Have had quite a few thoughts fly through the brain over the past 24 hours or so and wanted to get them down somewhere for reaction.
A few thoughts from last night (Tuesday's game)Ouch. That one stung quite a bit.
The positives: we scored on every pitcher that came into the game. We still host game 5.
The negatives: The bullpen. Josh Reddick's bat (under .200 with the bases loaded for his career?!). Josh Donaldson. Managing the game*.
* There are a few things I want to point out here. I thought Callaspo should have been in the starting lineup. Sogard is still at an 0-fer for the series and that's unacceptable. The difference in fielding is not significant relative to the dead weight at the bottom of the A's lineup. Callaspo needs to be in the lineup in game 5.
The only other complaint I have about the way things were managed was the use of Anderson. He either should have started the inning, or we should have went elsewhere. I don't know this for sure, but I don't remember seeing Anderson come in in the middle of an inning over the past few weeks/months. (?) At the same time, he continues to struggle with the first few batters. My "solution" to this has been mentioned before: have him basically pitch a simulated inning in the bullpen / an extended warm-up. Use Otero, Chavez, Blevins to get out of an inning and have Brett start the next.
Which brings us to ...
So, how's your blood pressure? Game 5 ... O.co ... Verlander and Colon. I say Colon because I don't want to throw Gray out there to start the game. Colon had three bad at bats to start G1 and was phenomenal thereafter. All hands on deck excluding Parker and Straily.
Here is what I would do to the lineup:
Crisp, CF Lowrie, SS Cespedes, LF Moss, 1B Donaldson, 3B Smith, DH Callaspo, 2B Reddick, RF Vogt or Norris (depending on numbers ... likely Vogt), C
Aside from winning and moving on in general, the biggest reason I really wanted to win last night was to set the rotation for the Red Sox. Now, they get to do that to whoever they face in the ALCS and would put the A's behind the 8 ball. I'll worry about this more after Thursday.
Key takeaway from this series as of this second: this team desperately needs another "IT" player. Cespedes and Gray are the only two that seem to have "it". Crisp has been phenomenal and Smith has been very good, but they aren't part of the long term future with this franchise. Knowing that Beane likes to sell high, is this an offseason where you can get ownership to commit some dollars for one key bat, and trade Donaldson for very high prospects? He has looked gawd-awful this series at the plate. Reddick is another name to consider but his hitting has been atrocious and his value is nowhere near JD's.
I know this sounds completely insane and I hope that they prove me wrong with a big hit (or 5) on Thursday, but looking further down the road, this might need to be considered given everything we know (and dislike) about how things are run with this "small market team".
OK, enough on that.
Let's go Oakland!!
(Please win on Thursday. Please!)