The problem with being Lenny DiNardo is that you don’t have any margin for error. So if the cutter isn’t working and it’s your bread and butter, or if you top out at 84 MPH and your location is a hair off, you just might give up 7 runs in 3 innings (Seattle), or 7 hits in a row (Toronto) or 6 hits in a row (tonight). Outings like tonight’s are why I think DiNardo can be a “luxury #5” starter but not necessarily a solid #4. I like him, but I’d make sure to keep four good starters in line ahead of him.
The one thing that puzzled me about DiNardo tonight is that he didn’t appear to throw many—if any—changeups until it was 4-0, first and third nobody out and he finally threw one that had Delmon Young flailing. Until then, DiNardo seemed to be throwing cutter after cutter, with an occasional lame attempt at a slow curve. I’m not sure what was going on there but I’m sure it didn’t much matter. Not tonight, where the A’s could have given up 5 fewer runs and scored a few and still lost.
Another tough customer awaits tomorrow in Scott Kazmir, but I like the A’s chances against Kazmir better than I liked their chances against Shields. Shields throws strikes and keeps hitters off-balance, and those are the toughest pitchers for the A’s to hit. Kazmir throws hard and can get wild and/or throw a lot of pitches, and while Kazmir is an excellent pitcher the A’s match up well against him.
It’s actually good when the game you’re shut down and the game your starter gets shelled are the same game, as 1 + 1 = 1 and the A’s can still win the series. I recommend they do just that.