Well, I have good news and bad news. Wait...no. It’s mostly bad today. What fun. Let’s start with:
Milton Bradley grabbing his hamstring as he ran down the line and subsequently coming out of the game.
Nick Swisher grabbing his hamstring and limping around a bit.
Mike Piazza grabbing his hamstring and limping around a bit.
The rumors that Rich Harden is going to miss Tuesday’s start. What a surprise.
To be fair though, Rich or no Rich, our starting pitching is lacking nothing right now. They have started better than anyone in baseball, and if we had the offense of, say, the Yankees, it is not a stretch to say that we might have won 95% of our games played so far. So, if you’re looking for a silver lining, I guess it’s that we can’t waste every quality start, right?
I was initially pleased to see a moderate amount of offense--not the blowout of Friday, but not the shutout of last night--as the A’s scattered eleven hits for three runs. This might have stood up in Oakland, but three runs are usually a drop in the bucket in this park. It didn’t help that Duchscherer did his best Rincon impression today. You have to wonder if Duke is hurt; he just hasn’t seemed right.
Like everyone else, I was lulled into the pace of the game, tied 1-1, when Crosby had what seemed like an innocuous base-hit and a stolen base, and after Kendall failed to get him to third with less than two outs, Shannon Stewart came out of NOWHERE with his second homerun in three days. That should have been enough to win, but Duchscherer simply melted down in the eighth. Having your closer come in for a bases-loaded, one-out save opportunity in the eighth against Blalock just doesn’t seem fair. Huston did absolutely everything he could to get out of the situation, but it was too late, and the game was lost with an impossible single. The A’s put a couple of runners on in the ninth, just to tease us, but to no avail.
On a more positive note, in the absurdly small sample size of the last few games, Bobby Crosby has looked really good. His fielding has picked up; he’s not trying for the homerun every at bat, he’s spraying singles to every field, and it looks like he’s healthy enough to be a threat on the basepaths. I’m not willing to label it more than a good couple of days, but it’s better than usual for our enigmatic shortstop. Another positive is that so far this young season, Nico looks more than justified for his year-long begging for Gaudin to have a chance to start. He was great today.
In fact, the starting pitchers on the whole have quite a bit to be frustrated about. They pitch ridiculously well, game after game, and either the A’s offense doesn’t show up, or the bullpen forgets how to pitch, and all they have to show for it is a .500 record.
It’s going to be a long week for the A’s; a lot of banged-up players, and zero days off to rest them. I expect the bench to be busy, and I have no idea what management will do with the starting pitching situation. Stay tuned.
Ahem...I’m not usually one for PSA’s, but since every single Bay Area station is pimping this, I feel like I should join suit. In case you have missed it somehow by living in a cave, or not owning a television, the Warriors have made it into the playoffs for the first time in a very long time, and are set to play tonight at 6:30. If you can tear yourself away from the Yankees/Red Sox tonight, I thought I’d offer an alternative.
The A’s play in Baltimore (Hi Miggy!!) tomorrow night at 4:05 PT. See you then!