The A's starters have come back down to earth over the last three starts. Haren and Harden give up 12 hits and Zito gives up 10 hits today. But Detroit is an aggressive (some would say overly so) team and if you are FITZ (fearless in the zone), some of those balls are going to inevitably get hit.
But the A's have now won 10 of 11, 16 of the last 19, 26 of the last 32 and 30 of their last 37 contests. They now sit a mere 2.5 games behind the Fontana Angels of Rancho Cucamonga. Remember, this team was once 15 games under .500 and is now a season-high 11 games above sea level.
The beauty is that the A's are doing it with a different guy every day. For most of June, Eric Chavez and Bobby Crosby carried the team with a sizzling month. Then, Dan Johnson and Nick Swisher picked it up. Marco Scutaro gets key hit after key hit and is apparently capable of playing left field. Larry Davis better look out because Scoot can apparently do anything that's asked of him. Mickey Morabito can take some time off. Scoot will be handling travel arrangements for a few weeks.
On top of it all, John Mabry, oops, I mean Jay Payton is making Theo Epstein look like he may have made a massive mistake dismissing the outfielder. The A's have been winning lately with the best offensive output in the major leagues combined with some fine bullpen work.
The other beautiful thing about this recent Oakland run is that they are also executing in fundamentals now, as in hitting to the right side to move a runner over to third with less than two outs and then actually hitting a fly ball deep enough to score that run.
The best part about all of this is that now we're seeing some of the youth of the system coming up...and we're going to see how great the approach of the A's system is. Dan Johnson, Nick Swisher and Bobby Crosby have all worked their way through the A's system and each of them approaches the at-bat the same way. Crosby didn't do this so much last season, but he is this year. They aren't too aggressive in the batter's box. They're selective in waiting for the right pitch to hit and they make adjustments. If they're getting pitched away, away, away repeatedly, they try and think opposite field.
Get ready for some long games in the future because as Barton, Ethier, Suzuki and others make their way up through the system, the A's games will get progressively longer with their approach. And a whole new group of heroes will be born.