What’s happening in Oakland?

So I think maybe the reports of Billy Beane’s decline were greatly exaggerated.

The A’s currently have in their starting rotation Trevor Cahill, a 22-year-old with a 168 ERA+, Gio Gonzalez, a 24-year-old with a 126 ERA+, Brett Anderson, 22 with a 123 mark, Vin Mazzaro, 23 with a 113, and familiar king-of-the-hill Dallas Braden, freshly 27 with a 124 rate.

But here’s the sort of interesting part: Of the five, only Gonzalez really strikes many batters out, and not really a ton. Cahill and Anderson get a lot of ground balls, but nearly everyone on Oakland’s staff is outperforming his peripherals.

So what’s that about? Most likely it has something to do with the A’s big park and good defense and a little bit of good luck. But I want to stay open to the possibility that Beane has figured out something about pitching that the stats community hasn’t picked up on yet.

I kind of doubt it. But then Braden is going on his third straight season of being about a run better than his xFIP, and Andrew Bailey’s like that too. Certainly far stranger things have happened within the normal course of randomness, but I’d like to be able to maintain this mancrush on Billy Beane as long as possible because he sort of looks like Norm MacDonald, so it helps me identify “my type.”

Anyway, Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse and I preview the A’s-Yanks series here:

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