Why worry about A's whiffs?

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Why worry about A's whiffs?

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ARLINGTON -- There are many ways to describe a swing and a miss at the plate, or a called third strike. They are known as strikeouts, whiffs, punchouts, Ks -- they aren't good -- and this season the A's have found a way to make us overuse the aforementioned terms.

Oakland batters have stuck out an ongoing franchise record 1322 times. The Athletics franchise has been in Major League Baseball since 1901. That means the A's haven't struck out this many times in 111 years. With 15 punchouts on Tuesday night, the A's are now three away from breaking the all-time American League record of 1,324 recorded by the Rays in 2007. That will most certainly happen in Wednesday's game. The Major League Baseball record is 1,529 set by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010.
RELATED: 2012 A's stats page
This season the A's lead the majors in the strikeouts, but does it really matter? They are having their best season since 2006. The all-or-nothing approach is something that has been working for them at the plate. The team has 99 home runs since the All-Star Break which ties them for the most in baseball. The team's 182 long balls this season are tied for seventh in MLB, and the club is 73-37 when they hit a homer. They may swing and miss a lot, but at least they are taking mighty hacks. The A's have scored 339 runs since the All-Star Break, the second most in the American League. Prior to the break they had scored an A.L. worst 319 runs.While the all-or-nothing approach works most of the time, it also lends itself to the occasional result of nothing, rather than all. Oakland has been shutout 16 times which ties them with the Miami Marlins for the most in baseball. The 16 shut outs is the third highest total in Oakland history; the record of 19 was set in 1978. With the good you have to take the bad. The strikeouts seem to be a necessary evil for the A's based on their currently successful approach at the plate. So are the whiffs really an issue? What do you think? Weigh in! The comments section is below.

Instant Replay: Too much Keuchel, A's drop series to Astros

Instant Replay: Too much Keuchel, A's drop series to Astros

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The A’s got a sampling of what’s made Dallas Keuchel one of the majors’ top pitchers through the first month.

The Astros lefty pitched into the eighth and allowed just one Athletic to advance past first base as Oakland absorbed a 7-2 loss in the rubber game of this weekend series at Minute Maid Park.

After an off-year in 2016, Keuchel has regained his 2015 Cy Young-winning form, becoming the American League’s first five-game winner of 2017. He held the A’s to three hits over 7 2/3 innings, as the A’s fell to 1-5 so far on this three-city road trip. They’ve been held to two or fewer runs in five of their past seven games.

Jesse Hahn (1-2) turned in a quality start for the A’s, going six innings and giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits. The Astros got a run off him in the first when George Springer beat out an infield hit and scored from first on Carlos Correa’s double down the left-field line. Evan Gattis’ double off the top of the left field wall scored another run in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

Then a key play came in the fifth. Brian McCann hit a sharp bouncer toward first that took a big hop and got past Ryon Healy for a two-run single and a four-run cushion that Keuchel (5-0) wasn’t going to let slip away.

The A’s closed April with an 11-14 record and trail first-place Houston by five games

Starting pitching report

With Sonny Gray returning from the disabled list, Hahn is trying to prove he deserves to stick in the rotation moving forward. He was coming off an outstanding performance in Anaheim, when he held the Angels to one hit over eight innings. He wasn’t as sharp Sunday, but he wasn’t terrible either. The right-hander struck out six and didn’t issue a walk, but his command betrayed him a bit in the fourth. With one out, he hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch and then advanced him to second with a wild pitch. Hahn fell behind Gattis 3-1 when the A’s killer hit a run-scoring double to left that fell just a few feet short of being a home run. The Astros’ two-run rally in the fifth was aided by Josh Reddick reaching base on yet another catchers’ interference play. Stephen Vogt was called for the infraction twice Friday night with Reddick hitting. Josh Phegley was behind the plate Sunday.

Bullpen report

Any thoughts of an A’s ninth-inning comeback were dashed when Frankie Montas served up a three-run homer to Marwin Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth. Oakland’s bullpen has surrendered 16 runs in 15 2/3 innings against the Astros this season for a 9.19 ERA.

At the plate

The A’s offense got cranking too little too late. Trailing 4-0 in the eighth, Adam Rosales singled and eventually came around to score on Ryon Healy’s two-out single. Rosales aided the rally with a steal of second base, which snapped a string of eight games without a stolen base for Oakland. They’re expecting to welcome Rajai Davis back from the disabled list Tuesday, and his speed is certainly needed with the offense scuffling. Down 7-1 in the ninth, Josh Phegley doubled and scored on Chad Pinder’s single. The A’s loaded the bases with two outs, prompting Astros manager A.J. Hinch to call on closer Ken Giles to retire Yonder Alonso for the final out.

In the field

Phegley’s catchers’ interference call went down as the game’s only error.

Attendance

The turnout was 34,880.

Up next

The A’s wrap this nine-game road trip with three at Minnesota. They went 4-2 against the Twins last year. Sonny Gray will make his first start of the season in Tuesday’s 5:10 opener, opposed by Ervin Santana (4-0, 0.77). Wednesday — Kendall Graveman (2-1, 2.25) vs. lefty Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.43), 5:10 p.m. Thursday — Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.00) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06), 10:10 a.m.

A's lineup: Only one lefty bat against Astros' Keuchel

A's lineup: Only one lefty bat against Astros' Keuchel

The A's go up against left-hander Dallas Keuchel for some day baseball and manager Bob Melvin is stacking the order with right-handed bats.

Oakland A's (11-13)

1. Adam Rosales (R) SS
2. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
3. Ryon Healy (R) 1B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Jed Lowrie (S) DH
6. Josh Phegley (R) C
7. Chad Pinder (R) 2B
8. Matt Joyce (L) RF
9. Ryan LaMarre (R) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros (15-9)

1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
7. Evan Gattis (R) DH
8. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
Dallas Keuchel -- LHP