How to keep ourselves entertained through the drudgery of a lost September? Revenge, of course. Whatever we do well, these days, at least we're doing it to our least favored division-mates!
(All stats except playoff positions prior to Sunday's games.)
The Questions (73 points possible - but you won't get them all)
Game 3 Update: Weaver unsurprisingly casts web of illusion to ensnare A's batters, so we lose 4-1. Game 2 Update: A long, painful, 6-3 loss as the A's ground into 8 or 9 double plays, and Michael Wuertz brings his D-Game to the park, again. Game 1 Update: A's win 6-3. Gio given 3-0 lead by the Pig, keeps game out of Halos' reach long enough for Balfour to close it out. Brandon Allen continues to do his Chris Carter imitation.
1. Sigh. We have to play the Angels twice more before we can put this season behind us. Predict the Series Outcome. [3 points] Angels Win the Series, 2-1
2. The Angels are surprisingly close to the Rangers (2.5 back) - enough so that I would be worried were I a Rangers fan. At the end of the A's series, by how many games are they apart? (Rangers to play two games to the Angels's three, so at the Angels best, a tie is possible.) [3 points] In other playoff "news," Tampa Bay is making a run at Boston, now 3.5 back. How many games behind Boston is Tampa Bay at the end of Wednesday's games? (Rays to play three games to Boston's two.) [3 points] Angels, 3 Games Back / Rays, 4 Games Back
3. The pitching staff has been the weakest link for the post-ASB A's. With the exception of two recent stunning starts by Brandon McCarthy & Guillermo Moscoso, and a clutch 28th out Saturday in Texas by Andrew Bailey, there's been little to cheer. Of the A's starters, who goes deepest into the game? Which reliever pitches the most total innings? Which reliever gets a Shutdown (WPA > .100, none is acceptable)? Do the A's give up fewer than 18 runs total for the series? [2 points each, 8 total] Gio, Goes Deepest (6.2 IP) / FDLS & Breslow, Most Relief IP (2.1 IP each) / No Shutdowns / Yes, Fewer than 18 Runs Given Up (13)
4. After a pretty solid start, Brandon Allen has gone 0-fer-Texas (and 0-fer-KC, before that). Michael Taylor has hardly done better, though to the consternation of A's fans everywhere, he has ridden a lot of pine. Both currently have a BA of .214, whatever that's worth. Predict the following for each: PA / H / XBH / BB / K [2 points each, 20 total] Allen: 12 PA / 3 H / 2 XBH / 1 BB / 4 K; Taylor: 4 PA / 1 H / 0 XBH / 1 BB / 1 K
5. Apparently, 4 of the last 5 rookies to lead their team in HRs and RBIs have won Rookie of the Year. Mark Trumbo's 26 HR and 80 RBIs lead team runner-up Torii Hunter's 20 HR & 75 RBIs. How many HR / RBI for Trumbo? How many for Hunter? [2 points each, 8 total] Trumbo, 1 HR & 2 RBI / Hunter, 0 HR & 0 RBI
5.5 [Sorry - I snuck an extra question in!]. Jemile Weeks, on the other hand, is not a part of the Rookie of the Year competition (unless you listen to KenKo's effusive comments!). He leads all AL Rookies with a .306 BA. Given a low 4.8 BB%, his OBP is just .344 - but still good enough to lead all A's except for Ryan Sweeney. How many H / BB for Weeks? How many for Sweeney? [2 points each, 8 total] Weeks, 1 H & 1 BB / Sweeney, 1 H & 1 BB
6. The only thing that could be much worse than facing Jered Weaver would be facing Weaver and Haren. Still, both Jerome Williams and Joel Pineiro are coming off excellent starts. Guess Weaver's Game Score (+/-3)? Does any starting pitcher (either team) have a better Game Score than Weaver, yes or no? Which A's starter has the best Game Score? Guess that Game Score (+/-3). [2 points each, 8 total] Weaver's GS = 60 (57-63 ok) / No Pitcher Has Better GS / Gio, Best A's GS / 57 (54-60 ok)
7. Let's not forget our trusty Starz 'n Goatz! Name three position players from either team (that's right, no pitchers) who will have the highest WPA among all batters in one of the games. There will only be one player from each game with this achievement, so you are giving three names total, not three from each team. (If you choose a player who does this more than once, you will get points for each game they do it.) Now, do the same for the lowest WPA each game. [2 points each, 12 total] Starz: Willingham (.244) & Matsui (.235) & Abreu (.232) / Goatz: Trout (-.150) & Sweeney (-.314) & Sizemore (-.123)