Athletics Take Series from Tigers

Jordan Diaz 07072023
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics (25–64) took two of three from the Detroit Tigers (38–48) earlier this week. In their last 11 series, the Athletics are 5–5–1. The split came in a four game series with the Tampa Bay Rays in mid-June. In that stretch of 11 series dating back to the end of May, the Athletics are 15–19 in their last 34 games. These aren’t world beating numbers. In fact, they are pretty poor. But, for a team whose winning percentage this season is .281, winning .441% of your games shows massive improvement.

Many knew this season was going to be tough. Especially after the fire sale which saw four players leave who have all made All-Star appearances for their new teams. Marcus Semien for the Texas Rangers, Matt Olson and Sean Murphy for the Atlanta Braves, and Matt Chapman of the Toronto Blue Jays. Those are tough blows for a fan base who have been through more than any fanbase should over the last year. Athletics fans can take solace in the strides forward the returns have taken this season.

The young bats have started to show more confidence and discipline at the plate. The young pitching staff has shown better control not only of their pitches, but also control of the game. They have started to dominate on the mound through presence alone. The Athletics look to continue playing well as they head to Fenway to take on the Boston Red Sox for a three-game series starting Friday night.

Athletics Bats’ Heat Up

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After racking up 32 hits in three games in their last series against the Chicago White Sox, the Athletics bats stayed hot during the series with the Tigers. In the series the Athletics collected 20 hits, giving them 52 in their last six games. Led by some unlikely sources, Tony Kemp and Jordan Diaz, the Athletics’ offense is in full stride.

Jordan Diaz

Jordan Diaz was called back up last week, and continues to do what he does best, which is hit. Every time he has been called up this year he has absolutely raked the ball. This includes a three home run game earlier this season against the New York Yankees in New York. Over the last week he has been leading the offense from the middle of the order. In his last seven games, Diaz is 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run, two RBI, and a walk. In the Athletics 12–3 win over the Tigers on Wednesday, Diaz went 3-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored. He has provided a huge boost to a team who really needed it.

Tony Kemp

Tony Kemp has been one of the Athletics’ biggest under-performers this season. Notorious for getting off to slow starts, Kemp is slashing .195/.284/.568 with a 65 OPS+. This is easily the worst season for his career. That being said, over his last week he looks like he has figured some things out. In his last seven games Kemp is 8-for- 26 (.308) with two triples, five RBI, and five runs scored. Kemp’s resurgence could be invaluable for this team. Whether he is traded at the deadline or kept to provide mentorship to the young lineup, Kemp playing well can do nothing but benefit this team.

Fujinami Righting the Ship

Shintaro Fujinami has been under fire from Athletics fans all season, and for good reason. At one time the top prospect from Japan, Fujinami started losing command back in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organizaion. Because of this, the Athletics were able to land the once super star to a team friendly deal for 1 year, and $3.25 million.

The organization hoped he could find his control here, and they could deal him at the trade deadline this season. Unfortunately for the Athletics, his continues struggled, and Fujinami found himself out of the starting rotation, and into the bullpen. This season he has thrown 41 1/3 innings and has a 9.35 ERA with a 1.800 WHIP. Undoubtedly the man has filthy stuff with a 9.6 strike outs per nine innings. But, his ability to throw strikes is questionable with a 6.2 walks per nine innings.

Over his last 30 days, Fujinami has really started to find his groove. In those 30 days he has thrown 10 2/3 innings with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.308 WHIP. He seems to have made some adjustments because he has only four walks in these innings to go along with 16 strike outs. He is clearly throwing more strikes, and his numbers have completely turned around. Fujinami has started dominating. His .244 opponents batting average as well as his command are showing that he could possibly have a future in the rotation after all.

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