You can’t help wonder what might have been, had Jack Cust caught the most routine of fly balls to begin Dan Meyer’s journey as an Oakland Athletic. Meyer wasn’t strong—he failed to record a single strikeout in 4 innings and his command hardly measured up to his counterpart, Brian Bannister—so perhaps Meyer was going to struggle in his debut no matter what. Yet watching Meyer cruise impressively through the 2nd inning, changing speeds and showing some life on his fastball, you wonder just how much he was rattled by the error which opened the game, the door, and the floodgates.
Cust’s gaffe was just the first of many bizarre moments in this game. Casilla letting Gathright’s dribbler roll up the first base line, and then picking it up right when it was going to roll foul if it ever was—and right after it was clearly too late to make a play on Gathright. Almost as stupid as trying to knock down a line drive with your bare hand, as Casilla did later in the inning, and almost as stupid as taking your time before throwing home late, as Casilla did on the same play—as Suzuki was pointing to first base instead of blocking the plate. Nearly as bizarre as Jay Marshall throwing a wild pitch trying to toss the first pitch of an intentional walk. Oy vey.
Talk about a game that wasn’t meant to be. So Buck is dead, Casilla may need to change his first name again to Mordecai, and the Tim Hudson still hasn’t quite panned out. MULLIGAN, PLEASE!
My thoughts on Meyer from my seats behind the plate…His fastball clocked 90-93 on the stadium gun, but honestly that seemed generous; his velocity was either a bit less (88-91?) or he didn’t have that “giddyup” you want to see on a fastball. At times it was good, but it never looked great to me. His changeup, on the other hand, was inconsistent but at times outstanding. Especially in the 2nd and 4th—you know, the innings where he didn’t throw 84 pitches—he pulled the string on some changeups and you could see why he struck out more than a batter an inning this year at Sacramento. His slider looked average. Overall, clearly Meyer was nervous/overamped, and the error just helped things snowball, so I give him a mental mulligan and let’s see what Meyer can do next time out. That will tell us more than tonight’s spookfest, in which nothing was meant to be, and nothing was.
Great job by Brian Bannister—he was dealing.