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Where Was This Team Back In April, May, June, and July?!

I never thought I’d be typing this in the 2007 season, but this team has been flat-out fun this week. It’s amazing what a little offense can do, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we would have been better served to have traded some of those spectacular pitching gems earlier in the season for a little more pop at the plate. Or Kendall for Suzuki earlier; either way.

Today’s pitching performance wasn’t spectacular; it wasn’t even particularly pretty. Haren threw what felt like a million pitches through six, his defense let him down to boot, and when was all said and done, he headed for the showers, racking up yet another ND. But unlike the rest of the season, that was a mere footnote in the game, instead of the headline story. The A’s offense refused to roll over and die, despite leaving their customary runner at third with zero outs. The only thing particularly noteworthy about that occurrence was that the runner on third was Mike Piazza, on base via a triple, the first of three hits in his bid for the cycle today.

Today was a story of redemption: Hannahan, who couldn’t quite replicate Chavez at third, managed to make up for it at the plate, driving in his first run after a tremendous at-bat to start the scoring for the A’s after the White Sox had opened up a 3-0 lead; Ellis, who popped up every pitch he saw until the game-winning one-out triple in the tenth; Swisher, who just missed catching a foul ball last night, made a huge catch in foul territory today to end the inning, leaving White Sox all over the bases; and Suzuki, who has been compared negatively (unfairly) to Jason Kendall behind the plate, not only drove in the A’s second run, but hit the game-winning, walk-off three run homerun (his second in less than 24 hours) to send the A’s to the win; and to the sweep. Kendall would not have done that.

Lost in the all the fun was a solo homerun by Shannon Stewart to tie the game, an incredible pitching performance by Andrew Brown, <gulp> scoreless innings by Embree and Lugo, and Geren taking on Ozzie toe-to-toe, and emerging victorious. I liked Geren taking the pressure off Hannahan by pinch-hitting Murphy, and I would like Billy Beane to note that no one, not ever would have pinch-hit Crosby. I’m just sayin’.

In case you have missed it, with dramatic fun and flair, the A’s have managed to put their rookies into some semblance of a real team, and have won four in a row, 11 of 16, and are now two games under .500. I think the adage ‘too little too late’ might still apply, but somehow when I wasn’t looking, this team became watchable again.

And the rookie parade just keeps on coming. Dan Meyer (yes, really!) starts his first game as an Athletic tomorrow night against Kansas City at 7:05, as the A’s go for 5 in a row; hopefully on the way to twenty.