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Tejada's cold start holding back A's

By Mark Bodenrader, MLB Contributing Editor

Athletics team report

(Sports Network) - It's been a streaky year so far the Oakland Athletics. After getting off to a 7-1 start, the A's dropped six straight games for their longest losing streak since they dropped seven in a row from April 8-15, 2001.

Oakland has since won three of its last five games to put its record at a respectable 10-9. However, most recently, Oakland suffered a 2-1 setback to the Texas Rangers on Sunday to have a two-game winning streak snapped.

A's starter Ted Lilly allowed just one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings Sunday, but Chad Bradford allowed a home run to Carl Everett in the seventh that proved to be the difference.

"I missed location, and he sees the ball well off me," said Bradford. "If I don't hit my spots, he's going to hit me hard."

Oakland plated just one run on Sunday after totaling 21 through the first two games of the set against Texas.

"It's been feast or famine with our offense," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "We held them off the best we could."

Fortunately for the A's, no one else in the competitive AL West has stormed out of the gate either. The Seattle Mariners lead the division with an 11-8 record and hold just a one-game edge over second-place Oakland.

Slow starts are nothing new for the A's. Last season, Oakland was 11-8 through its first 19 games and held a 19-25 mark on May 21. The year before that, the A's got off to an 8-18 start. Despite the early stumbles in each of the previous two years, Oakland managed to reach 100 wins and make the playoffs in both instances.

The main problem for the A's in 2003 has been the cold start of reigning MVP Miguel Tejada. The shortstop, who led Oakland in hitting (.308), home runs (34) and RBI (131) last season, is batting an ugly .175 this year with an on- base percentage of .241 and a slugging percentage of .313. He also has committed four errors in the field.

Tejada has gone just 5-for-44 over his last 11 games.

The young studs in Oakland's starting rotation have been doing their best to keep Oakland from sinking any lower. The trio of Mark Mulder (2), Barry Zito (3) and Tim Hudson (2) has combined for seven of the A's 10 wins this season.

Lilly has also been strong in the rotation for the A's, despite posting just a 1-0 mark through four starts. Lilly leads the team with 22 strikeouts and his ERA of 3.24 is second only to Zito (3.00) among Oakland starters.


Erubiel Durazo is looking like another outstanding acquisition by GM Billy Beane. The former Diamondback has driven in 20 runs this season and is batting .328 with four homers and 14 runs. Catcher Ramon Hernandez (.377) and first baseman Scott Hatteberg (.349) are also swinging hot bats.


Along with Tejada, Jermaine Dye has carried a soft stick so far this season. The rightfielder is batting just .200 with only one home run and six RBI.


The A's resume their nine-game homestand on Tuesday when they host the 1-16 Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game set. The Cleveland Indians then come to town for three contests in the following series.

04/21 13:18:50 ET

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