Pen that is. And I'm grouping Kirk Saarloos in that classification even though he was the starting pitcher tonight. This win was all about the bullpen.
KICU flashed a graphic towards the end of the game tonight that said that the A's had played 42 one-run games (now 43) which was the most in the majors. It also said that the team had won 16 of its last 20 one-run games. To me, that speaks volumes about the formula upon which this team is constructed, which is pitching and defense. But in order to win some of those one-run games it means that the bullpen has done some absolutely remarkable work. Calero, Joe Kennedy and Justin Duchscherer put the huge exclamation point on this game, a game that was pitched beautifully by Kirk Saarloos who basically got up and announced that he wants to stay in that fifth starter role. Granted, it's a lot easier without Ortiz and Ramirez there to swing the sticks.
So the A's could potentially end the night with a 7.5 game lead on the hated Angels who are losing 6-4 in the Emerald City. Hopefully the M's hang on.
A few notes...I don't like Boston but that catch by Coco Crisp to rob Jay Payton may have been the most incredible catch I'd ever seen. It very well may be the web gem of the year. It also made the game a lot more uncomfortable than it could've been. It's fun watching a couple of really great defensive teams going toe-to-toe. I love the defensive part of the game, which is why I supposed I love Chavez and Kotsay so much.
Mark Mulder's ERA over his last couple of starts is near 30.00. The guy really appears to have completely lost it. I'm hoping it's just an injury, but it's amazing to see someone who was once so dominant fall off the face of the earth.
Finally, send some positive vibes up north for the Mariners Rafael Soriano who took a vicious line drive off the head from Vlad Guerrero. He was removed from the game on a stretcher. So just send some of your best hopes and wishes to the kid. It's just awful to think about it.
I'll be going to the game tomorrow and leaving really early, so I leave you in the more than capable hands of baseballgirl. Zito vs. Schilling...and it could be my last time seeing Z live. Awesome.