Man, I love baseball.
That is the first thing that crosses my mind after a game like today's. The A's ran their JV team up against a resurgent Francisco Liriano. Considering that the A's lineup had only scored more runs than five teams in all of baseball coming into the game, and Francisco Liriano had only allowed 2 runs over his pervious 21.2 innings, it seemed runs would be hard to get.
Add to that, Bobby Cramer was making his second career start against a team that has scored 723 runs. Tied for fifth most in all of baseball. It wouldn't have been shocking if the A's had whimpered quietly on their way out of the gorgeous Target Field on the wrong end of a lopsided score.
All seemed on target as Rajai Davis grounded out to third to start the game. It didn't seem alarming when Daric Barton ripped a solid single through the right side of the infield. That is what Barton does. It was then, that series of odd occurrences had me smiling. Mark Ellis hit a questionable call aided double down the left field line. A Kurt Suzuki duck snort into no man's land in short Right Field followed and the A's had staked Cramer to lead before he ever stepped on the hill. Perhaps the strangest part of the first inning? The A's managed to add on! With two outs and the bases loaded, Akinori Iwamura drove a single to center, proving that he isn't quite an "A" just yet.
Cramer was solid, if not spectacular, in his 5.2 Innings of work. He issued three free passes and surrendered five hits. The last two hits were no doubt about it home runs from Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome, which means Cramer has now surrendered 3 runs in his big league career and all have come on solo HR's. I'd say he earned himself another turn on the mound.
An interesting decision faces the A's this off season. Well, several interesting decisions, but the one I am thinking about right now is what to do about the Unicorn. Ellis' bat made a statement today, he went 3 for 3 (HR, 2B) with 2 BB's. It will be interesting to see how the A's decide to approach Second Base this off season.
On the one hand, they could decline Ellis' option and try to sign him for cheaper. They could decline the option and hand the job to Adam Rosales. Does Iwamura factor in at all? Steve Tolleson's ability to be a big league Utility player? What about Adrian Cardenas?
How would you approach Second Base for the 2011 season?