Tale of the tape: Jason Kendall - 6'0", 205 pounds and John "Slingblade" Lackey - 6'6", 235. Advantage: Kendall on the takedown even while being tackled from behind by Jeff Mathis.
In all seriousness, it's a shame that this game will be overshadowed by Jason Kendall's decision to charge the mound. Because really, there are a lot of guys who deserve to be recognized for something other than pugilism today. Don't get me wrong, I love some good fire and even some fisticuffs. Remember, I love hockey, used to play hockey and once broke an opponents' nose by beating him with his own helmet. It's not something I'm proud of, but I understand why these moments happen in sports. Tempers are high, things are said or done and you react in the moment. And the truth is, I also understand why these moments get replayed on SportsCenter and news shows repeatedly. With all apologies to Rodney Dangerfield, it's not every day that you go to a wrestling match and a baseball game breaks out. And one of my biggest complaints about Macha and company over the past few seasons has been that they don't show enough passion. Well, after today thanks to Kendall (offensive warts and all), you can't really make that argument anymore.
As for the rivalry, it is really gaining steam and is becoming a mini-version of the . Not just Kendall's charging the mound, but with Gaudin hitting Robb Quinlan it's going to continue to get more interesting. It's given us A's fans some great moments over the past couple of seasons with the Shields bunt throw into the pen and Swisher coming around to score, the sulk-off and Bobby Kielty's bomb off K-Rod last year. It's only going to get better, I suppose.
As for the game itself, Eric Chavez started the game off the right way with a three-run bomb to take a little heat of Ballsy Halsey. I do think Macha made a mistake in leaving Halsey in to pitch against Guerrero. Seriously, Halsey hadn't been a starting pitcher this season and wasn't stretched out. Accept his great five innings, say thank you and then use the pen. Especially because Guerrero loves to hit lefties with offspeed stuff (see Moyer, Jamie). You need someone to bust Guerrero inside with fastballs.
Also, I was surprised to see Street in the game in the seventh when Macha said yesterday that he didn't want to break Huston in in a pressure-packed situation. It was 4-3 at the time. Any way, the bullpen did an excellent job once again and the offense woke up against Bootcheck. Thomas had a good day yesterday with the three walks and his hit today officially opened the game up. Crosby's bomb was a nice crowning touch. Duke once again pitched the highest leverage inning facing the heart of the order.
This puts the A's up 2.5 games over the Angels early and they have now won a season-high five games in a row. Lucky for you, I'm traveling the rest of this week for business so you're getting a healthy dose of Nico for the next four days.
By the way, I just saw the brawl for the first time on SportsCenter and I've gotta give Kendall a 9.5 for the takedown and the A's a "10" for the two-game series sweep.