For the second Sunday in a row, the Oakland A's failed to complete a three game sweep. This time, it was a come from ahead defeat, my favorite kind. Just like many games recently, the A's had several opportunities to deal significant damage but failed to come through.
On the plus side, the A's had already won the season series with the Red Sox before the game began. Additionally, they just wrapped up a home stand in which they won every series, going 6-3 against the Angels, Mariners and Red Sox. Most importantly, from my perspective, the A's have a realistic shot at completing their first .500 or better campaign since 2006. I mean, they have now been at .500 273,000 times this season.
I billed this game "The Battle of Bulldogs" in the initial game thread. While that meme eventually lost it's relevance, the first three innings had me thinking, "What exactly is the definition of a bulldog?"
Dallas Braden and Josh Beckett are two pitchers I really admire. Other than the fact that I admire them, they have little in common. Braden is a soft tossing lefty who relies on changing speeds. Beckett is hard throwing righty who relies on blowing it by hitters. But I think of both of them as "Bulldogs."
To me, a bulldog is a guy who stands on the mound and knows he owns it. I am not talking about yelling at A-Rod, though I imagine at some point Beckett has too. What I mean is, they have what they have and they take it right at the hitter, regardless of the name on the back of his jersey. Or as Tom Petty once put it:
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - I Won't Back Down (via TomPettyHrtbrkrsVEVO)
Braden and Beckett made the game a Base on Balls bonanza for the first three innings. Neither seemed to have any command, but they didn't back down and wiggled their way out of self inflicted jam after self inflicted jam. To me, this is the key hallmark of a "Bulldog." It is a pitcher, who even when he is struggling, finds a way to get out of jam after jam. My favorite Bulldog of all time is Tim Hudson, and at times today I saw a bit of Huddy in both guys on the hill.
Three other thigns I took from today's game:
- Rajai needs to be non tendered, traded or otherwise off the A's 40 man roster this off season. The guy is what he is and it ain't pretty. He is only valuable as a fifth outfielder, and I think the A's have better candidates. This really isn't based on today alone, but it was obvious today. I'm with Coco, and maybe Sweeney as the back up in CF.
- Steve Tolleson will slide into the supersub role nicely next year. I imagine that Rosales may be Ellis' heir apparent. If that is so, and I am not advocating for the unicorn to leave (though I think it is probably what will happen), Rosales will do fine as the everyday 2nd basemen. And if he doesn't, Cardenas will probably be ready around June.
- Someone else needs to run the game threads on Sunday. I am bad luck.
What did you guys get out fo today's game?