One of the downsides of a rebuilding season is that occasionally a player will be put in the majors before they're ready, especially when you have a series of serious injuries. Gio Gonzalez seems to be a victim of this. He's still only 22 years old (he'll be 23 years old in 11 days). I don't really think his stuff is bad, I think it's just a matter of him having a tough time hitting the zone and when he finally does, it's in predictable fastball counts where a hitter can tee off on his 91-92 MPH fastball. He should probably get pulled from the rotation before he gets ruined mentally. Course you have to expect a lineup like the Tigers to be itching to face someone like Gio. He's a lefty, struggling to hit the zone and when he does, it tends to be centered.
Josh Outman followed and didn't fair much better. He gave up three runs in less than three innings. He does look like he has a pretty good fastball, but the Detroit announcers kept commenting on how straight it was. Speaking of Detroit announcers, I love it when folks from larger markets continually rag on the A's. I mean, Dude, all the Pizza, Pizza money in the world isn't going to get you into the playoffs this year. Who cares if you have guys like Sheffield, Ordonez and Polanco in the lineup if you aren't going to come anywhere near the postseason? I really wish Major League Baseball would get with the 21st Century and give us the option to watch the A's broadcasts. After 143 games, I'm pretty tired of hearing all the chumps calling games for other teams. The A's TV team isn't the best one in the majors, but they aren't revolting like so many others out there.
The A's actually outhit the Tigers 13-12 but A's pitching wound up giving up a lot of extra base hits as well as walking five batters and hitting three. It's just one of those games where the A's offense actually showed up but the pitching wasn't in sync.
It's weird because I can honestly say that outside of these last two years with the A's, I can't remember going through a whole lot of losing seasons with my favorite teams. The New Jersey Devils have been very good for a long, long time. The A's have been very, very good for a long time. It really makes one appreciate those good times and long for them. Remember the days of Giambi and Dye in the middle of the order and Hudson, Mulder and Zito going every three out of five days? I'm going to appreciate this so much more when the team finally takes that jump forward again. It's nights like this with Gio that make you realize that it might be longer away than I think.
By the way, check in with fellow A's fan saint over at Silver and Black Pride tonight. The Raiders open up the season and with JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden, you never know if the Raiders could be bound for a good year this year. I'm no Al Davis fan, but the silver and black are somewhat interesting in 2008 because of those two young talents.