Much has been made of the A's 11-game winning streak in Kansas City, dating back to May 2003, and tying the team record. But while it has been easy to rain praise on those who play the game on the field, such as Mark Ellis, who powered the team yesterday with 4 RBIs including a home run, I think the praise should go to he who receives praise least - Manager Ken Macha.
When the umpires couldn't decide amongst themselves whether Ellis's hit was to the left or right side of the foul pole, it was Macha who ran onto the field to successfully plead his case. Macha's typically not an excitable guy, and doesn't make noise just for the sake of being an obnoxious pest. (We're looking at you, Scioscia!)
In an interview with MLB.com, Macha said, ""I don't go out much. I go out when I see the play and I feel like I'm right."
It's likely in part due to his general complacency that umpires know he's probably right when he gets in their face. In fact, Macha has only been ejected once in his managerial career, much to the chagrin of many here, who wish it would happen on a near-daily basis. (The date of his ejection: May 9, 2005 at Fenway Park during a 13-5 loss)
Tonight, Macha hopes to stay off the field and relax as we see Esteban Loaiza take the mound in search for his first win, against Jeremy Affeldt for the Royals. The two pitchers have combined on the early season for 20 walks against 19 strikeouts, and a 7+ ERA. As with his previous starts, the biggest stat for Loaiza may be his velocity, which hasn't impressed anybody so far. He left his last start after 3 2/3 innings due to back spasms, consistently pitching below 85. We'll see if he opts to instead toss it underhand to the underpowered Royals squad.