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Washburned Away

It's one thing to hope the A's offense will put up a few crooked numbers against a not-so-good Seattle Mariners squad, but today's performance on the scoreboard made you go "OOOOOOOOO..." As in, "Ooooooooo, that's ugly."

After receiving an other-worldly 16 runs of support in his last outing, Joe Blanton was probably somewhat relieved tonight to see the A's he knew and loved were back to their usual ways, making him feel at home again. Against Jarrod Washburn, the A's couldn't manage anything more than three little singles, and in both cases, made the runners' presence moot by helping out with a double play - first with Piazza's 5-3 GIDP with a full count in the 4th inning, and to complete the 2-0 shutout, Chavez pulled a more traditional 4-6-3 in the 9th. While he may or may not have been safe by an eyelash, or an inch, or however those miniscule measures are assigned, the truth was that the A's never really threatened.

Blanton pitched well, as he and Washburn made rapid work of both team's offenses, wrapping up the game in a Maddux-like 1 hour and 47 minutes. The only blemishes on Kentucky Joe's record were a pair of left-field solo shots, from former Oakland A Jose Guillen, and in the 8th, the first of the year for Kenji Johjima.

With Kotsay, Bradley, Kielty and Swisher out, it's tempting to chalk tonight's loss up to the inexperienced youth of fill-ins Danny Putnam or Travis Buck, or the rustiness of Dan Johnson in his first game back, but truth be told, Washburn just outpitched the A's squad tonight, including the regulars. It wasn't Putnam, Buck and Johnson hitting into double plays. Instead, it was Piazza and Chavez - two guys who know their way around the batter's box.

Also, in case you missed the news, bringing up Johnson meant sending somebody down, and today's unlucky winner was the much beloved, but little played, Adam Melhuse, who joins the AAA Sacramento squad. Piazza is anticipated to back up Kendall in case of emergency, and in his pre-game interview with Ken Korach, A's manager Bob Geren was extremely cagey about any long term plans, whether regarding Melhuse or even if Dan Johnson was the new every day first baseman. As we are all too familiar with here at AN... the forecast is "day to day".