Issue: Is the bug back?
Analysis: Oakland’s thrilling victory Tuesday was the type that, under normal circumstances, could be a “propeller” win.
You know, the type so uplifting that it propels a team toward a ripping-good-fun run of baseball, maybe even taking an early season underdog into a summer of surprising contention.
These are the A’s, though, so any enthusiasm associated with the win, which continued the remarkable Brandon Inge story, has to be tempered by the injury news that came out before the game even started.
- Rookie sensation Yoenis Cespedes, the team leader with 21 RBIs, took a swing during batting practice, dropped his bat, spun in the cage while wincing in obviously incredible pain, and was immediately scratched from the lineup.
- Opening Day starter Brandon McCarthy, he of the frequent trips to the disabled list as the result of stress fractures in his throwing shoulder, is dealing again with shoulder pain. His scheduled Tuesday start was skipped — not pushed back, skipped — and while he’s listed as probable for Saturday, his history has to give you pause.
This is the kind of news that takes the joy out of a walk-off grand slam, for if you’re a longtime A’s fan, you’re conditioned to expect the worst.
Might the news be good, and thereby cause to cancel the alarm? Sure. But Cespedes didn’t start again Wednesday, and we’ve seen the A’s of recent vintages get off to promising starts like this time and again, only to be derailed by injuries to key contributors.
Cespedes and McCarthy, in their own ways, are as key to Oakland’s summer success as it gets.