It started well. Midway through the 3rd inning, the A's led 3-0 and Justin Duchscherer was painting. Then in the 3rd, Duchscherer gave up back-to-back HRs and it was 3-2. Then in the 4th, Duchscherer limped off the mound after throwing a pitch, favoring his hip and wincing.
Steve Sayles and Bob Geren came out as Duke, still limping and wincing, said he was fine, and he was not even made to prove it with a single warmup pitch. Duchscherer threw several more pitches in the game, visibly limping and wincing after each one as the manager sniffed his finger and the trainer contemplated the team's other 94 injuries. This was truly astounding. Predictably, Duchscherer exited soon after and fittingly for this trainwreck of a day, Jerry Blevins immediately served up a 3-run HR to John Buck -- who, by the way, homered three times in the game.
The A's expected to have all of the following players available right now, yet they do not have any of them available:
Even in a weak division, a team just can't compete without 2/5 of its rotation, 2 of its 3 best relievers, its starting catcher and 2Bman, each considered among the elite defensively in the league, plus 2 solid defensive OFers -- though on the bright side, I do think Oakland will be nicely represented in the "DL gold glove" awards.
Whether you consider it more frustrating or depressing, more the result of bad luck or bad practice, the A's injury situation has reached the point where it has literally crippled Oakland's chances of competing. It is, unfortunately, that simple, just as the question of how to reverse the trend is confounding.
The A's are tied for 1st place tonight, and I couldn't feel less ok right now -- and judging from how deflated the team looked from the time Duchscherer left the mound right to the end when 3 A's whiffed in the 9th to end the game, I don't think I'm the only one losing hope that the A's will actually get to field their team this year. Which is all I ever really wanted.