In the top of the 1st inning, the experts proclaimed, "Game over!" In the middle of the game, the experts proclaimed "This team is garbage." At the end of the game, however, the A's stood 5-2 winners, winners of 5 out of 6 series since Crosby's return, and owners of a 12-7 record in the "Crosby era." The A's winning percentage since Crosby's return, prorated, would have them 3.5 games up on the Angels right now. And that's without Harden. Without Dotel. Without Durazo. Was it Beane's offseason moves, or an absurd rash of injuries, that prevented the A's from contending so far? Who are we to say? You'll have to ask the experts.
I think Duke's performance the last two games shows why he would be an effective starter. Before you say "Huh?" (or am I too late?), let me explain. Some guys pitch well in certain situations: against lefties, in a set-up role, with a day between appearances, etc. Some guys just know how to get hitters out. Duke is one of those unusually mature, even-keel pitchers who simply does his thing no matter what the situation is. That's why he can step in and close without missing a beat. And it's why I believe he could start without missing a beat. The curve gets the oohs and aahs; the cutter made him a major league pitcher. In more ways than one, "Duke can cut it"--and how many teams could feel this good about their 3rd string closer?