Oakland Athletics Sweep Brewers

A's win 06/11/2023
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics (17–50) have swept the Milwaukee Brewers for their first sweep of the season. This comes in the best stretch of baseball the team has played all season. They have now won two straight series and three out of their last four. Five straight wins is a season high for the team, and it brings them within one game of the Kansas City Royals for the worst record in baseball. Offense and pitching are putting everything together at the right time.

Tuesday June 13 is the Reverse Boycott at the Coliseum in Oakland. An event put on by fans to sell out the stadium, and show the baseball world that they are not the issue in Oakland, and that owner John Fisher is. The A’s look to continue their first winning stretch of baseball in 2023 as they start a four game set against the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland.

Their Best Stretch So Far

The Athletics have been one of the hottest teams in baseball over the last 12 games. This is a small sample size, but for how this season has gone, A’s fans are rejoicing. They are 7–5 over that stretch, and winners of five straight. The Athletics are working their way out of the cellar of baseball. Over the last ten games, the A’s are hitting .247 and have scored 47 runs.

It might not sound like much, but that would place the A’s in the middle of the league in AVG. Their 4.7 runs per game also would be best for ninth overall in baseball. The biggest difference over this stretch has been the hitters discipline at the plate. Their 43 Walks over their last 10 games has made a huge impact on the teams offensive performance. Extending innings and exhausting pitchers has made a huge difference over the past two weeks.

Offensive Standouts

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Ryan Noda has been the biggest stand out for the Athletics over the teams last 15 games. Over that stretch, Noda is slashing .267/.421/.533 with three doubles, three home runs, and eight RBI. Noda currently sits fourth in all of baseball with his .410 OBP over 177 AB. He has shown a keen eye at the plate while flashing power to all sides of the field. Not only getting it done on offense, Noda is in the top 25% of the league at OAA. He is proving he can fill the shoes left by former gold glove first baseman Matt Olson. Noda is making a late push to try and surpass Ruiz and Rooker, and get the nod to the All Star game in his first season of pro ball.

Newcomers On the Rise

Esteury Ruiz continues his great rookie year as he has been the Athletics’ most consistent bat all year. Over his last 15 games, Ruiz is slashing .217/.280/.239 with four runs scored, four RBI, and four stolen bases. Ruiz continues to lead all of baseball in stolen bases with 31. He leads Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr by three steals. After his two-run double in the finale against the Brewers, he raised his baRISP to .410. This is good enough for sixth in the American League. Ruiz has been an absolute weapon out of the lead off spot, and has given A’s fans something to be excited about looking towards the future.

Brent Rooker who started the season as one of the best hitters in all of baseball, started to slow down once May hit. Over his last seven games, he has started to turn things back around. He is slashing .278/.350/.500 with a double, a home run, and four RBI. He has certainly benefited from the return of Athletics outfielder Seth Brown. Having Brown back in the lineup provides protection for Rooker at the plate. Where before Rooker was the A’s only hitter who needed to be worried about, he now has Brown right behind him. Opposing teams can no longer walk Rooker to avoid him. His 13th home run in the finale against the Brewers moves him back into the top-20 in all of baseball.

Starting Pitching is Back

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The return of Paul Blackburn has been everything to organization could have hoped for. He threw the Athletics’ first quality start of the season on Saturday in Milwaukee. His line was six innings, four hits, five strike outs, and no walks in his second start back off the IL. He has only made two starts. Yet, he already has a quarter of the A’s starting pitcher wins this season. Not only is it good for him, but it has paid dividends for the rest of the starters on the team. Blacburn’s leadership shows the young pitchers how to go about their business on game day, as well as how to go about their preparation on off days. He has also created internal competition between the pitching staff as everyone wants to hold themselves to a higher standard to compare to him.

Luis Medina got his first win of the season in the opener of the series on Friday. Sam Moll opened the game out of the pen with a smooth inning, where he allowed no hits with three strike outs. Medina then came in a cruised through five innings with three hits, three walks, on six strike outs.

JP Sears continues his great pace in his last five starts. Over that stretch, Sears has thrown 27 innings to the tune of a 2.33 ERA with 22 strike outs and eight walks. Sears isn’t someone who is going to blow you away at the plate. He is in the bottom 40% of pitchers when it comes to average fastball velocity. He does, however, fill the zone and forces weak contact. Sears is in the top 20% of all pitchers in BB % and Barrel %.

Historically Bad Run Differential

The final thing to look at, is the pace the A’s are on for the worst run differential in the history of baseball. The A’s current run differential after the sweep of the Brewers is -194. The worst in the modern era (since 1900) was the 1932 Boston Red Sox who ended the season with a -349 run differential. When they finished the series with the Miami Marlins on June 4, their differential was on pace to finish the season at -563. After great series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Brewers, it is all the way down to -481.

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