Say what you want about the Angels or the A's, you have to admit that when these two division rivals get together, they play some great games--and you never quite know how they're going to end.
The A's received a ton of walks (official conversion rate: 10 BB = 2,000 pounds), and one them was in front of Eric Chavez' key two-run HR. But the other walks played a huge part, and here's why. Tonight, Mike Scioscia faced the same problem Ken Macha kept facing in Minnesota. Scioscia just wanted to get Scot Shields (and then K-Rod) in while the Angels still had the lead. Scioscia came within one hitter, because Shields was poised to face Frank Thomas. But because of all the walks in innings 1-6, the batting order had rolled over to where the heart of the order came up before Shields could get in. And Shields never got in, because the HR takes managers out of a game faster than anything. Anything except running into outs that end the game, that is. Jeff Mathis: tough game a little?
Props to Rich Harden for going the extra mile (official conversion rate: 15 extra pitches = 1 mile) and making it possible. And props to Marco Scutaro for doing in his second at-bat what it has taken Crosby 47 at-bats to do: walk once in the #3-hole. And props to Eric Chavez for the clutchest hit of the season so far. And finally, props to me for resisting the urge to describe John Lackey's performance as "wobbly". Actually, truth be told I thought he got squeezed a bit. And truth be told, I'm not complaining.