The A's could've just descended back toward oblivion after last night's debacle, but Kirk Saarloos wouldn't let that happen. In one of the A's best pitching performances of the season, given the situation with battered bullpen, Saarloos held the Mariners to four hits in a complete-game shutout.
This game today was all about Saarloos and his ability to pound the strike zone. He threw a total of 127 pitches and 80 of them were for strikes. The A's needed someone to pick the team up today and Los Kirk did just that. He struck out seven and did NOT walk a batter.
Don't look now, folks, but the A's have won six of their last seven series dating back to late May. Could it be that this team is coming together to make a patented Athletics second-half run? Possibly, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The truth is that it is playing better baseball, despite the left on base problem today (13 LOB).
Dan Johnson is now hitting .286 for the season and Eric Chavez, after one of the most miserable starts you'll ever see, is now hitting .260 and has a 1.260 OPS for June.
Oh, and my apologies to Scott Hatteberg for not wanting you in the cleanup spot in the lineup. 4-5 will make me shut up every day, even though I still don't think there is enough power coming out of our cleanup spot.
All-in-all, if the A's keep winning series, thanks in large part to the fantastic starting pitching, they may just climb back into the race. Of course, some of the teams above them would need to comply by losing some games. Particularly the Anaheim Angels of Fontana.
One unrelated note: Don't forget that AN Day tickets are on sale to regular AN users. Click here to find out more details. The tickets are only on sale through July 1, so don't delay.