Today, the leadoff guy set the table extremely well, the guy in the #2 slot was self-sacrificing, and the big-name #3 guy just kept fouling off pitch after pitch until he got a hanger he could drive.
Oh, wait, this is the game wrap -- I thought for a second I was supposed to wrap up the pregame AN Day IV Q&A with Blez introducing Ken Korach and Billy Beane. My bad.
In a different type of "classic" result, today was the flip side of the good luck the Angels have enjoyed all season. Yes, today was classic third millennium Angels baseball: lots of meaningless dink hits by impatient batters, a good start ruined by lousy fielding and poor defensive positioning (WTF was Willits playing Buck so far off the line for?), and Vlad going all-or-nothing (and getting ... nothing; whew!).
Blanton wasn't exactly mesmerizing today, but he was effective in pitching to mostly harmless contact.
The A's hitters were patient. Really patient (7 walks). To the point, mostly, of even less harmful contact.
As the game went on, though, the starting pitchers went in divergent directions, Blanton getting stronger and Escobar wearing down and losing his feel for the strike zone. Street came on and was effective, and then Embree came in for an entirely uneventful ninth in nailing down the save.
This was the sort of game that ultimately demonstrated the superiority of Beane's management philosophy, with the A's staying close and enjoying not only the good fortune of Escobar's muff of the back end of Swisher's GIFC, but of having put themselves in position, by dint of their patience, to enjoy the fruits of Escobar's error and the Angels' odd decision to have Willits positioned well off the RF line for Buck's AB the next inning.
(Speaking of the ball hit by Swisher in that situation, salb918 and I had a devil of a time figuring out just who, exactly, should be granted clutch points for the clutchy clutchiness of that play.)
As for all the off-field AN Day IV hoo-hah, I think I can, on the basis of limited, anecdotal, and nonsignificant data, extrapolate that an outstanding time was had by all! Beane was his usual charming, deflective self, Korach was the epitome of grace and dignity, and Blez and baseballgirl did an awesome job putting the whole thing together.
Speaking on behalf of my won experience, it was a great opportunity to catch up with some RAF regulars, and to meet a whole slew of NRAF regulars (being so irregular myself, it made for a nice change of pace).