First of all, Dan Johnson and I appear to be asking the same question: How did he not hit that ball farther? A great pitch to hit, a great swing, a great look off the bat, and me thinking, "Holy crap, we've done it again!" ends with Johnson muttering to himself and anyone who will listen. Remarkably, the A's got not one but two chances to master Joe Nathan, who left a 1-1 fastball right over the plate to Bobby Crosby. You don't get pitches like that twice from Nathan and you know Swisher or Bradley would have punished that pitch. But you know that if Crosby were 6'4" Castillo would have been doubled off in the top of the 10th, but what good does that do us now?
Meanwhile, don't bother to criticize Bob Geren for his choice of relievers because he has no good options beyond Alan Embree, who has done a great job as closer thanks to the magic of small sample size. After him you have Calero, whose refusal to throw fastballs has caught up to him in the biggest way; Calero, far from turning things around, is getting worse and worse as he loses confidence for good reason. Marshall is fine for one hitter but most teams insist on sending up at least three every inning. And I needn't say anything more about Colby Lewis and Jay Witasick because, well, they are Colby Lewis and Jay Witasick. The result is that a tie doesn't go to the runner, it goes to the team the A's are playing. Tonight's game is why my guarded optimism turned to extreme pessimism the exact moment I learned Duchscherer would not in fact be back Wednesday. When you look at the options facing Bob Geren at any given moment, you realize that the bullpen situation right now is "scary bad".
Finally, I want to refute the notion, oft bemoaned in the game thread, that the A's were stymied by a scrub. The fact that you've never heard of a guy doesn't mean he isn't good. All the pitchers you fear are guys you had never heard of once. Kevin Slowey is a #2 draft pick who walked 8 batters in 72 innings his first minor league season and had walked 5 batters in 64 innings this year when he was called up. The guy knows what he is doing.
I love how the A's battle in their last at-bat no matter what star closer they're facing; I just hate how often they have to try to resort to last minute heroics.