I want to first give a big thank you to fate for giving the A's a night against the Red Sox on national TV (ESPN2) and the A's were fortunate enough to face the Boston team without Ramirez and Ortiz. On top of that, thanks to Felix Hernandez for taking the title of "King" back once again against the Angels tonight. He was dominant, dispatching the Angels in just over two hours while Kelvim Escobar pitched a gem himself. It was sort of the same situation with the A's and Haren versus Padilla last night.
Any way, the A's also have something to add to their 2006 resume. At least for one night. They finally have the best runs scored/runs against differential in the AL West at +38. The Angels are +20, Rangers are are +34 and the Mariners are -24. From where the A's have been most of the season, this could just be the stats finally following the results.
Esteban Loaiza finishes August with a 1.48 ERA and cements his place in Oakland history right behind Lidle's August of 2002 as the single best month of any A's starting pitcher. His ERA is now finally below five and his record is over .500. He's giving the A's innings as Beane wanted and doing it efficiently. He's been huge when the A's have needed him most.
As for the A's offense, the A's did what they do very well and that is beat up on mediocre pitching with a patient approach that led to a three-hour game. The A's walked seven times in the first six innings. And it was great to see the ghost of A's present meet once again with the ghost of A's future as Frank Thomas and Swisher did their thing once again. It's no wonder when you see the Big Hurt's line as to why Billy Beane could be pursuing re-signing him now. 1-1, HR, 3 BB, 2 RBIs. And once again, Bobby Kielty was once again the lefty-hitting specialist. Kielty could be huge if the A's make the playoffs to go against guys like Randy Johnson or Santana and/or Liriano.
The rest of this series could be another story if Beckett pitches the way he did in his last start. Although it's looking like the A's could miss out on Manny Ramirez for the entire series.
For one night though, it's six and a half games and the breathing room feels nice. Thank you, sweet fate.