Boston 11, A's 6
The Red Sox haven't been the offensive juggernaut of this year's Yankees, nor have they quite lived up to their own recent powerhouse performances.
Yet they're still third in the AL in runs scored, comfortably above the second or third tier of offenses.
And today demonstrated why:
- Facing a crafty hurler lacking an out pitch and who tosses to contact? Hit the pitches "where they are" and dink 'im to death with singles.
- Facing a cavalcade of relative unknown relievers who have dominated their minor-league opponents but have struggles at the MLB level? Wait 'em out and smash the mistake/frustration meatballs.
Ultimately, even though "our" Lugo did a nice job of minimizing the damage in the fugly 6th inning, today's result was mainly about A's pitchers not being able to escape jams of their own making. Blanton was actually fortunate to only give up 5 runs in 5 innings of work, and Blevins and Brown seemed to be all over the place with their control.
Whether Beane trades Blanton in the offseason or not -- heck, even whether Harden is able to come back with some semblance of health in '08 or not -- I just don't think the A's can consider their pitching to be a strength heading into the offseason. Haren pitched at a more normal/expected performance level in the second half, Blanton is always going to give up a fair amount of hits and operate without much margin for error, the "front end" of the bullpen is good but not great, and the rest of the rotation and the back end of the bullpen are questionable at best and may likely be decimated by the requisite 40-man roster moves in the offseason.
On the offensive side, it was nice to see Scutaro's death grip on the starting SS job relaxed today, with Murphy dropping a 3-run bomb (seriously: has anyone seen any information or speculation about why Murphy's playing time has decreased so drastically since he came back from his injury? Perhaps just showcasing Scutaro?), Piazza contributing a solo shot, and Baron Von Barton continuing to perhaps even exceed expectations.
Oddly enough, I'm starting to feel quasi-comfortable with the A's projected offense heading into '08. A tweak here and there, and it might almost be respectable.
The A's have the day off tomorrow while they fly home to finish out the season vs the Angels. See y'all Friday at 7:05 PT.