They’ve rattled off five victories in a row, in a season where they’ve also posted a separate six-game winning streak along with four streaks of four-plus losses in a row.
But coming out of a 5-1 homestand, things are on the upswing for the A’s as they begin an eight-game road trip Friday in Houston. Here’s a by-the-numbers examination of this team as it hits the road:
23 — The total number of extra-base hits the A’s collected on their just-completed six-game homestand -- an average of 3.83 per contest. Consider that they entered the homestand with the third fewest extra-base hits in the American League with 122 (2.54 per game). When the A’s are at their best offensively, they’re stringing hits together and not necessarily doing it in station-to-station fashion.
1 — Runs allowed by the bullpen in 16 innings of work during the winning streak. It should be noted that going hand-in-hand with this is the solid work of the starting rotation, which hasn’t left as many innings for the relief corps to cover. Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and John Axford get most of the attention because they’re the primary late-inning guys. But Ryan Dull’s ability to enter and escape jams with no damage has been excellent. He’s stranded all 21 of his inherited runners.
16 — Number of wins for the A’s over the Twins in their last 19 meetings at the Coliseum. If only Minnesota (15-37) popped up on Oakland’s home schedule for more than three games this year. The A’s, who just swept the visiting Twins, play a series at Target Field on July 4-6.
31 — The hit total for Danny Valencia in 22 games since he came off the disabled list May 6. Entering the season, it was fair to wonder whether Valencia would deliver as the regular cleanup man. After all, he hadn’t been an everyday player most of the past few seasons. But he’s hitting .378 with eight homers and 19 RBI in 22 games since being activated. Overall, he’s hitting a team-best .346, and every time he swings, the ball seems to be finding his barrel.
4 — Approximate number of times A’s manager Bob Melvin literally knocked on wood during the last homestand while sitting in the dugout conducting his pregame media sessions. Melvin is ultra-superstitious. When he’s asked, for example, about Coco Crisp’s good health or Dull’s streak of stranding base runners, he almost winces just hearing the questions. If it ain’t broke, don’t discuss it. That’s Melvin’s philosophy.
208 — The combined number of games missed by A’s players currently on the DL. To keep the figure from getting too outlandish, we even excluded players who’ve been lost to season-ending injuries. A key storyline for Oakland is whether players such as starters Sonny Gray and Henderson Alvarez and right fielder Josh Reddick can return healthy and make an impact on this season. And of course, part of that hinges on where the A’s are in the standings at the time.
[INJURY REPORT: Gray feels 'more rhythm in my delivery' in Tuesday session]
59 — The number of walks A’s hitters collected in the month of May. That was the second-fewest in the majors and the fewest for an A’s team in May since the 1945 Philadelphia A’s had 57. This team is a free-swinging bunch, and they’ve got the on-base percentage — an AL-worst .300 — to prove it. To a certain extent, the A’s are who they are offensively. They just don’t have the personnel that will take a lot of free passes. But a bit better plate discipline would mean more base runners, and that would mean getting into opposing bullpens faster, and that’s generally a good thing.
22 — The average number of wins (entering Wednesday night) of the three opponents the A’s face on this eight-game road trip — the Astros (24), the Brewers (24) and the Reds (17). That would seem to at least leave the door open for the A’s (25-29) to keep their good times rolling.