On today's Seattle Broadcast, Chavez was quoted as saying something to the effect of:
"I can't explain why we win every time over Seattle. But you know what? They have to solve it and we don't."
Well, it was not without drama (but, really, what 2006 Oakland A's game ISN'T), but we did come away with another win today, the series sweep, and the A's beat the Mariners. Again. Some more.
Nearly lost in the madness of the last three innings was this special gem of a moment that I'm not going to gloss over. Take a second with me and just relive the 0-2 pitch to Frank Thomas, that was straight out of the movies. Two curveballs; Frank badly fooled on both, and then a high, beautiful, hard, straight fastball came high into The Big Hurt's wheelhouse. He didn't miss it. In the blink of an eye, he turned the A's 2-0 deficit in a 3-2 advantage with his monster second-deck homerun, which should have led Oakland on its merry way all the way to the win.
But somewhere around the seventh, the simple formula of: <Calero for the 7th + Duchscherer for the 8th + Street for the 9th = Win> got scrambled and Calero was yanked unceremoniously early by Kenipe Machalou, leaving Duke to clean up the mess than Halsey left.
And all of a sudden, it's the eighth inning and Street is in. It's not when he starts the eighth and then pitches the ninth that he has trouble, but rather trouble seems to rear its ugly head when he comes into the eighth in trouble (and it was as bad as it gets today), and then also has to pitch the ninth. However, today, even with the horrible, horrible 'base hit' in the ninth, Street was able bear down and finish the game. Just like a real closer. Here's your card, kid.
It was not Macha's fault that Kielty didn't catch the ball, Duchscherer was shaky, and all the breaks went the Mariners' way in the bottom of the eighth. However, with a three-run lead, no one on base, and having just recorded the first two outs of the seventh, there was no reason in the world why Calero shouldn't have finished the inning. But Macha got cute with the bullpen management and it cost the A's a run in the seventh, may have contributed to Duke's struggles in the eighth, and forced Huston start the ninth having already thrown two-thirds of a stressful inning to get there. And all of that for a more favorable match-up? Calero's a better pitcher than Halsey. Try that match-up.
And another thing. If you're going to pinch-run for Thomas, then DO IT. I would think it's just as likely for Payton to hit a run-scoring double as for Swisher to hit a single, so if you are going to take Frank Thomas out of the game ANYWAY in the ninth, why not do it when he's on first instead of waiting until he's on second? Or if you're worried about extra innings, than commit to using Frank on the bases no matter what happens.
My two cents.
Things that went right today:
- Frank Thomas
- Joe Blanton
- Jay Payton
- Jason Kendall
- Milton Bradley
- Eric Chavez
- Nick Swisher
- Kiko Calero
- Huston Street
- The Athletics fans in Seattle who came through loud and clear with the "Let's Go Oak-land" cheer today
- Special thanks to Safeco Park for hosting the 'All-A's' event this weekend
The A's are officially rolling right now, but in order to keep it going down the stretch, they absolutely need to see what they did from Nick Swisher today. After his first disastrous pop-up, Swisher came alive; his credits include a deep fly ball, a single, and what turned out to be the game-winning homerun.
We can afford to hide a 'below-average-offensively' second baseman (which we do), and even a 'below-average offensively' shortstop (which we also do, be it Crosby or Scutaro) in our lineup, but in order to make-up for these deficits, another position has to be better than average. Most teams use first base to make-up for any extra offensive needs, but unfortunately, this has not been the case for the A's since well before the All-Star break. But here's hoping that today was a sign that Swisher's getting healthy.
So here's a question for the remainder of the weekend:
Do you prefer the 'clean' baseball games, where the A's are leading the whole way, getting great pitching and timely hitting; are in control from the first to the last pitch, where the win is never in question?
Or do you prefer the games where you honestly don't know what the outcome will be until the last pitch is thrown? The games where you take a rollercoaster ride along with the team, and experience the lowest of lows, followed by the highest of highs?
Reminder: AN Day Anaheim deadline is tomorrow morning at 9 AM.