Athletics

A's hope offensive struggles are nothing more than a lull

Athletics

Every MLB team goes through a collective slump during a 162-game regular season. There also are times when everyone in a lineup can't be stopped. The ebbs and flows of a season are natural.

Right now, the Athletics are going through one of those slumps. In their 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at the Coliseum on Sunday, Oakland managed just four hits.

Sunday's performance comes a day after the A's had just three hits in a 4-0 shutout loss to the Angels.

In the four-game series, which they split, the A's scored just 10 runs.

"Just quiet offensively," manager Bob Melvin told reporters on a video conference call after the loss on Sunday. "It's gonna happen sometimes and that's why you try to hold the other team down, get some big hits when you're not getting a ton of them. Going into the eighth, we only had two hits, so offensively, it's not enough. But you go through some periods like this and last couple games, we had some opportunities and just didn't come through as much as we would like to."

Not helping matters is that Ramón Laureano has missed the last three games while dealing with groin tightness.

While Matt Olson leads the A's in homers, RBI and slugging percentage, Laureano is the spark plug that makes the offense go.

​"Anytime your No. 3 hitter comes out, it affects you," Melvin said. "But we just got Mitch [Moreland] back, so we felt like ... you're gonna go through ... you know, over the course of the season, you're going to have injuries. Everybody has injuries. So you gotta make do with it. Obviously Ramon is a big one for us. But like I said, we got Mitch back and we feel good with our lineup. The last few games, just sputtered a little bit."

 

While the last few games have caught everyone's attention, the A's aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard this season.

With June right around the corner, Oakland still has a negative run differential. The A's have allowed 10 more runs (236) than they've scored (226) this season. Among the top 10 teams in baseball in terms of winning percentage, the A's are the only one in the red.

The A's are averaging 4.1 runs through 55 games, just below the league average of 4.35, so while they aren't tearing the cover off the ball, the players aren't overly concerned.

"Just one of those stretches," right fielder Stephen Piscotty told reporters on a video conference call. "There were some balls hit hard that got caught. That's kind of the way things go sometimes. I don't think we were pressing or anything. It's a long season. Sometimes you go through these little lulls."

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Despite the offensive struggles, the A's remain in first place in the AL West with a 31-24 record. While the Houston Astros (29-24) likely are the only real threat in the division, the Seattle Mariners have won six of their last 10 and have climbed back to the .500 mark at 27-27.

The A's and Mariners begin a three-game series at T-Mobile Park on Monday. If the A's don't bust out of the slump, Seattle could be neck and neck with them by the end of the week.