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Don't Tell Me That Lineups Don't Matter

In the 5th inning, I had already decided what my angle would be for tonight's game wrap. Trailing 3-1, the A's had their best shot--until the 9th, anyway--with runners at first and third and two out against Verlander. And up to the plate should have stepped Frank Thomas. He didn't, Eric Chavez, who can park in the blue zone right now, did, and the A's went on to be blown out.

Until the 9th, that is, when against all odds they rallied, and rallied some more, and then actually rallied some more, and brought the tying run to the plate. And up to the plate should have stepped Frank Thomas.

In my book, the worst decision of 2006 will go down as the A's refusal to put Chavy on the DL just before or after the All-Star Break. The second-worst decision will be insisting on batting him 4th. It's not fair to Chavez or anyone who roots for the A's. Since June 1st, Frank Thomas has been hitting...well, like Thomas hit for most of the 1990s, which is hall-of-fame caliber hitting. It would have been nice to see him up there.

As for Danny Haren, entering the 4th inning he had thrown 10 innings against Detroit this year, allowed 4 hits and one run. Still younger and greener than it's easy to forget he is, Haren's achilles heel surfaced in the 4th and 5th, and that is his inability to make adjustments in the middle of a bad inning. Start to start, he does fine making adjustments, but he is still very prone to the flurry of hits--tonight, try 8 hits in the span of 1+ innings. Worry not, though: this is only because he has not yet had the best teacher: experience. I think Haren will soon be among the league's best pitchers; in fact even right now he often is.

And had Frank Thomas been batting clean-up tonight, who knows--Haren just might have squirmed away with a no-decision. Grrr...