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Open Thread: Game 63 - A's at New York

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I have four words for our manager: Pinch. RUNNER. Late. Innings. I would have a few more, but the filter wouldn't let me post them.

How is this so hard to understand?! We should consider ourselves lucky for every Frank Thomas at-bat, and there was no reason in the world to keep him in yesterday after he already did his job, put the A's ahead, and then got on base! It was truly a no-brainer, and Thomas, who felt a `twinge' in the right quad, will not be playing today. Wonderful.

However....

<starts the chant>

Sweeeeeep! Sweeeeeeeep! Sweeeeeeep!

Despite all the injury news, this game should be fun, because we've already won. Even if we lose today's game, we've still taken 2 out of 3 from the New York Yankees in New York with a team that is barely held together with chewing gum and popsicle sticks.

If you looked at this weekend's matchups on paper, today's game was the only one we were supposed to even have a chance at winning, but thanks to some gusty, gritty, heart-y pitching, and enough offense to keep us ahead, we find ourselves not only at .500, but also in a position for the sweep with our best pitcher on the mound. It doesn't get much better than this.

To beat Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina back-to-back is no small feat, and the A's accomplished this with a patchwork lineup, complete with a wildly successful major league debut. (Welcome to The Show, Mike Rouse!) Even those of us who have steeled our hearts against the A's for fear of disappointment find ourselves falling in love over and over again with the Oakland A's each time they take the field this June (7-2 since The Homerun, for those of you scoring at home).

A couple of observations: First of all, the Yankees radio announcers aren't half bad. They seem very knowledgeable about the A's, they actually seem to understand what Moneyball was written about, and they immediately picked up on the Melhuse/Kendall dilemma, asking the rhetorical question from Melhuse, "I don't have a high enough slugging percentage to at least start once a week?!".

The second: I couldn't help but notice the argument about A-rod in yesterday's game thread. I would take the sentiment a little further than just the New York media and say that most of the media covering modern-day baseball has performed an outstanding brainwashing job on the large majority of baseball fans, who have been tricked into believing that A-rod is just a good player, who doesn't perform when `it really counts'.

The truth of the matter is that it's pretty indisputable that Alex Rodriguez is one of the best players in the game of baseball, clutch or otherwise, and the numbers--all of the numbers--back that up. Even the best cherry-picked stats can't really hold an argument against his tremendous success. But the die has been cast--A-rod is un-clutch, and Jeter is the golden boy for New York (and by the way DJ, thanks for the two clutch strikeouts in the late innings yesterday!), and there really is nothing A-rod can do to dispute this. But like him or not, he is an amazing baseball player and has put up monster numbers year after year after year, playing in a city where he is undervalued and underappreciated.

If you don't believe this, I encourage you to take a look at the numbers for yourself. Look up his career numbers, including so-called `clutch' numbers (hits with RISP, hits with 2 outs). Visit http://www.firejoemorgan.com for in-depth analysis. Search the AN archives for references (I know I wrote a diary a couple of months ago on this topic). Look at ESPN Page 2 from a couple of weeks ago. There is a reason he's the first drafted in fantasy leagues around the country, and a reason why people will look back decades later and mention his name with the greats. Hate him with all fervent passion that you would any Yankees player, but don't kid yourself; he's among the best.

<deep breath>

The A's go for the sweep! Starting...now!

Kotsay
Swisher
Bradley
Chavez
Payton DH
Johnson
Kendall
Scutaro
Rouse

And no Crosby either, but with the way the A's have been playing, and the off-day tomorrow, there's no reason to rush him back.

Damon
Jeter
Rodriguez
Posada
Williams
Cano
Phillips
Cabrera
Cairo

Chacon makes his first start in three weeks today; the A's player with the most success against him, interestingly enough, is Kendall.

Update [2006-6-11 13:3:33 by baseballgirl]: Giambi is not just resting; he's actually hurt. Yeah, we know how that goes.