So today's game wasn't the prettiest I've ever seen, but--oh who am I kidding--We are the new edgy-A's fans now, just a touch bitter and jaded and stuff instead of kittens and unicorns; I can be honest about the game. The A's defense sucked. Half way through the game, I wanted to remind them that it wasn't Milone's fault that Tyson Ross is starting tomorrow.
It must be a really sunny sky, or a team-wide case of the yips, but four errors is crazy unusual for the normally sure-handed Athletics' defense. Stephen Drew (who is still hitless for the A's, but did walk twice) booted a ball in the first, Josh Donaldson (who can't stop getting hits for the A's; he was another 2 for 4 on the day) made a throwing error in the fourth, which Cliff Pennington at second base saved from becoming a bigger problem; Coco Crisp (who was red-hot-on-fire today) dribbled one around in the outfield in the fourth, and Josh Reddick made the fourth error in the seventh by dropping a fly ball.
But hey! It doesn't matter, not one bit, when Tommy Milone decides to spin a gem of a game. The best of both worlds: Let the defense get all of the bad plays out of the way against a team that is not the Rays, and still win the game!
Despite all of the Twins' extra chances, Milone was unflappable, putting together a performance that might have even bested teammate Brett Anderson's start yesterday. Milone went 8 full innings, allowing just two hits and one run, while striking out five and walking just one. This start couldn't have come at a better time for the A's; just as one pitcher exited the rotation for the season, Milone reminded us that he's still there for the long haul. The only run the Twins would manage was off a single, a double and a RBI ground-out in the second inning. He danced neatly around the errors, calling up a double play at will to bail out the defense.
And if the Milone resurgence wasn't good news enough, Ryan Cook came into the game in the ninth with the A's leading 5-1, and struck out the side, allowing nothing but a two-out single.
Coco Crisp deserves most of the credit for the A's offense today; he walked to lead off the first inning, reached second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a Drew fly ball, and was singled in by Reddick. Pennington doubled to lead off the fourth and Crisp singled to put two on. Drew walked to load the bases, and after Reddick popped up, Cespedes singled to plate two, and give the A's a 3-1 lead. Donaldson would double in the fourth and Coco would drive him in with another double, and Coco would homer in the seventh to give the A's the insurance, and guarantee the win.
The A's are a season-high 11 games over .500 (I KNOW!), slow-dancing with Miss .545 (she's hot!), and still well in the thick of the playoff race, and dammit, I'm still going to be as excited about it as I was this morning.
And this is all I'm going to say about that:
Dear Bartolo Colon,
Screw you. Thanks a lot for ruining a great story for the A's and for ruining a great story with your own career at the same time. People wanted to root for you; we all loved you. It seemed like a fairy tale ending at the twilight of your career in this great game of baseball; that you would resurrect your pitching prowess and lead the A's to the playoffs over their bitter rivals, your former team. You were part of a rotation that was rivaling the Angels and the Rays; a team that is going places, and now obviously continuing on without you.
You know what you did, though? You tainted the A's magical 2012 season by being a cheat. You took a rotation spot away from a player who certainly deserved it more. You put negative attention on a team who has already struggled so much in the middle of a rebuild, and the uncertainty of a stadium move. You have lumped the A's with the cross-rival Giants and made us just like them. More immediately, you have screwed the A's for tomorrow; in what is one of the biggest series of the entire season. You have reduced us to starting Tyson Ross in a season where we can, and have, done better. I hope you watch the game tomorrow and realize that you are responsible for every single run that the Rays score. Actually, I hope you watch all of the games, the rest of the season, because the A's are playing to win even without you.
It's a good thing you're replaceable. Starting pitching for the A's is the one thing we have in spades, and Tommy Milone, Dan Straily, Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy and Jarrod Parker will take over for the stretch run. Which you will miss out on. I hope you realize that you traded the option of ending your career with a blaze of playoff glory on an underdog team for the shame and taint of being labeled a cheat forever. I sure hope it was worth it.
And now I'm moving on; the A's are moving on, and everyone will be behind Tyson Ross 100% tomorrow, because he isn't a cheat. And hell, if we're going to call ourselves underdogs, we might as well be actual underdogs and that pitching match-up certainly qualifies.
And for any other players out there on my team or on any other team who are in the same boat: Stop. F***ing. Cheating.
I'm forgetting you already,
The Rays won earlier today to keep pace in the Wild Card race, so the A's will really have to gear up for tomorrow's game, even after a cross-country flight with no off-day. Anaheim plays at 4PM today; so does Detroit, and Texas and Baltimore play at 5PM. The A's will play tomorrow at 4PM in Tampa Bay; Tyson Ross vs. Alex Cobb. The A's will need every single run they can muster up to not drop any further behind the Rays; it's a huge series, probably their biggest to date this season. We'll see you back here, for the only game thread this week that is not mine!