Tonight Kansas City host the Oakland A’s at Kauffman Stadium for a weekend series. Here is a Q&A with Sean Davis who’s the editor at Swinging A’s.
Kings of Kauffman – What’s been the key to the A’s success so far?
Swinging A’s - The versatility of the roster Billy Beane has built. Injuries have often derailed potentially successful A’s teams in the past, and this team is built to withstand those injuries. It has been a far better solution than simply hoping for health. There isn’t one member of the 25 man roster who doesn’t get to play and make a contribution to this team’s success.
KOK – Who should Royals fans keep an eye on this weekend? Josh Donaldson, the most surprising MVP candidate in the AL.
SA -While he undoubtedly has no shot at winning, he should get some votes if he continues his big season. He has not only been the team’s best hitter, but he has transformed himself into a plus defender at the hot corner. Not bad for a former catcher who couldn’t buy a hit in the Show early last year.
KOK – Both teams have gone different directions since the first series has Oakland done more with pitching or hitting?
SA - Their hitting has been decent, nothing that will overwhelm observers though. The reason the A’s have had so much success is that their pitching staff turned their fortunes around. Bartolo Colon is having an All Star caliber season, Jarrod Parker has rebounded from a rough start, and A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone, and Dan Straily have provided the A’s with a solid back end of the rotation. They may still seek to bolster the depth of their starters though.
KOK – Grant Balfour is closing in on Eck’s club record, what’s been key to his year?
SA - Grant Balfour brings an energy to the mound that is unmatched in baseball. He throws fairly hard and has good stuff overall, but nowhere near the level of Craig Kimbrel and the like who are the most highly regarded closers. His success as closer is more of a credit to his mental toughness and his ability to battle through tough situations.
KOK – Series predictions?
SA - Friday’s game figures to be a high scoring affair between Tommy Milone and Wade Davis, with the other two much more in the pitcher’s duel category. The A’s have always had trouble with Ervin Santana, and Luis Mendoza has pitched well against the A’s also. I still expect them to take the series, most likely dropping the second game versus Santana.