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After Today's Game: Debriefing The A's

Sorry, ladies; I meant "debrief" strictly in the analytical sense. Here's my 2 cents on some of the A's key issues, after watching today's game, a 6-4 victory by Oakland:

* How did Chad Gaudin do?

You have to like the 0 BBs and could argue that was the most important aspect of a Chad Gaudin outing, but I was far from overwhelmed by today's performance. My main concern is that Gaudin's fastball looked pretty straight and as a result, the Giants made a lot of solid contact off his fastball. The 0 BB line was also a little deceiving in that long counts forced Gaudin to give in several times and certainly took their toll on his pitch count. I still like Gaudin's upside as a starter more than I like Halsey's or Windsor's, but under no circumstances will the rotation be "solid" as long as it has both Gaudin and Kennedy in it--you wanted those two to be an either/or proposition.

* Durazo or Walker?

I gotta tell you, in the final analysis the answer may be Buck. Why sacrifice defense twice by putting an inadequate first baseman out there and putting Swisher in the OF, just to try to get the Hattebergesque production that the 2007 models of Durazo or Walker might give you? Travis Buck just keeps having quality at-bats, he looks calm against major league pitching, he's cheap, and he improves your infield defense by moving Swisher to where he belongs. Platooning Buck and Kielty will give you as good or better overall offensive numbers than you can expect from either Durazo or Walker, and defense is important. Perhaps the Bay Area is where the Buck stops? Probably not, but we'll know for sure by noon tomorrow.

* Lemonade from lemons?

Most of us would take a healthy Kotsay, Johnson, and Loaiza over the depth-buster that is the roster's current state of uncertainty and flux. However, were it not for injuries to both Kotsay and Johnson, Buck would not still be here showing how ready he appears to be for the big leagues. Were it not for Loaiza's injury, Gaudin would never have been considered for the rotation, but now he has leapfrogged (or is it "leaptfrog"?) over two pitchers--Halsey and Windsor--with inferior stuff and less apparent upside. Who knows how much chance they will even have, but if Buck and Gaudin wind up outperforming the players they are replacing, necessity will have proven to be the mother of invention.