This week on the Oakland Futility Watch, there is good news, and we will cover those four things below. But first, the A’s had another two-win week, moving their overall record now to 8-27 for a .229 winning percentage. The record low is .235 by the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics, so the current edition of the Athletics is still pretty bad. Strangely, though, the Kansas City Royals have just a 9-26 record right now, so that team, too, could be on pace to finish below this mark as well. Nuts!
Okay, now that the formal introductions are over, here are the signs for optimism in Oakland this week:
- On May 5, the A’s beat the Royals, 12-8, in Kansas City, and Oakland starting pitcher Kyle Muller became the team’s first SP to win a game this season. That’s right: the A’s played 33 games before getting a win out of a starting pitcher. The rotation was 0-16 up this point, which is pretty crazy to imagine. Strangely, no SP seems in danger (yet) of losing 20 games, though.
- The next night, Oakland beat Kansas City again, also getting another win for an SP (this time Ken Waldichuk). This victory denoted two key firsts for the A’s in 2023: Oakland won consecutive games for the first time this season, and the A’s also clinched their first series win of the campaign, as well. This was the team’s 11th series matchup in the regular season, and after an 11-17 spring record, this seemed well overdue, for sure. What took so long?
- Outfielder Brent Rooker was named AL Player of the Week on May 1. He went 10-for-24 (.417) with eight runs scored, five home runs, and 11 RBI in seven games over the final week of April. Rooker added six walks and two HBPs for a .545 on-base percentage, while slugging 1.083, with a 1.629 OPS. He is the first A’s player to win AL Player of the Week honors since August 9, 2020 and the first non-pitcher to win the award since August 25, 2019.
There will be other highlights, for sure, this season among the many low(er)lights. We want to be fair and highlight the ups just as much as the downs. The Oakland organization has a lot of time to get better as the season progresses and the roster matures. There are some promising pieces here, so it’s going to be a season-long grind toward potential immortality for these A’s … and maybe those Royals, too. Misery loves company, and it could be a futility chase, too.