You’ll have to forgive me because I started to write this at work last Friday when I thought we’d take 3 of 4 from Seattle and before we scored 10 runs (and STILL lost!). Though I was pleased to see that the A’s did send out a somewhat more offensive minded line up (DJ, Cust, Swisher and Piazza all in one line up) and it paid off with some runs....
So aside from a small prospect trade here or there is doesn’t look like (surprise, surprise) our offense can expect any Teixerias, Dyes or Tejadas coming to help anytime soon (and we may even lose a Piazza/Stewart in the process), so it appears this is the team we’re going to need to make work (ie. play way above their pay grade in August and September to make things interesting).
If my addition is correct, our boys have played in 32 One Run Games this year. And since I’m not like most ANers and can’t find out where to look up how many extra inning games we’ve played this year, I’m going go with 5 because I don’t think we’ve played more than that.
All of which you need to keep in mind when I make the statement (that all of major league baseball thinks is absolutely ridiculous) of the A’s need to start playing like it’s little league or pre-"this time it counts" All-Star Game baseball and get everyone in the game.
The truly biggest problem with this team is we’ve got two guys in DJ and Cust who are much better offensively than five guys (Kotsay, Suzuki, Murphy, Scutaro, and Ellis), who are superior defensively and in positions that the first two guys can’t play. You know, kind of like little league. So it just seems natural to me that since we play a hell of a lot more close games than extra inning games to use EVERYONE at your disposal during a nine inning game.
Facing a #1 or #2 where offensive is going to be a premium? Save your heavy hitters for later in the game and send out your best defense to keep it close. Facing a #4 or #5, go with the thunder and left your defensive guys come in later to protect the lead.
For example, start Cust in RF, Swisher in CF, Stewart in LF with DJ at first for a better offensive chance and replace them after the 7th or 8th if it doesn’t look like they’ll get another shot up with Kotsay in CF, Buck in RF (he can pinch run for Cust too or pinch hit for Ellis, Murphy, Suzuki, etc) Swisher at 1B and whoever Buck pinch hit for with whatever IF was on the bench.
Or, if you’ve gone Defense first, pinch hit a Cust/DJ for a Kotsay/Suzuki/Murphy/Scutaro/Ellis and use the other guy on your bench as a defensive replacement. Suzuki should be catching, but who says he’s got to play 9 innings every game? What’s wrong with 3 ABs and 6-7 innings, a pinch hitter in a key spot and a back up catcher (you know, who’s been in the bullpen warming up the reliever coming in) for 2-3 innings?
Oh, that’s right, because what if the back up catcher gets hurt of you’ve used all your guys and the game is tied? Hmmm, isn’t part of being an Oakland Athletic playing the numbers and likelihoods (ie. 32 one run games where a pinch hitter may have changed the game vs. 5 extra inning games)...
Just a thought for AN and Oakland Management to consider for the rest of the season and maybe into next season since I can’t see any of our guys suddenly become offensive studs or us going out a getting a true 3-4-5 guy. Though it would be nice to at least add some speed (which seems to be cheaper) to next year’s roster.