Before I let loose, let me offer some qualifying statements to put my main point in proper context:
- Chien-Ming Wang pitched an excellent game on his own merit
- When missing their #3, #4, and #5 hitters, most teams will struggle to score a lot of runs
- I don't rip on the A's much, not just because I love them and generally have a lot of good things to say about them, but also because I prefer my criticisms to hold some weight when I do unleash them
- did not once attempt a steal
- did not once put on the hit-and-run
- did not once attempt to bunt for a hit (as Melky Cabrera did), in order to avoid a DP and at least move a runner into scoring position
Who would not record a single strikeout.
With Chavez, Thomas, and Bradley out of the lineup.
Leaving fans to wonder: What did the A's think was going to happen? And how did they think they were going to score?
Instead, all the guys whom you would fear might hit into DPs--Kielty, Scutaro, Melhuse, Kotsay--did just that, on cue. (For good measure, the A's made it DPs in 5 out of 9 innings to end the game.)
The A's were somewhat of a pioneer in giving proper weight to the importance of OBP, and they have been creative in acquiring hidden talent as well as often brilliant in drafting and developing talent. But the bottom line is: You can't win if you can't score, and you can't score if you don't know how. Tonight, and for the last 6 years, I have felt the same way: The A's are a good team with good management, and they don't understand how to score runs, except in bunches against bad pitchers--which will pad your season stats nicely but won't get you to the ALCS.
Props to Barry Zito, who did everything you could ask your starter to do against a tough lineup, and gave most teams a chance to win. Bummed about the inept offense, and all the DPs? Fear not: Kendall is back tomorrow.