Well, it was awfully considerate of Vlad and Howie Kendrick to watch the game from Los Angeles, instead of being in the lineup. Even with our missing Milton Bradley, I think that still worked out to our advantage. From a throwaway line by one of our announcers, it seems as if Bradley could indeed play in Texas on Friday, and I imagine the eternal A’s question: ‘To DL or not to DL?’ will be answered right about then.
It must be said: I continue to be simply amazed at the A’s pitching. Haren was ridiculously good today, even against a ‘less-than’ Angels’ offense, racking up a pitching line of 7.0, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, while lowering his ERA to 1.44. That’s ace stuff, right there. Duchscherer and Street closed the game out with no drama, which is just how we like wins; when they are never in question.
The Angels did help us out a bit, mostly by continuing to be terrible at base-running; this is nothing new. I don’t think I have ever seen a team (with the possible exception of an especially Ozzie-rific White Sox game) that is so consistently awful on the bases. The Angels get runners thrown out at second all the time, runners thrown out at third for the first and third out, and their-third-base-coach-with-the-best-name-in-baseball certainly helps the other team’s ‘outfield assists/throwing runners out at home’ category. Couple that with the Angels’ error column from last year, and they sure seem to give away a lot of outs. I’m all for our new approach to running, and stealing the occasional base, but I can do without patented ‘Angels Baseball’.
The pitching lines have really been the story lately; it wasn’t like our offense was anything special today, but they did rack up 8 hits, with Stewart and Chavez delivering three runs’ worth of RBIs in two different innings! I am a wee bit concerned about Swisher, though. Even against a good pitcher, he did not look good at the plate today, but then again, neither did Piazza or Crosby.
In other A’s news, Rich Harden is officially missing his start this weekend, and the soonest he will take the mound is Tuesday. His MRI came back negative, which is obviously good news; yet still a little concerning, since we really don’t know what is wrong. I hate to be pessimistic about Harden, but we’ve been trained well by this pattern in the past. First Harden misses one start due to what sounds like an innocuous injury, and that’s the last we see of him until September. Of course, without being preconditioned to the worst, the news sounds positive, although I’m sure that the A’s medical staff is probably just taking the ‘wait-and-see’ approach with this injury. The bad news is that Harden is already set to miss a start, and I don’t think I’ll feel much better until he actually is one the mound, pitching without pain.
The A’s have an off-day tomorrow as they head into Texas for a three-game series this weekend. Survey says: They should score some runs against Texas pitching.