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What in the world has happened to Oakland’s Trevor Cahill? The 18-game winner from 2010 who had an ERA under 3.00 was thought of as a Cy Young candidate.

Once the season got under way, Cahill showed everyone that faith in him weekly would pay off. But after starting 6-0, Cahill has become part of the problem in Oakland during its horrific demise.

  Since May 15 the Athletics have dropped Cahill’s last seven starts and he personally took the loss in five. Since May 30, he’s allowed four runs or more in each setback. Needless to say, a weak hitting team like Oakland can’t beat anyone consistently if its starter is giving up that many runs. Heck, not many good hitting teams in baseball can.

  It hasn’t helped that Cahill gets almost no support when taking the mound. In four of his starts over the last seven-game stretch, the A’s have scored three runs or less. Perhaps it’s a product of Cahill just feeling like a beaten man before he even takes the mound, but he’s gotten even worse in his last three starts.

Cahill is no longer is competitive and getting slapped around by everyone lately. Against the White Sox on June 9 he last only 2.2 innings. Tuesday night against the Royals, he lasted only 4.1 innings giving up four runs.

  Yet, by some hard headed respect, his ratings still hold a strong figure that continues to keep him as the favorite in most cases. Even losing 12 of their last 13 games, the A’s were a -165 favorite against the Royals for Cahill’s start.

  Cahill’s next start will be against Matt Cain and the Giants on Sunday. Because of his recent failures, his rating should drop several notches for that matchup giving him a low figure. The best news for Cahill will be that he’ll get to face a light hitting Giants squad. It’s a tough sell in taking him in any start, but the value will be there if brave enough to swallow all his recent starts.

  The main component in getting the nerve to take a chance on the A’s will be how they fare from Wednesday through Saturday. Should they continue to be pathetic like we’ve seen the last two weeks, then staying away from the game is the best bet. But if they can steal a few games and build some confidence, Cahill will be a good play as he’ll feed off the team playing better.

  The Indians haven’t been as bad as the A’s, but they’re pretty close — losing 10 of the last 12 games. In almost an identical story as Cahill’s, Justin Masterson has fizzled along with his team. The Indians won his first six starts with Masterson getting the win in five. Since then, Masterson has slumped with the Indians going 1-7 in his last eight starts.

Masterson has fallen to a 5-5 record, but unlike Cahill, his for each ensuing game has dropped significantly lower with each loss. Masterson hasn’t even imploded in a game like Cahill has done, but the difference is that Cahill has an entire season of great work under his belt while Masterson doesn’t.

Masterson is unproven over the long haul while Cahill was close to taking hardware home last season for being the best in the league.

  While I could be persuaded to roll with Cahill one more time during his slide just because of his past body of work, Masterson is going solo without my support until he figures things out.


Dead-Birds Pen


When Jaime Garcia left the mound during Tuesday’s game at Washington he had pitched six strong innings and was leading 6-2. When the bullpen took over in the seventh, the combination of Miguel Batista and Trever Miller proceeded to give up a six-spot which ultimately decided the game in the Nationals 8-6 win. The blown save opportunity now gives the Cardinals 11 on the season which is one less than the Nationals and two less than league leader Houston in the dubious category.

  The loss was the Cards fourth straight and showed their most glaring weakness as a team. Their bullpen hasn’t been as bad as they were collectively in April, but losses like Tuesday’s should be alarming for the organization and a major occurrence in getting the ball rolling to make a deal for San Diego’s Heath Bell.

 Drabek Going To Vegas 

The party is over for bettors who has been riding Kyle Drabek’s inability to throw strikes consistently as he was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas Tuesday. His four inning stint against the Red Sox on Sunday, where he gave up eight runs fueled by his four walks, was the straw that broke the camels back. Zach Stewart from Double-A New Hampshire will take his place on the roster and is expected to make his major league debut Thursday. Stewart was 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA at New Hampshire, numbers that look pretty similar to Drabek’s time in Toronto.


Bucs Stop at Two


The Pirates have been on a roll lately, but it’s not the kind of roll we see with really good teams winning a bunch of games in a row. The Pirates roll has been able to rely on them not to lose more than two games in a row. Since May 25, they have lost only two games in a row twice, but haven’t won more than two in a row.

Pittsburgh has become a reliable team this year by bringing the same product out nightly. The Pirates get good starting pitching, a few timely hits and have competed with everyone with that formula all season.

  After finishing their series at Houston on Thursday, they’ll take on the Indians at PNC Park. The Pirates will start it off with their best pitcher this season, Kevin Correia, who will be going for his ninth win of the year and a sure invitation to July’s All-Star game in Arizona.

However, the bulk of his damage this season has been done on the road where he is 7-1 with a 2.42 ERA. Batters are hitting only .218 against him on the road. Friday’s game against Cleveland is in Pittsburgh, where Correia is just 1-4 with a 5.54 ERA and opponents are hitting a robust .318. His only home win was 6-2 in interleague play against the Tigers. Altogether, the Bucs are 2-5 behind Correia at home.

  This isn’t to say that he’ll break out of the home slump against Josh Tomlin this Friday, but what happens in the final two games at Houston will play a major role in what I’ll bet for the game.

Should the Pirates either win or lose two in a row coming into Friday, I will shade the Bucs in Correia’s start to either end the slump or the win streak. They are a really good .500 team and live up to it better than most with not too many ups or downs.


Celebrated Rookie


Anthony Rizzo made his Padres debut last Thursday and San Diego has caught the fever. It’s not quite Fernando-mania, but as far as Padres nation is concerned, there hasn’t been a rookie so celebrated for some time in the gas lamp district. Rizzo was acquired in the deal with Boston for Adrian Gonzalez and has both teams very happy at the moment.

  I spent the weekend there and although the season is already a wash, the Rizzo hoopla has given fans reason to feel good about what the future may hold — at least until he’s eligible to leave town via free agency.

  But this has become what modern day baseball is about now. It’s accepted that certain teams in small markets will serve as developmental leagues for the major market, big money teams. We could very well see Rizzo back in Boston for big money in a few years.

  Until then, the Padres can call Rizzo their own. Fans of the small market teams play to a different beat in baseball where just competing and showing promise is now considered a great season.

Look at the Pirates who have gotten more publicity and applause for just being able to hover close to .500. Mediocrity hasn’t been so celebrated since Gaylord Focker’s display of eighth-place ribbons, but we’ll take it.

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