Are the A's going to get another remarkable season from a rent-a-player like they did from Frank Thomas last year? If Mike Piazza has anything to say about it, they will. What a better way to endear yourself to the green and gold faithful than a monstrous smash off one of the goggle pen members to win a ballgame? Funny thing is, he hit that home run off Rodriguez pretty much the same place Kielty hit his memorable home run off Rodriguez a couple of seasons ago. Only Piazza took that out opposite field. You gonna tell me that I'm too old to catch up to an upper 90s fastball? Shut your mouth.
But seriously, could this have been a better game? The A's and Angels is becoming one of the best series in baseball to watch. It felt like October watching this game tonight. Every pitch seemed to have meaning. When the A's took the 2-0 lead, you just seemed to know that the Angels were going to come back because that's what happens when these two teams play each other. They always seem to only be one run better than each other. It's like watching two thoroughbreds racing. The Yankees and Red Sox? Heck no, the best rivalry in baseball right now are these two. The games are almost always playoff quality (although that could change with Joe Kennedy pitching tomorrow).
Any way, a huge congratulations to Chad Gaudin who gave the A's a huge quality start tonight, only giving up two runs on back-to-back jacks to Vlad and Anderson. The best part of Gaudin's night? He threw 74 pitches and 52 of them were strikes and ZERO walks. It's always a huge lift when you can get a win out of someone who is basically your sixth starter going into the season.
And this game tonight showed exactly why Billy Beane believed in keeping Duchscherer in the bullpen and not making him a starter. He's sooooo valuable as a setup man and basically wound up cleaning up the mess Calero left and wound up getting a win out of it. It's extremely smart to do exactly that when you know that you're going to have a lot of close games throughout the year.
By the way, how many of you gasped when it looked like Ellis got hit on the hand? It wouldn't exactly be good to have your biggest early season offensive producer go down, but it also wouldn't have shocked me the way things have gone the last few seasons.
It was also quite sweet to see the game end on the A's throwing out the Aybar trying to steal second base. I only wish that Joe Morgan was there to call the game. It was a nice little cherry on top of a sweet, October-like sundae.