Things are starting to look brighter in the A’s world.
In the wake of their eighth victory in the past 10 games, we’ll put a different spin on the postgame analysis and take a by-the-numbers look at all that’s going on with this team right now:
5: The number of runs the A’s scored in the first inning of Wednesday’s 8-2 victory over Texas, tying their season high for runs in the first. Talk about a timely effort. Starter Kendall Graveman had endured some extremely bad luck in his previous three outings, pitching well but failing to get even one victory.
He received all the run support he could have wanted in this one, and staking a rookie pitcher to a big early lead is always a good thing in the hitter-happy confines of Globe Life Park.
11: The number of starts for catcher Josh Phegley out of 21 games this month, and he’s making the most of the opportunity. Phegley is hitting .333 (13-for-39) in June. Extend that out, and the first-year Athletic is batting .349 (22-for-63) with 12 RBI over his last 20 games. He’s terrorized the Rangers for two homers, a double and five RBI in the first two games of this series.
The A’s thought they were getting an above-average defensive catcher when they acquired Phegley from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija trade. His offensive contributions have been an eye-opener, and that’s allowing the A’s to give Stephen Vogt some time at first base to take the load off him physically.
6: The number of series the A’s have won out of their past nine. There’s lots of ground to make up from their spot in the A.L. West cellar, and they can’t accomplish it with one big bite. It starts by winning series, and the A’s are doing it with more regularity. They go for a sweep of the Rangers behind Sonny Gray on Thursday afternoon.
.308: The team batting average the A’s have posted over the past 10 games. Billy Burns is providing a huge spark from the leadoff spot. Brett Lawrie is swinging a hot bat and Stephen Vogt is doing damage again after struggling at the beginning of June. Different guys are stepping up on different days, and that’s when the A’s are at their best offensively.
4: The streak of consecutive losing months the A’s have endured. They stand a great chance to snap that trend this month. They’re 13-8 for June so far, and they need to win just once in their final six games of the month to avoid a sub-.500 mark.
26: The number of hits for Lawrie in the 20 games he’s played this month. The high-energy third baseman is batting .361 in June, and he’s making the kind of impact the A’s were hoping for when they acquired him in a four-player package from Toronto for Josh Donaldson. Donaldson is enjoying an MVP-caliber season with his new club, and no one was expecting Lawrie to duplicate that production. But his passion and intensity on the field – along with his play – is lighting a fire under the A’s.
2.31: The ERA of Kendall Graveman in seven starts since the rookie right-hander returned from Triple-A. He went seven-plus innings in Wednesday’s victory, and though he benefited from big run support, it was another consistent effort from a guy who went down to the minors and came back a different pitcher.
3: The number of times a base umpire has been struck by a batted ball in an A’s game this season. It happened again Wednesday, with second-base ump Dale Scott leaving the game for a brief period after Lawrie’s fourth-inning liner left him with a bruised thigh. Who knew umpiring an A’s game was grounds for hazard pay?