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Stray Thoughts From This Stray Dawg

Take your pick of subjects to dissect. Dissect all three and you get…free eggroll!!!

• Daric Barton is a good role model for Jack Cust. 2-0 is called a “hitter’s count” not a “walker’s count”. Barton gets into hitter’s counts so he can look for a good pitch to drive. Cust gets into hitter’s counts looking to get into even better counts until he has walked. It was encouraging to see Cust drive a 2-0 pitch to left-center field for a two-run double yesterday. It was positively Bartonian. Keep it up!

• As the NL Wild Card race tightens (three teams separated by just 1.5 games) and as the Tigers chase the Yankees in the AL, I am reminded of how patently flawed it is to combine a Wild Card spot with an unbalanced schedule. The Padres and Phillies are not playing the same schedule yet they are fighting for the same spot. Besides the “dull factor” (here’s Gaudin facing the Rangers for the 5th time…) and the inanity of an AL team like the A’s not seeing Detroit until July 30th, it is just wrong to have teams fighting for the same playoff spot, but on different terms.

• I’m glad the A’s aren’t babying their starters in the second half. Chad Gaudin has struggled mightily since the ASB and Danny Haren has hit his version of the skids, yet both are healthy and throwing hard, and so the A’s have let them trudge forward. As it should be. Fans may have a “protect their arms even when they don’t need it!” mindset, but coaches need to maintain the “ pitch through it” mindset that builds endurance and resilience. By all accounts, Gaudin is mentally tired; his experience this August and September should pay off next August and September in better physical and mental stamina. For Haren to be a true ace, he needs to learn how to pitch through, and recover quickly, from bad spells like he is going through right now. The only way to train your body to handle 200 innings is to pitch 200 innings. Kudos to the A’s for putting mental toughness and resilience first—it will pay off in 2008.

Dan Meyer makes his second start tonight at 7:05pm vs. Texas. See you then.