FRANK F. THOMAS. How can you be any better?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?
Today's game was HUGE. Turning a loss into a win seems to be what our team does best lately, and it adds no small amount of satisfaction that we did it against a team who needed to win about ten times more than we did today. And it's icing on an already fantastic cake that Frank Thomas pretty much single-handedly pushed his new team closer to the playoffs, and at the same time, pushed his old team away from them. Poetic justice, that.
Today's game also summed up perfectly why even though I would much rather face the White Sox than the Twins in the playoffs, I am physically incapable of rooting for the White Sox idiotic style of baseball play.
I have long believed that the White Sox of 2005 were actually a 110 win team that was mismanaged into a 99 win team. Any time your top basestealer can only manage to steal 69% of the bases attempted, he has cost his team much-needed outs, especially leading off a powerhouse lineup. How many homeruns were hit after he had been cleared from the bases?
And don't even get me started on 'small ball'. The White Sox are no small ball team. They are among the league leaders in power numbers, they have stellar pitching, and the only reason they seem to lose games is because their offense can't always make up for their manager's inexplicably stupid decisions. In today's game, for instance, who in the world lays down a sacrifice bunt with no one out in the second inning and your 8 & 9 hitters waiting on deck, against a pitcher who couldn't find the strike zone with a detailed map?
And on that note, I wonder what Ozzie has to say about his team allowing the go-ahead and insurance runs to be walked in by two different pitchers? That is small ball, right?
And I say this every single time I write, but my biggest concern for <ahem> October baseball is the fact that Macha leaves Zito in too long. I can understand today--you have sixteen games in a row and have to somewhat protect your bullpen; Zito is durable, and an innings-eater. Yet...what if you have a game that you must win in a short series and the Zito we saw today was pitching? How much rope do you give your #1 starter in a game you absolutely have to win, and can Macha pull a quick trigger if/when it is required?
But enough with the griping. All is happy and glittery with the A's right now, because not only do they have FRANK F. THOMAS, but rumors have hit the AP wire...
RICH HARDEN COULD START THURSDAY
I have mixed feelings about this. First of all, it hasn't been confirmed by the A's...yet. We'll have to wait and see. But if true...wow. I have always thought that Harden, if he came back at all during this season, should pitch out of the 'pen, But I don't make the decisions. However, giving Zito an extra day of rest and throwing him to start the series against the Angels next weekend does have a certain appeal.
And I think it goes without saying, but I will never forgive the A's organization if anything close to what happened to Liriano happens to Harden. If there is any doubt that Harden is not 100%, I want the A's to shut him down for the season and revisit this issue in March. We'll play without him.
However, if I'm selling sunshine and puppies--and I am!--then this is the best damn news I've heard in months, and could be the difference between the first week of October and the second!
Hopefully, the Texas Rangers can remember that their offense averages over six runs a game, and put up more than one run against the Angels tonight, and we can start the single-digit countdown.
And just a reminder...if you live in the LA Area, we're meeting again at Grunions in Manhattan Beach on Wednesday night to watch the game. Come out and cheer the A's with the SoCal ANers!
A'S GO FOR THE SERIES SWEEP TOMORROW! LET'S GO OAK-LAND!!!!!