On July 26, Danny Haren was brilliant against the Red Sox. I said this as the opening to the wrap of that game...
Apparently, Haren wanted to go all "Empire Strikes Back" on us and top his last outing. He went the distance, saving a tired bullpen another appearance. He outdueled one of the A's recent nemesis in Santana and Milton Bradley and Jay Payton continued their hot hitting. The other beautiful thing is that Haren said that he watched a lot of tape on his last start and made adjustments going into this game on how to approach the Angels hitters. You taking notes on how to make adjustments, Bobby Crosby and Dan Johnson?
Lew Wolff was there to see Nick Swisher also make an Eric Chavez-like play at first with an amazing pick on an Adam Kennedy shot that would've likely been a double and second and third with no one out. Instead it was a double play with the bases empty. Perhaps there is something to this defense and pitching equation that Billy Beane has been preaching for a while now.
It was beautiful that Bradley hit that home run after he could've potentially been kicked out earlier in the game for flipping his bat away in anger after a questionable strike call. You had to guess that the Southern California fans were all over Bradley as well. That's why it is sweet justice.
Beane may get a lot of grief for not making a big trade, but what people don't realize is that he essentially made a move without ever doing anything when Bradley came off the DL. Bradley has been so important to the team and he truly is a special talent. He's very well could be that number three batter the team has been starving for since Tejada left.
This is a huge win as the A's are now up 1.5 games on their So Cal rivals. If Blanton can match his last start against Toronto tomorrow, than things will be looking up.