The A's bullpen has been largely spectacular this year. Coming into the game today, Justin Duchscherer had not given up an earned run. Not only that, but he had looked lights out in many of his appearances. Joe Kennedy also proved this naysayer wrong in pitching marvelously through the first eight appearances. Kiko Calero has also not given up an earned run and was excellent again today. Huston Street was likely not available today, so Ken Macha turned to Justin Duchscherer who is the defined de facto closer when Street isn't available. I'm fine with that move because Duke has been great in pressure situations. You could argue that Calero likely should've started the inning, but I'm guessing the thinking is that it's automatic to go to Duke when Street isn't available.
But you can't blame the pen too much. It's had two meltdowns in a few days, yes, but the offense once again let the team down. The team once again got good performances from Chavez, Swisher (two BB's), Bradley and Kotsay. But four players do not a lineup make. Crosby had a hit today, but for the most part this offense remains dormant.
As for Zito, well, read my column on FSN Bay Area again to understand how I feel about his performance. A less aggressive team might've made Zito pay for his wildness, but thankfully he was able to get out of jams.
I do find not pinch hitting for Kendall to be a huge mistake. Yes, he's able to go the other way and his numbers with , but I would've liked to have seen someone with some power to at least get the ball elevated to the outfield to give Chavez a chance to tag and score on a sac fly. That's why I wanted Melhuse as a pinch hitter for Kendall and then let DJ take his at-bat. Granted, Melhuse didn't perform in his pinch-hitting appearance, but I would've liked to have seen him up there with a fly ball that could've tied the game.
Any way, it's a disappointing loss and the kind of loss you get tagged with when you aren't going well. The A's are not going well. The team has dropped the last three series now to Minnesota, Texas and now, Detroit. The Angels now come in and the A's get to measure themselves against the team that will likely be challenging them all year long. King Richard goes to the mound looking to right the ship tomorrow and I couldn't think of a better pitcher for the job.