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Billy Ball

This game was a see saw battle and the final difference was that element that Billy Beane has believed was undervalued for a few seasons and that was defense. Kinsler's error combined with Blalock's brain cramp to let a couple of extra runs and then DeRosa's mistake coming across the plate and bumping Kendall wound up being the difference in the A's going up on the Rangers by six and half games.

You compare that with the play made by both Chavez and Swisher when Eric stopped a sure double and Swisher picked it.

The starting pitching wasn't there tonight as Komine was roughed up by a great offense, but Saarloos came out of the pen and was just fantastic for four innings. I guess there is something to this pitching and defense thing.

Course the home runs by Swisher and Payton made the whole thing possible in the first place.

Ah yes, first place. That's someplace the A's have been able to stay in for quite some time now thanks to this defense and pitching recipe. The offense has been coming around now as well, now being 46-8 in games in which they've scored five or more runs.

Speaking of the number five, I do think that the fifth pitcher spot is a bit of a serious issue right now because Komine seemed to get a bit lucky in his first outing and was proven a little wobbly in outing number two. The A's also have a bunch of roster issues regarding pitching coming up within the next few weeks. At least until September rolls around.

Macha said there will probably be some clarity Wednesday regarding the three pitchers set to come off the DL soon. That's when he'll announce who will fill the Aug. 22 hole in the rotation that will be opened by the doubleheader scheduled for next Friday in Kansas City.

The most likely candidates for that spot start are lefty Brad Halsey and righty Kirk Saarloos, both of whom have started for the A's this year. If it is one of them, they'll need to be sent down to Sacramento to get stretched out (for at least 10 days, per MLB rules), opening a spot on the big-league roster.

I also think this means that Komine will be around for at least one more start.

Regardless, this is a victory that was all about pitching (bullpen), defense and a couple of long balls. Sounds like the new Billy Ball to me.