The A's just continue to be red hot. Who would've thought that we'd see win 50 this early in the season during the horrid stretch in May?
Tonight was one of those games that appeared, in all likelihood, that the A's would lose. Joe Blanton bobbed and weaved through five innings, allowing only three runs thanks to a wonderful if awkward catch by Jay Payton. Blanton didn't seem like he would last three innings as Yabu was warming up in the second. Yet, the rookie hung in there in tough conditions.
Speaking of Jay Payton, he had three hits tonight and is now hitting .282, including .367 as an Athletic. Could he be the John Mabry of 2005? Granted, Billy Beane really wanted Payton and Mabry was more of an afterthought of trying to unload Jeremy Giambi. But still, I don't think anyone expected Payton to come over and be ripping the ball like he is.
Nick Swisher also had a huge night, and he had it right-handed. Swish has a .923 OPS and is batting .274 in July. I'd say the rookie is settling in just fine.
My worries about Bobby Crosby appear to be unfounded as he came back tonight and went two for three with two walks. And Bobby Kielty had a couple of great at-bats left-handed. The one against Loe in particular was a 10 pitch at-bat which allowed Jay Payton the opportunity to bat.
Chavy did look as awkward as he did in May tonight though, which was worrisome. Let's hope it's just because he doesn't like DHing.
The A's pen was used nearly to perfection tonight as well. Rincon performed when called upon in a key situation, getting both Teixeira and Blalock. Granted, Kennedy didn't hold the lead, but Witasick, Rincon and Street did exactly what was asked of them.
And now the A's are a game and half ahead of the Rangers and possibly 5 1/2 back from the Angels (the Angels are losing 5-2 as I write this).
I've been working on packaging up the AN Day tickets tonight. They'll be going out in the mail tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll be seeing a team in playoff position by the time that game rolls around on August 13th.