You could almost see Zito coming with his numbers against the Twins lineup, but after the dark and foreboding abyss of Zito's opening night start, he has largely been remarkable. He's become only the eighth pitcher in franchise history to reach 1,000 strikeouts. Hudson and Mulder didn't do it with the A's. Zito has. I don't know too many things that I've been able to do 1,000 times in my life, except maybe sleep, eat and go to work.
For all the complaining about him earlier this season, myself included, he's putting together a very, very good season. His ERA is now 2.87 and opponents are only batting .209 against him.
Frank Thomas is officially warm and it's nice to have DJ join him in the home run parade. Bonser pitched very well tonight and in the past, that would've meant an automatic loss. But the A's have home run power that they didn't have last season. They're now tied for fourth in the American League with 68 home runs. That's more than both the Red Sox and Yankees. If the team can get their OBP better than ninth in the AL, then they could really start scoring quite a few runs.
But the truth is that we could wind up circling May 31st, 2006 as the day that the A's season officially turned around. Consider:
- Jason Kendall hit his first home run since the Great Depression.
- We found out that Eric Chavez would not miss a game.
- Joe Blanton pitched his first complete game shutout win.
- Rich Harden had a successful rehab stint.
- Esteban Loaiza was closer to 86 on the gun with his fastball than 82-83 as he was earlier in the season (he still needs to get up to 88 regularly before the A's consider him for the rotation).
- Bobby Crosby had a 4-5 day and a home run.
But for now, I'm going to enjoy winning two in row, even if one of them was against the Royals. This team hasn't won two in a row since May 18 and 19th. No wonder this is such an odd feeling.