It's been a strange season so far, perfectly summed up by this tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney on July 5:
If you thought the Oakland Athletics would be four games better than the Phillies on July 4, it is strongly recommended you go to Las Vegas.
1. The A's are at .500 at the All Star break despite trading Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez.
2. The A's All Star representative is Ryan Cook, not even the primary guy in the deal that sent Cahill to Arizona. The main piece in that deal was Jarrod Parker who, although roughed up on Saturday, gave up fewer than two runs in nine of his first 13 starts a feat accomplished only by Dwight Gooden since 1918. Not bad Billy.
3. The Bailey/Ryan Sweeney deal for Josh Reddick/Miles Head/Raul Alcantara is looking pretty good as well. Bailey hasn't pitched in a game this year due to an injury and Sweeney has been solid, but not nearly as good as Reddick. The A's must also be pleased with Miles Head who tore up single A ball and is now at AA Midland. (Alcantara has not been anything special this year.)
5. Bartolo Colon is continuing to defy the aging process as witnessed by his strong first half, including a game early in the year where he threw an astounding 38 consecutive strikes. Colon was excellent on Sunday throwing 93 pitches in 8.2 innings with 79 for strikes.
6. Attendance could go up. Last year's average attendance was 18,232. This year, and there is still a lot of baseball (including sparsely attended weekday games) to be played, the A's are averaging 21,011. Bear in mind, they still have a four game set with the Yankees after the break.
Did you know?
A's reliever Grant Balfour saved All Star pitcher R.A. Dickey's life when the knuckleballer attempted to swim the Missouri River. Dickey was featured on NPR's Fresh Air. (Start around 29:10):
All Star Festivities
Yesterday's "Futures Games" featured A's prospects, outfielder Michael Choice and pitcher Chih-Fang Pan. Choice was 0-2 with a strikeout and Pan did not play.
Here is a good feature piece on Choice.
The great Rollie Fingers took part in yesterday's celebrity softball game and then did a quick radio interview for SiriusXM. Take a listen as Rollie mentions both the KC A's and his appearance as an A in 1973.