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One Mistake

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First of all, not much to analyze in tonight's game. Kirk Saarloos had a chance to win, and all he had to do in 100 pitches was to make 0 mistakes. He made 1. Sure, one can always speculate. Maybe the A's could have thanked Saarloos for 7 awesome innings and turned it over to tonight's DD (designated Duchscherer). Morneau, batting .185 vs. LHP this season, could have been required to try his hand in the 8th against tonight's DAAALOOGY (designated AAA LOOGY). Ferrets could have flown out of my butt and painted the outside corner with 3 unhittable changeups. But what it boiled down to, on a night where only 1-0 could win it, was that Kirk Saarloos made a ton of great pitches and then missed the target once by a foot-and-a-half. Sometimes you get away with one mistake, sometimes you don't.

Johan Santana is incredible. It's not just that his fastball is mid-90s, his slider late breaking, and his changeup deceptive, but he will throw his fastball, his slider, or his changeup, to any hitter, in any count, interchangeably--because he has equally pinpoint command of all three pitches. He's a guy you have to be ready to beat 1-0. Or to lose to 2-1, unfortunately.

Finally, stats on "win shares" help to remind us that even when players appear to be so important that their absence is worth 4 games in 30, in fact that isn't really the case. But partly due to circumstance--the A's have played more one-run and two-run games than you could possibly predict--it seems like the A's really might miss Justin Duchscherer that much. By my recollection, there have been as many as 5 games since Duke went down where he would have pitched with the A's in a position to win, and where the A's have gone on to lose. You figure even Duke is human, so maybe he blows one of them. Is it possible that perception actually is reality, and that Duke's injury has actually cost the A's around 4 wins (the difference in the division) in the span of just one month?