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Random Thoughts for the Off Day

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I had a bunch of different thoughts for the offday today, so I thought I share.

  • Is anyone else having trouble sleeping? I woke up at six this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. My stomach was turning butterflys as though I was the one that had to try and close out the Minnesota Twins on Friday afternoon.
  • Yes, the Mark Ellis situation is dire on the defensive side of things and it could really hurt the A's pitchers. But D'Angelo Jimenez should be close to the equivalent of Ellis offensively. Jimenez has a career .349 OBP and .727 OPS. Ellis is .341/.746. They're similar offensively and Ellis obviously helped his stats with his one huge year in 2005. Ellis has more power, but Jimenez has been able to work more walks and we all know how the A's love that. Jimenez is also a better left-handed batter than right, sporting a .757 OPS versus righties over the last three seasons. Get to know Jimenez because unless Ellis gets a miracle, I don't anticipate seeing him again soon. But remember, the defensive issue isn't one you can gloss over. This team has succeeded all year thanks to pitching and defense.
  • At least we aren't talking about Frank Thomas, Nick Swisher, Justin Duchscherer, Barry Zito or Danny Haren's broken finger right now. Hey, a little perspective never hurt anyone.
  • 4.84...3.38...2.45...4.28...4.13...5.80. Those are Danny Haren's ERAs by month. He also made three starts against the Twins. Two games he didn't allow an earned run and six hits and three walks over 14 innings. One start he allowed nine hits, one walk, seven earned runs and two home runs. Which Danny Haren will show up on Friday? I'm hoping that Haren has realized how to pitch effectively against the Twins since the one horrid start was in April and the other two were later in the year.
  • People can continue to complain about Eric Chavez, and rightfully so when it comes to his offense. He's looked lost out there and coming out of his shoes swinging at pitches around his eyes. He's Rookie Chavez all over again. But to me, the manager should take the initiative to move Chavez down to sixth or seventh in the lineup. But Chavez likely saved the game yesterday with the stab when Loaiza started to lose it a bit. It's a rare player that can change the course of the game with his defense. Chavez is one...unfortunately, Ellis is another.
  • Closing out a series hasn't been the A's forte in the past. As made clear by many in the media. It's unfortunate that the A's have to carry around this 9,000-pound gorilla that really only TWO of the current roster contributed to. But the fact remains that the skepticism will remain until the guys clad in green and gold are celebrating on a field. The thing is I think this is a daunting task because I still believe the Twins have a World Series caliber team. The A's and Twins were the two best teams in the AL in the second half, so don't expect that team to go quietly. And the A's never seem to make it easy on themselves or their fans. Perhaps this year will be different.
  • What kind of shape will the field be in? The A's grounds crew does a remarkable job making the Coliseum field serviceable after Raiders games, but there is no question that the outfield could wind up being a factor. Because as we learned with Hunter's play, one mistake can mean everything come October.
  • This is a great piece from the New York Times on the whole Billy Beane/Ken Macha break up/make up incident. It looks at how Beane and Wolff managed the Macha talks and how it can be applied to corporate America. Billy is rapidly becoming a superstar in boardrooms all across America. I wouldn't doubt seeing the guy running HP or Google someday if that's what he wants.
  • Someone emailed me (a Twins fan) last night telling me that Jeff Brantley was on ESPN yesterday saying that the Twins should go with Radke and then directly to Nathan, no matter how long Nathan had to go. I understand that the Twins have to win the game, but if Radke only manages five innings (which could happen considering the A's patience) do you really want Nathan going four innings? Can someone tell me why they pay these guys outrageous salaries to spew drivel?
  • Anyone miss the Twins having AssJack behind the plate? I do. They were tremendously more despicable with that horse ass on the team. It was a real reason to hate that bunch. I mean, I can't stand Morneau and Cuddyer, but that's more because they kill us offensively and are too damn good. My dislike for them is more of a respect thing whereas my venom for Pierzynski was for the fact that he was pompous ass. Oh and Joe Nathan does have a Mr. Ed horse face, which is mildly annoying, but his stats against the A's do make him much more annoying. Let's hope the A's continue to make Nathan a relative non-factor.
  • Finally, yeah, the experience of having the A's in the playoffs has been a ton of fun and I'm enjoying every (well, almost every) second of this ride and it's in large part to the experience the AN community has brought. We're closing in on 5.3 million visits and more than 20 million page views since it started. The site has also been getting about 35,000 visits a day since the playoffs started. Nothing like watching the game with 35,000 of your closest friends. It's like we have our own online Coliseum. Sweet.