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Clutch And Clutcher

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For at least one night, two RISP whipping boys restored their good names. Eric Chavez must be automatic, because no one seems to associate him with the clutch, but his single to left-center brought the A's even in the 7th. In the 9th it was Nick Swisher, owner of a career .205 average with RISP (just .190 a year ago) who came through. Swisher's 3-run HR put the A's over the hump, as Oakland finished the night just 2/14 with RISP--just good enough to win.

Meanwhile, Chris Snelling made a fine debut with a line drive single, a walk, and two long fly outs. He didn't have a bad at bat. And Jack Cust did what he does best--see a lot of pitches. Presumably, Cust will actually play tomorrow.

Also, props to Bob Geren for two excellent decisions. One was letting Duchscherer pitch the 8th "as if the A's had the lead," gambling that the A's could score in the 9th and make it retroactively so. With the Devil Rays' bullpen, it's a good gamble. The other was having Duchscherer pitch to Dukes and Wiggington, but walk Crawford intentionally. Dukes and Wiggington have holes and Duchscherer exploited them; Crawford is a guy you can make the "out pitch" to and he can still beat you.

How about just props to the A's in general? Half your team on the DL? The better half? No problem. All I hoped for from this team right now was a .500 record, and so far so good.