Well, on the bright side, our craptastic offense did manage to string together enough consecutive hits to put a crooked number on the board early, but refused to score, or basically hit, or really do anything else offense-related after that. It’s easy to point to Duchscherer as the difference in the game, as he gave up the tying runs in the eighth, or Street, who coughed up the go-ahead runs in the ninth, but honestly, any time you get one-hit for eight innings, you probably aren’t going to win the game anyway.
After a rough first inning by Buehrle, he didn’t give the A’s much to hit after that. Well, that’s the opinion I’m taking today, but it sure is hard to tell if the opposing pitchers are really good against us, or we really just can’t hit.
The silver lining of the powerless, badly-hitting, un-RISP-y black cloud is Mike Piazza, who continued his torrid start today, collecting another hit in the form of a 2-RBI double in the first; he is now 14-33 in his last eight games. Chavez had a RBI double as well, but after the first inning, the offense quickly slid back in its deep freeze.
It was bound to happen; the pitching just wasn’t there today from the usually-dependable set-up man and closer, which was a shame, since the game started out pretty well. I think Kennedy has been performing a little bit of a Houdini act these last couple of games; I can’t prove it, but I think he’s wiggled out of trouble more on luck than pitching prowess, but with that being said, his line still looked pretty decent: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
And I’ve said it before this early season, but it’s worth repeating; I love Geren’s quick hook. So far this year, he absolutely refuses to let our starting pitchers do irreparable damage, probably because he knows that if we have a one or two run lead early, that’s all we’re going to get; thus we should use each and every resource to try to protect it. I also think he recognizes that at least four members of our bullpen are usually better than three of our five starting pitchers, and this advantage should be exploited whenever possible. With the day off tomorrow, Geren could afford to use up the ‘pen, and he did so in trying to protect a slim lead. Ultimately this failed, but the blame lies with Duchscherer and Street, not Geren.
The good news of the bullpen is that Kiko Calero looks like he’s settling down nicely after his rough couple of early games, and Marshall got himself out of a big-league jam with his secret GIDP pitch in the seventh. Unfortunately, even though Duchscherer struck out the side in the 8th, he also gave up the game-tying homerun to Jermaine Dye, and to say Street was awful in the ninth is the understatement of the week. This falls into Nico’s theory of pitching: The more pitchers you use, the more likely it is that one (or two) will have an off-day, and boy, did they.
Still, last time I checked, the A’s pitching staff is still among the league leaders in ERA, and rightly so; our starters just keep throwing quality start after quality start. It stands to reason that if they keep pitching well, the offense is bound to catch up...right? Right?!
But we all know the real test of our pitching will be the next three games, as the New York Yankees and their big boy offense come into the Coli on Friday night with the intent to do some damage against Haren, Blanton, and Harden. Perhaps our offense can break out against Yankees pitching. It’s worth a shot.
But for now, the best thing the A’s can do is chalk today up to a tough loss, get some rest, and pray that Milton Bradley can play this weekend.