Stephen Strasburg's teammates let him down again in loss

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After getting stuck with a loss and a no-decision despite allowing one run in each of his previous two starts Stephen Strasburg’s teammates let him down again last night versus the Braves.
The lineup failed to score a run in seven innings, shortstop Ian Desmond committed his 19th error by booting a double play that at least would have kept the score 0-0, and Sean Burnett allowed both inherited runners to score after coming on in relief.
Don’t let the box score fool you. Strasburg was good. His teammates stunk.
He’s now just 2-2 in five starts despite a 2.27 ERA, .216 opponents’ batting average, and 48/7 K/BB ratio in 31.2 innings. And if Desmond makes that play or the Nationals don’t completely implode behind Strasburg after the botched DP his ERA would still be under 2.00.
Strasburg is every bit as amazing as even the most ridiculous hype claimed he would be, but he’s still not good enough to make up for the other 24 guys on a team that has lost nearly two-thirds of their games over the past three seasons.
Finding a way to give him proper offensive, defensive, and bullpen support yet this season is probably asking too much, but hopefully the Nationals can make some major strides this offseason so the early years of Strasburg’s career aren’t littered with losses and no-decisions in games he pitched brilliantly.
With even average support Strasburg could easily be 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA right now.

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?