Sean Gallagher redeemed, the rest of the A's, not so much

By Jason Wojciechowski on May 7, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Turns out I was a bit off-base about Sean Gallagher. He'll start Saturday in place of Brett Anderson, who's still dealing with blister issues. This still raises the question of why he couldn't start last night and figure something else out for Saturday, whether it be Dan Giese or someone else.

Either way, losing Anderson is a bit of a blow, not so much because he's been Bradenesque this year, but because he's showed flashes that he might be able to be a good pitcher, and getting hurt robs him of the opportunity to build on that and to develop. Sean Gallagher, in his scant innings with the club, has the same walk rate as Anderson, a better strikeout rate, and hasn't given up a homer yet. He's also still just 23, which is easy to forget, since he got his first taste of the majors in 2007. Dan Giese's high-walk, low-strikeout, high-homer stylings aren't going to get it done in the short term or the long, so here's hoping that Gallagher actually performs the way his minor-league numbers insist he can.

At this point, though, you do have to start wondering if the season is already lost. Five games back is nothing when there are 137 to play, but so far, everything that looked like a downside of this A's team has come to pass: Eric Chavez and Nomar Garciaparra are, in fact, still injury-prone; so is Mark Ellis; Jason Giambi might be done; Travis Buck's development may have stalled out completely; Orlando Cabrera's a defensive whiz with nothing left in his bat; Matt Holliday can't adjust to the better league and a tough park; Justin Duchscherer's arm can't actually handle pitching; Dana Eveland just doesn't have the stuff to be a big leaguer; Gio Gonzalez can't throw a strike in the major leagues; Trevor Cahill hasn't harnessed his filthy stuff yet.

Not all of these things will turn out to be true over the course of the season. But the question is whether enough of them will reverse themselves to make the A's contenders. I think Ellis will come back fine but not really hit; Buck will hit better, but not up to what's expected of him; Holliday will do the same; and Cahill will be a vastly better pitcher in the second half than he's been so far. But that still leaves Chavez, Giambi, Duchscherer, Eveland, Nomar, and Gio on the downside. And Kurt Suzuki is probably going to lose something off of his .312 batting average to this point. In short, it looks like another long summer for the A's, and another sub-.500 season.