failed to record hits in each of his last four games, an 0-for-16 slump that is only somewhat salvaged by his ability to draw walks (three in that span).
Even that, though, isn’t enough to save the fact that he’s been mostly a non-factor at the plate over the last month, carrying a .186/.243/.225 line through 102 at-bats.
It’s showing in his counting numbers too, as he’s scored just nine runs in July after totals of 24, 10 and 12 in the first three months of the 2013 season. Ditto his strikeouts, which he has 17 of in July — not terrible per se, but a season-worst nonetheless.
And sure, the A’s are still finding a way to win games and hang on to top spot in the division, but there’s no doubt that the former league-best offense (from back in April) is feeling it these days, languishing at 23rd place in MLB for July with 91 runs prior to their 5-2 loss on Wednesday.
With four men left on base thanks to his 0-fer, it’s hard not to put a little more of the horns on the Oakland center fielder on this one.
What can’t be denied, on the other hand, is that at -0.4 fWAR for the month, Crisp has been the third-worst A’s position player for some time now (and second-worst regular … if you consider Young to be a regular). At this point, he’s not giving the A’s passable production so much as he’s actually detrimental to the team’s chances at winning ball games by diminishing scoring opportunities as opposed to creating them.
And a division leader can’t have that at the leadoff spot if they expect to keep their place, yes?