Well, I have to admit, right about now I feel like Michael Taylor (he really is Big by the way!) getting a shot in the show….the competition is stiff, the site is beautiful, and now I just need to start raking. However, I feel the need to share that this past Saturday, a man I attended high school with, and his teenage daughter, were tragically killed in an automobile accident. The pair was on their way to an SAT test site, when they were struck by a drunk driver. It was also prom night for the young lady. My thoughts and prayers are will the Machado Family, and all the old schoolers back in the Delta community of Rio Vista.
I have attempted to move on from referring to the infamous “Tuck” call, but man, the A’s were tucked BIG time tonight by Angel Hernandez and crew. My 46 year-old eyes are not very good, and I even could tell that ball hit by Rosales was clearly gone. The umpiring crew should have to answer to reporters IMMEDIATELY after the game and answer some questions. “Holy Toledo” my friends, holy preposterous Toledo! Give Angel credit for the joy killing Wednesday evening—at the anything but Progressive Field in Cleveland, ish.
My how things change quickly! A year ago, most of us would have been happy with a .500 team, but after last summer, the bar has been raised to where anything but the postseason will be viewed as a disappointment. The A’s were just so darn loveable and fun to watch last summer, and they haven’t yet be able to bottle and reproduce their magical “grin-in-the-tin” ways. In fact for the most part, their games thus far have been pretty non-descript. They absolutely bashed Houston, and we all know how well they do with Cespedes in the lineup. However their defense and starting pitching have been just so-so, and they even have now re-called every A’s fans favorite player Daric Barton (who had a nice first game back at the plate by the way-the stretch on Rosales errant throw a little weird however.) The crowds are up from last year, and in fact, I see a lot more A’s gear on around the state that in year’s past. So I ask the question, have the A’s gone from hunter to hunted? The game is a little different when opponents are focusing more on you. Perhaps, just perhaps this is where the starters, and even Josh Reddick are going to have to make some real adjustments. Heck, why would any opposing pitcher even put one near the plate when pitching to Cespedes?
I find it interesting that the Verducci Effect has not been a little more of a topic of discussion in A’s circles? Baseball Girl Mentioned it here on January 23, and Cuppingmaster detailed his take on Parker back in December, but with Parker struggling mightily, I would think the subject would be brought up on occasion? (Am I missing something?) Is there some hit out in the Coliseum if anyone mentions the not-to-be-spoken effect in public? Is it like the River Cat fine? Very interesting to me, Parker is struggling, and Verducci suggested he would. Seems spot on like a Curry jumper? Maybe Parker and his A’s teammates are just laying low for a while to give the W’s their time to shine in the limelight?
The season amps up—in my humble opinion—when the Bay Bridge Series begins. May 27th is right around the corner. I love it, absolutely love it, and in fact, I don’t think the Giants and A’s made the interleague, but I do believe it is the best interleague series. Remember back in the early 2000’s when the Coli was rocking to Bonds vs. Giambi. Even Mt. Davis was filled, and safe to say, 55,000 plus haven’t rocked the Coli to often since, before or since! I know you all love viewing that Norris game-winning knock in the bottom of the ninth last season! When we lose to those guys I just can’s sleep—and the games are so much better when both teams are good. Oh man can you imagine the vibe from right field as Ballfour comes into the save the day, and whif the poor Panda! Bring it on!
I also find it interesting that the Giants formula for success hasn’t been analyzed at nausea like most other professional major league championship teams. In fact, last year I thought the A’s and Giants were very similar. Both teams had great starting pitching, although Cain was the man. Both teams had great bullpens. The Giants had Buster and Panda, the A’s Cespedes, Moss, and co. Scutaro was just unconscious from July on, batting .362. To my eye there was one noticeable difference between the two teams, well let’s make that two, which stuck out to me. One, the Giants just always seemed to put the ball in play. Scutaro never struck out, literally. In 61 games with SF he struck out just 14 times! The Giants had the second fewest strikeouts in the NL, while the A’s led the AL. The Giants also had a better OBP of .327 to .310. Finally, the Giants found a way to do the one thing the A’s—AARGH!—just couldn’t do, beat Verlander. (Panda gets the assist here.) The A’s ability to scratch out runs in tight games is a subject that will just have to wait for another day.
Well I am pretty sure Bill King would say the A’s were robbed, and jobbed, and that he would be disgusted, I am sure he would be dancing the jig now that the W’s have indeed knocked off the Spurs to knot their series at 1-1. The best way to get this game out of the collective memories of A’s fans is to score early and often tomorrow this afternoon in Cleveland, and have Bartolo be his strike throwing self. The team can then enjoy the ride to Seattle, and get back to their wining ways of pounding the AL West. Thanks AN for the opportunity to sling a few up here in the show. BFonz