For at least one day, Bobby Crosby made fools of the non-believers, lining a solid single (granted, on a hanging curve I could have hit) but then cracking a big 3-run HR in a 4-1 win. Watching Crosby during those first two at-bats, something looked a little different: He looked relaxed in his posture, not anxious, and the results were very good. Let’s hope it’s a trend.
Really, though, tonight’s story is Chad Gaudin. Here’s a guy whose only major league starts prior to 2007 had been unmitigated disasters—3 hits per inning, “Joe Kennedy spring training level” disasters—a guy who pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 2006, and who wasn’t even given the chance to compete with four uninspiring choices for a starting spot this spring. His first two starts were excellent, and this one was beyond excellent. It was dominant. From striking out the side to end the 1st inning, to scattering no hits in innings 3-7, to pitching effectively to contact and conserving pitches well enough to give the A’s 7.2 sparkling innings, right now Gaudin looks like a pitcher with great stuff who knows how to pitch. Not bad for a 24-year old the A’s practically picked up on the side of the road. Beane there, done that.
Granted, they’re down Vlad and some key starting pitchers, but right now the Angels look bad. Garret Anderson, who has looked rejuvenated this season, looked suddenly old again tonight, Gary Matthews Jr. looks like the 3rd-string CFer, and the offense looks a lot like…well, ours. It won’t last; the Angels are the A’s competition for the AL West, make no mistake about it. But for at least one night, the A’s just looked superior—right down to the battle of the shortstops.