Today's game was essentially decided in the bottom of the 2nd inning, when the A's scored 5 times off of Fausto Carmona and never looked back. With a name like Fausto, you have to wonder about sold souls and such, or perhaps my puppy theory has some validity. How else do you explain a pitcher getting high pop fly after high pop fly, only to have one after the other fall into a Bermuda Triangle of "lack of Indianness" -- with one actually clanking off the glove of Trevor Crowe for an error? (If his routes are "as the crow flies," then crows seriously need to lay off the liquor.)
Dana Eveland wobbled a bit, per always, but turned in a solid enough 5 innings of 1 run ball, while the A's picked up where they left off -- and finally actually hit the ball hard off Carmona -- in the 6th inning and finished with a 15-hit attack that included two more hits by "I'm a fluke but I'm also good" Rajai Davis and a 3-hit game by Adam Kennedy that included his 11th HR.
A few more thoughts, "Potpourri style"...
* Travis Hafner's bat looks slow. He seemed to be slapping at the ball just trying to hit it to the left side -- when he didn't swing late and miss completely. Between Carmona (3-12) and Hafner, the Indians may have two highly paid albatrosses on their hands. Remember, A's fans, it could be worse and usually is if you look around the league at other non big-market clubs.
* On the A's radio broadcast, Ken has been talking about Jim Skaalan's work with Cliff Pennington, getting him to turn on inside pitches. We saw a specific example of this today when Pennington pulled a double one-hop off the RF wall. One reason I think Skaalan is the best hitting coach the A's have had in years is that when we hear about specific work he is doing with a player (a toe-tap timing device, turning on inside pitches, a slight change in stance or approach), we tend to see results soon after that relate directly to what has been worked on. That's a good sign, and in this case gives at least a glimmer of hope that Pennington may be able to improve a bit upon his low slugging percentage in the minors.
* It will never happen. It just won't, burned bridges being what they are. But if the Cubs release Milton Bradley (who is now suspended for the rest of the season for trashing the Cubs in a media interview), any team will have the chance to pick up Bradley for two years while the Cubs pay his salary sans the major league minimum. Insta-clean up hitter at league minimum; kind of a Frank Thomas like opportunity. You'll never see this, but could the A's contend in 2010 if they could insert Bradley -- while paying him the same salary they're paying Pennington -- into the OF, platoon Sweeney and Hairston, and put this lineup out there?
Davis - CF
Cust - DH
Sweeney/Hairston - RF/LF
Bradley - LF/RF
Suzuki - C
Chavez --> Wallace - 3B
Ellis - 2B
Barton - 1B
Pennington - SS
Ah, Milty. Sigh.