The A’s may have too many ways to lose right now, but they also have quite a few ways to win. One reason the A’s don’t spend a lot of their precious payroll on hitters is that the bread and butter in baseball remains pitching and defense. The pitching was provided by a sensational 122 pitch performance by Joe Blanton, who continues to be one of the better pitchers in the American League. The defense was provided by Mark Kotsay, who gunned down Troy Glaus trying to tag up from first. Why was that so important? The way Blanton pitched after the first inning tonight, it seemed like only defensive indifference could get the Blue Jays as far as second base.
Good call by Bob Geren to have Santiago Casilla (and not Alan Embree against this team that feasts on left-handed pitching) ready to close. Great call by Bob Geren to let Blanton finish the 9th. Blanton is an “old-time pitcher,” the guy who can give you 9 innings, a guy who could probably pitch in a 4-man rotation; they don’t make ‘em like that too much anymore so let’s take a moment to appreciate Joe Blanton—a guy who has now won 36 games in his first 2.5 seasons, by the way.
I too wish the A’s could score more than 0 ER off of guys like Jesse Litsch, but on the other hand, opposing team’s fans probably wish Jack Cust would stop getting baseballs caught between the moon and New York city. (I know it’s crazy—but it’s true.) When the A’s were making their move to 8 games over .500, they were getting contributions from different guys every day. Blanton carried the team today and the A’s got it done with pitching; who will it be tomorrow?