Slap Hitter keeps the Wheels from flying off the A’s bandwagon.

The A’s have lost eight out of ten. It’s been a whole team effort. The starting pitching is going six innings per and the relief pitching is no longer April automatic. The power shortage has been steady since spring training and now the A’s have slipped the clutch hitting for the past fortnight. Fortuna’s wheel is spinning one-run losses as fast as the A’s disable infielders. The Athletics are only two and a half games out of first but it feels like free fall from here. There have been cute stories about the clubhouse guys balling up their little fists and making frown-y faces saying that they’re too good to be playing this bad. But the only way the A’s stay good is if they jump the track they’re traveling and make a new line-up’s worth of alterations.

* New lead-off hitter: Bobby Crosby. It will force the sluggy shortstop to shorten his swing and get on first base.
* Jack Cust never allowed in the outfield again. Not even to get a drink in the bullpen.
* Mike Sweeney first base platoon.
* Kurt Suzuki two days off a week.
* Chad Gaudin 8th inning reliever.
* Return to the mix and match outfield matrix that worked the first month. Everyone plays everywhere (except for Cust, he never gets to play defense.)
* Release Rajai Davis, the designated Out.
* Try taking Blanton out after 5 innings so he doesn’t give up three runs in the 6th as he does every damn start he makes.
* Stop with the pinch-running. The number of times it pays off is a fraction of the number of innings the A’s will go scoreless with all the power guys chilling on the bench.
* And since it’s an American league thing, we need a tenth item. Think about using one of the battling pitchers as a pinch-hitter, they raked during the Atlanta series.

It’s not too late, but the A’s need to do some catching up on this home stand. And give the guy who loses Jack Cust’s glove first dibs on the post-game spread.— Kibby Kleiman


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