Outdoor Athletics

To Eep-slay, Perchance To Eem-Dray


“In my defense, I didn’t tell that pitch to go right down the middle.” | Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images

Yes, it’s true: I’m considering translating all of Shakespeare’s work into Pig Latin as an excuse to avoid all of Adam Oller’s starts. “Ooh sorry, had to miss that one. I was busy working on “Aiming-tay of the Oo-shray”.

Oller has 5 pitches that are fine based on velocity and movement. It’s just painful to watch his inability to locate them, combined with the admitted lack of confidence that prevents him from working more assertively to polish off a hitter.

The second one can be worked on, but all the confidence in the world won’t save you from pitches misfired a foot off the plate followed by ones accidentally grooved in the batter’s sweet spot (but enough about Lamont Wade Jr.).

I don’t think it’s fair to say Oller has no chance to emerge as a competent big league pitcher someday. What is fair to say is that right now he is just painful to watch and by “painful” I mean “annoying,” “aggravating,” “excruciating,” and “clinically depressing”.

If there were only two people on the planet and I needed a pitcher for a big game right now, I would still choose Eve.

So today our nation turns its lonely eyes to Adrian Martinez, for whom I hold more hope which is to say I have some. Not that Martinez gets the call due to recent performance at AAA, because he’s been scuffling: In July’s 25 IP he served up 30 hits, walked 11 and K’d 22 en route to posting a 5.76 ERA. And before you cry, “Las Vegas!” note that 3 of the 5 starts were on the road.

You are, however, allowed to get excited about Denzel Clarke, the toolsy 22-year old outfielder who struggled initially upon being promoted to long-A Lansing mid-June. August has been kind to Clarke with all his skills on display: 8 for 20, with 4 BBs, 3 HRs (2 of them inside-the-park), and 3 doubles, for a fun .400/.500/.1.000 slash line to begin the month.

Meanwhile, we know that there is a clear 2022 mandate: If traded to the A’s, you must instantly suck unless you show proof of injury. Gunnar Hoglund did satisfy the treaty by arriving still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but last night he broke the suck mold by turning in 3 promising innings (3 hits, an unearned run, 1 BB, 1 K, 39 pitches, 26 strikes).

On the flip side, Ken Waldichuk’s debut wasn’t “Luis Medina” awful but it was a departure from the dominance he has displayed all season prior to the trade. Welcome to Las Vegas, where pitching lines tend to look a lot like 3.1 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, 1 HR. What happens in Las Vegas might stay in Las Vegas, but pitches thrown in Las Vegas often land in nearby Henderson.

Sadly, Kevin Smith didn’t get the memo about hitting well because Vegas. Since being optioned to AAA mid-June he is batting .216/.278/.261 in 40 games witha 34.3% K-rate. Perhaps when he’s called back up I need to translate “Uch-may Ado About Othing-Nay” whenever he bats.

If Adam Oller faced Kevin Smith, would the universe explode from contradictory outcomes?

Anyway, that’s a bit of an ad hok “farm report,” brought to you by State Farm, which reminds you: The state of our farm is mixed! They also remind you that Flo is really annoying, but you already knew that.

The A’s vs. That Other Bay Area Team at 1:05pm today. Oakland is 9-6 since the All-Star break. At the 2⁄3 mark they are on pace for a record of 61.5 wins and 100.5 losses. “Only double digits in losses” is the new goal. Let’s do this!!!

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