There are many things to be said about this game, but first and foremost is this: Josh Reddick has adopted Careless Whisper, George Michael's 1984 classic, as his walk-up song. Tonight, he rode that sweet saxophone to a 2-for-5 showing, including his second home run of the year.
That blast blew the game open, putting the A's far along the path to their sixth consecutive victory. Their 25-15 start is their best since 2003, and Oakland still owns the American League's best record, resting just a half-game behind Milwaukee for the best mark in baseball.
Reddick is 3-for-6 when using popular mid-80s ballads as his theme music. Last night, he came no more than six inches away from a home run to dead center field. Tonight, he picked a more difficult path to the long ball, opting to go over the jagged edge in right-center field. This shot had the few extra inches that last night's was missing, striking the very top of the wall and luckily keeping enough of its lateral momentum to wind up over the fence.
The final score was 11-0, allowing the A's to widen the gap between them and Colorado for the best run differential in baseball; Oakland's is a crazy +73 after 40 games, while the Rockies' sits at +51. The A's came up with 11 hits against White Sox starter Jamey Carroll, chasing him after five innings, and didn't stop there, adding five runs on six hits in the later innings.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the fact that the A's put a world of hurt on the White Sox without two of their best offensive players, Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson. For years, the saying has been that as Coco Crisp goes, so go the A's, but that's clearly not the case this year — he's missed six straight games since a violent collision with the outfield wall on Wednesday afternoon, and the A's are undefeated in that stretch.
The travesty of the game took place in the 8th inning, when the A's sound crew couldn't get Careless Whisper going in time for Reddick's fifth at-bat of the night. The resurgent lefty grounded out to first base, and it really seems unfair that he gets charged with an out when the blame clearly lies with the Coliseum production team. His line should read 2-for-4 with an asterisk.
Drew Pomeranz was fantastic in his second-ever start in the green and gold, throwing five scoreless innings for the second outing in a row. He allowed just three hits and two walks, racking up an impressive eight strikeouts in five innings. In just his second start of the year, Pomeranz wasn't able to throw more than 82 pitches. He threw 68 in his last outing, so he'll probably reach the low to mid 90s the next time out. If he keeps producing the way he did in his first two starts, his ability to last deep into games will be key, and it seems he's a start or two away from having any real pitch limits lifted.
Oh, and Brandon Moss. One pitch after Chicago center fielder Leury Garcia robbed Yoenis Cespedes of a home run, reaching above the Comcast Sports Net sign in left-center field to snare his deep fly ball, Moss wasn't taking any chances. The first baseman put his shot 20 feet into the seats in the right field corner. The game was out of reach before his first home run, and even more out of reach after his second. While the first was an impressive no-doubter, the second was an even more impressive even-less-doubter, straight to the power alley and well into the section of the right field bleachers farthest from the corner, where the first row extends nowhere near the outfield wall.
John Jaso continued on his tear — he seems to love the leadoff spot, and continued succeeding there tonight with a 3-for-5 outing that bumped his average to .306. To think that he isn't even the best offensive catcher on Oakland's roster — Derek Norris' average sits at .365 after his 1-for-4 evening.
In short, tonight was everything good about A's baseball. A beautiful night at the Coliseum in front of a diehards-only crowd, an offensive explosion, dominant pitching, stellar defense, and a few uniquely Oakland twists. It doesn't get much better than this.
The A's will go for their second consecutive sweep and seventh straight win tomorrow at 12:35pm tomorrow in Oakland. It's a radio-only broadcast, so you'll have to head out to the Coliseum if you want to see the A's with your own two eyes. Temperatures are expected to hit the low 90s, which could cause trouble for Tommy Milone. Then again, if the A's offensive performance is anything like it was tonight, that won't be an issue.