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Merry Ausmus

First of all, though it didn't end well for the A's this was an intriguing game of unlikely twists and turns, with each twist seemingly more improbable than the previous one. There was Joe Kennedy's two-run double, then Brad Ausmus' first HR of the season, then a Jason Kendall double (yes, the most improbable of all), then a Jason Kendall sighting in left-field, then Kurt Suzuki saving the game with a great defensive play. And then Ausmus again; bleah.

What the A's should take out of this game is that certain pitches don't go with certain counts or situations. Usually, the A's are good this way due to their outstanding preparation and attention to detail. But tonight's game was largely decided by two pitches to Brad Ausmus that should never have been whacked. One was an 0-2 pitch by Kennedy, with the pitcher on deck, that should not have been hittable. The other was a 3-0 cookie by Flores with a base open; no reason to give in with a BP fastball, no reason to assume Ausmus was taking. (And wouldn't you know it--we put the guy out in left field and they're still running on Jason's arm!)

None of which would have mattered if the A's could have pushed the go ahead run across from third with nobody out and the "heart" of the order up. Terrible at bats by Swisher, Chavez, and Crosby--not just bad outcome, horrible process--when the A's had a chance to go for the jugular.

The A's were without Street, Duchscherer, Buck, Stewart, and Bradley, and tonight you saw the direct impact of not having those guys available for the late innings and the middle-of-the-order at bats. You don't usually strike out 18 times and win; today the A's almost did, but almost won't get you any closer to the Angels.