Athletics

Athletics

It's no longer early in the season.

The A's have already played 44 games, more than a quarter of their regular-season schedule, and they find themselves dead last in the AL West at 19-25.

Far too often, the team has looked lifeless, just going through the motions without passion or intensity. It's almost as if they expect to just flip a switch at some point and recreate last year's incredible second-half run.

"We have a group of guys that won a lot of games last year and we still feel like we have a chance to do that," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters after Tuesday's loss.

Starting pitcher Mike Fiers expressed a similar sentiment on Monday.

"We'll be fine. This team is too good to be losing as many games as we have so far. We've just got to put it all together and play good baseball throughout the whole game, through all nine. We've got a lot of guys being inconsistent, especially early on, so everyone knows what they need to do. We'll be back."

The problem is that last year is long gone. It's a new season and a new team, and this team has been one of the worst in baseball.

Legendary football coach Bill Parcells famously said that you are what your record says you are. For the A's, that means 19-25, six games below .500, a point they never reached last year.

"It's not like we're playing bad baseball," Tuesday's starter Brett Anderson told reporters. "It's just that we can't really get good starting pitching to sync up with timely hitting. Whenever we do that for consecutive series, we're a pretty formidable team. But we just haven't done that on a consistent basis so far. Whenever we do, it will be pretty scary."

 

That optimism might sound nice, but it's going to take more than words to turn things around. Oakland needs a spark. We thought Fiers' no-hitter last week might do the trick, but the team is just 3-4 since then.

Perhaps the answer lies in Triple-A in the form of a Jorge Mateo or Franklin Barreto. Maybe the team needs a shakeup in the batting order.

[RELATED: A's trade Morales to Yanks for PTBNL or cash considerations]

One thing is for certain. The A's need to start winning some games in a hurry. They have already dropped to 9.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros. At this rate, the division may be out of reach by July.

A Wild Card spot won't be much easier to capture. The American League boasts incredible depth, featuring perennial World Series contenders like the Yankees and Red Sox, not to mention upstart squads like the Rays and Twins.

There's a thin line between panic and urgency. Obviously, the A's don't want to panic. But they sure could use a sense of urgency.