In the absence of banged-up veteran Coco Crisp, the A's looked to rookie Billy Burns to step up - and he has done just that. A pesky hitter at the plate, Burns had a hitting streak that almost hit 20 games, makes absurd, high-flying defensive plays on a regular basis and is blossoming into a potential Rookie of the Year candidate atop the lineup. Not bad for someone picked up without much fanfare back in 2013.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsJake Roth
July 1: Billy Butler motors around the bases
Billy Butler is not known for his speed. Rather, he's primarly known for his nickname, 'Country Breakfast', and his lack of mobility on the bases. That's why his triple to left field on July 1 against the Colorado Rockies was so much fun. In fact, it provided A's first baseman Ike Davis with an opportunity to crack wise, telling MLB.com that 'the outfielder almost has to die' in order for Butler to leg out a three-base hit.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
July 9: Marcus Semien's 28th error
Shortstop Marcus Semien was the centerpiece of the A's off-season trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox. Offensively, Semien's been fine, but his defense is approaching disaster territory. Having committed almost 30 errors prior to the All-Star break, Semien is definitely a work in progress. The A's hired former Rangers manager Ron Washington to help coach Semien in hopes of turning his defense around, and he has shown glimpses of hope - but he still has a long way to go with the glove.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
July 6: An All-Star battery is born
The A's have a pair of All-Stars representing them in the game this year: ace Sonny Gray and catcher Stephen Vogt. The two know each other very well, having developed a rapport in the minor leagues before teaming up to baffle hitters in the majors. Gray, one of the AL's top pitchers so far this season, is enjoying a very dominant sophomore year in the A's rotation. Vogt, too, is enjoying HIS breakout campaign, one that led to him collecting more votes from his AL teammates for the ASG than the fan-vote winner, Sal Perez of the Kansas City Royals. Oakland may be having a tough year, but these two certainly aren't.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Low: Wasting the run differential advantage
The A's will begin the second half of the season with a +44 run differential (meaning they've scored 44 more runs than they've allowed). That both compliments the pitching staff for limiting damage and condemns the club for somehow managing to be in last place anyway. For comparison's sake, the now second-place Houston Astros will start out the second half at +50, the first-place Washington Nationals at +36, the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers at +62, and so on.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada
May 28: Doolittle's only 2015 appearance (so far)
Closer Sean Doolittle, who made the 2014 All-Star team, has only thrown one inning of work in 2015. Off-season rotator cuff surgery delayed his season debut until May 28, when he threw with much less velocity than the A's were accustomed to seeing from him. A few days later, he hit the DL with a shoulder strain, and it's unclear if he'll pitch again this season. Given the A's ongoing bullpen concerns this season, a healthy Doolittle probably could have provided a boost for the relief corps. Instead, it's a mess.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY SportsKelley L Cox
June 10: Reddick gives A's lone walk-off win
The A's success in 2012-2014 was marked by an abundance of thrilling last-at-bat wins. Those have been hard to come by in 2015, as they only managed one (1) walk-off victory at O.co Coliseum in the first half. Josh Reddick, pictured, drove in the run with a well-placed ground ball, sending him and his teammates into a much-needed celebration. That they have so few of these moments this season is an example of just how tough things have been.