I'm shocked! It's a one-run game for the Oakland Athletics. They never play one-run games, do they? Oh wait, what's that? This is their 34th one-run game this season? That's second most in the majors this season behind Pittsburgh? Oh, I stand corrected.
The A's are now 6-2 in games that Loaiza has started since he's come back off the DL. He hasn't exactly been the innings-eater the A's were looking for, lasting no longer than 5 1/3 innings his last three starts, but the team has such a good pen that they've been able to get the wins out of it. I was actually somewhat surprised to see him come back out after the rain delay, but it turned out to be a good decision since he looked like a different pitcher after the delay.
For all the heat Billy Beane has taken for the offensive struggles this year, the GM should also get a lot of praise for building one of the best bullpens in baseball. I'm not sure if there is a better 1-2-3 punch at the end of the game than Duke, Calero and Street. And the depth of having someone like Halsey who was able to weasel out of a jam in the sixth is just an incredible bonus. Of course, the A's are lucky that their great pen is covering for Loaiza's short outings of late.
The offense was once again somewhat nonexistent, but I think people should get on Crosby's back more often. He seemed inspired tonight, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a key two-run bomb. Perhaps he's finding himself a little more batting lower in the lineup.
And tonight you saw the absolute brilliance of Eric Chavez and why it's important to have him in the field. Granted, he shouldn't be hitting fourth right now, but he's still an amazing, Gold Glove defender at third base. Maybe Halsey doesn't get out of that jam in the sixth without Eric Chavez...but it's time to move Chavez down and bat the hot bats in the middle of the lineup. Put Payton and Kielty there and ride them during their hot streaks.
The bottom line is that no matter what happens with the Angels tonight (they've taken a 5-1 lead in the fifth), the A's retain first place in the AL West one more day. They also have Zito going tomorrow morning against Mr. Anna Benson, so hopefully our green and gold muppets leave crab city with a 5-2 record on this road trip heading into Motown.