Considering the way tonight's game started, with Josh Beckett looking practically unhittable, the A's were fairly lucky to have taken the final score all the way to 6-4 with their battered lineup against a team sporting one of the top three records in all of baseball.
From Kendall's shockingly unexpected two run single in the fifth, to a two out RBI by the suddenly hot Dan Johnson and a 9th inning two out hit by Todd Walker that brought the potential tying run to the plate, there were positive signs in the offense. In fact, all four of the A's runs tonight came with two out - a situation we haven't been known for much over the last few seasons.
Tonight, we can't blame the offense much. The biggest issue for our green and gold tonight came when they were in the field.
Langerhans and Putnam waved the matador's cape in the outfield, while Kendall seemed to mimic his batting style while chasing down Mike Lowell in a rundown, throwing the ball down the middle and over second. Add up the three errors which led to two unearned runs, not counting Danny Putnam's flub that saw Youkilis score in the 9th, and you've got either a tie game or the A's leading by one. Either way, you have a completely different ballgame. It's small consolation that the two outfielders aren't exactly our first tier options.
Lowell's takedown of Piazza was horrible, to be sure, but in the bang-bang play atmosphere, it's very likely he wasn't thinking, and I doubt any of us believe it was malicious. Meanwhile, we got the chance to see Swisher isn't ready to do much of anything besides let his hair grow. The GIDP he offered up in pinch hitting for Piazza was painful to watch, both for what transpired and in seeing he would have been beaten out to first base by your average DMV clerk.
Tomorrow the A's have a day off to let the pain dissipate and rest up. It's clear they need it.
UPDATE: The A's acquired outfielder Chris Snelling from the Washington Nationals for outfielder Ryan Langerhans after the game.
UPDATE II: Piazza is expected to be out from 4 to 6 weeks, after suffering a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, according to the Chronicle's Susan Slusser (via A's Asst. GM David Forst). Options include yet more trades, or calling up Daric Barton from AAA.