After a homestand where the A's dropped two series against weak division opponents, lost their ace pitcher, starting catcher (and hottest hitter) and watched their outfield suffer a number of minor maladies, dread seemed to sink in as we looked ahead to the next seven games.
The idea before this road trip was somehow, someway, just get through it.
Well, three games in, thanks to some help from the White Sox and a stud performance from Jarrod Parker, the A's are pretty much where they started this trip: 2.5 games back of the division and clinging to a wild card spot, but are another man down with Josh Reddick hitting the DL.
Still, all is not lost...yet. Despite the 2012 reunion that no one wanted (Barton & Zooks ZOMG) will they finally wake up and respond against perhaps the best team in baseball? After watching the recent games, the outlook is decidedly grim, but with baseball you just never know. And it's why we masochists are watching/listening to/tracking/threading game after game.
With Reddick being shelved, we welcome back Daric "Robot Ump" a.k.a. "K Zone" a.k.a. "Bat on the Shoulder" a.k.a. "iPad workout" a.k.a. "On base machine" a.k.a. "1B Defense Matters" Barton. My thoughts on the front office's thinking behind this move:
- We are facing 4 RHP starters in a row; in fact the Tigers don't even have many lefties in their pen.
- Daric Barton is a decent left handed bat who has been hitting well in AAA this season and fields 1B well.
- Young and Smith have been terrible; can't afford to have them starting every day right now.
- Moss is a lefty bat that can play OF and 1B, thus can take playing time from Young and Smith, if we have a lefty bat that can play 1B (i.e. Barton).
- Michael Choice bats right. The worst way to introduce him to MLB is throw him in against 4 very tough RHP starters on the road.
- Apparently Choice's service clock would start, so unless the team thinks he's critical to the postseason roster, they would rather wait until September 1st and preserve his years of control.
Game 1 of this series features Anibal Sanchez, the American League's ERA leader (2.45) vs. A.J. Griffin, the AL's home run leader (30). Seems like not a good matchup, but AJ was decent against this team in the 2012 ALDS, keeping the A's in the critical game 4 and setting the stage for the dramatic walk-off. Ah yes, game 4. Was it the best moment of the season? I don't know, but it's up there in my best baseball moments ever.
Tell me you don't have goosebumps:
I just watched this about ten times and I now have no recollection of the last 30 games.
Here are your lineups. Good thing this game isn't played on paper!
|4:08pm Athletics (A. Griffin - R) @ Tigers (A. Sanchez - R)|
See who's hitting #8? Tell me you don't have goosebumps.
LET'S GO OAKLAND!