First of all, Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, including my own, who is the greatest! (Hi Daddy, I know you're reading! Thanks for being so patient and supportive all these years of your daughter with a crazy baseball obsession!)
Wow. How can you possibly follow up last night's game? Had it been a weekday, I would have felt sorry for our East Coast A's fans, but it was a perfect Saturday night, and what better way to spend a Saturday than watching a double A's game. Mmmmm...more A's baseball. I was pretty sure several times last night that the A's were fighting a losing battle, so no one was more surprised to see the final walk than I. I simply reminded myself that this is "June", not "May" and this is the time that the universe pays us back for all of those terrible one-run losses earlier in the season.
On May 28, I wrote something like `Hang on, June is coming' and someone posted a comment to the effect of `Honestly, what is going to change in June that wasn't happening in May?' And they were right. There was nothing really to look forward to from May 31 to June 1 except the A's traditional run into the summer. And what a run it has been so far this year. The A's have won nine games in a row, and they're going for number ten today, and a third series sweep. And this Dodgers team is by no means a bad team. This team can hit. But when things are going well, they're going well, and even when they go badly, you still win.
Some observations about this June:
- Eric Chavez started out hot this year; in the past, him heating up is something that usually contributes to the annual June push
- Rich Harden is still on the DL, same as May
- We have no Justin Duchscherer, same as May
- We have sophomores, not rookies, in key positions on our team, so the `rookies are learning the league' explanation has dubious merit, at best
- Aside from the first game, Zito has been remarkably consistent. Oh yeah, and also amazing. But he was in May too.
So what is the discernable reason for winning games that we weren't a month ago? Because it's June? Is it something truly mental/superstitious in the clubhouse? Is it mere coincidence? Is it just a widely-accepted `that's what the A's do' thing? What is it about the calendar switch that causes the A's to go from the team that struggled to take just one game from the Royals last month to the team that's steamrolling both leagues?
And does this writer really care? Nope, not a bit. There's just not much to be upset about today; everything's coming up puppies and rainbows (and hopefully, Cupcakes!). We have a tired team on the field, but they're in much better shape than their opposition, who also played the game last night, but have nothing to show for it.
Another day, another game, gunning for another win. The A's sure could use a strong start from Blanton today to rest the pen. There weren't many that didn't pitch last night.
Blanton vs. Sele. A's try for the sweep. Coming up...
J. Kendall c
N. Swisher lf
E. Chavez dh
B. Crosby ss
J. Payton cf
D. Johnson 1b
M. Scutaro 3b
B. Kielty rf
M. Rouse 2b
R. Furcal ss
W. Aybar 3b
N. Garciaparra 1b
J.D. Drew dh
M. Kemp cf
A. Ethier lf
J. Cruz Jr. rf
S. Alomar Jr. c
R. Martinez 2b