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#15 Just Can't Get #15

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Final Score: Rangers 5, A’s 3. After spotting Texas a 5-0 lead, the A’s rallied with two in the 8th and one in the 9th but fell short.

Tonight was the next phase of slight but steady decline for Danny Haren, who has been one of the truly bright spots for Oakland—but who, after winning 14 games in 2005 and 14 games in 2006, remains stuck on 14 wins in 2007. After starting the season brilliant and sustaining that stellar level for a full 3 months, Haren shifted down to “good,” then “decent,” then “not so great,” and finally tonight he just wasn’t very good at all.

What’s the problem? Basically nothing. It’s sometimes easy to forget how young a veteran Danny Haren is. This is only Haren’s 3rd season as a starting pitcher and he will turn just 27 later this month. Hopefully, Danny finishes strong because he has been so good overall you hope his statistics will reflect just how consistently he gave the A’s a chance to win again and again and again.

And now, a word (or 183) about just how bad a pitcher stymied the A’s tonight. You see, Edinson Volquez’ career stats are actually more ridiculous than his name. His 14.21 ERA in 2005 was easily explained by the .403 batting average against him. His 7.29 ERA in 2006 demonstrated that you just can’t walk more batters than you strike out if you’re going to give up 52 hits in 33.1 innings. Prior to tonight, Volquez’ level of suck-alamaccia was so dangerous that children were barred from looking at him. When you google “Edinson Volquez,” Google asks, “Are you sure you meant to waste your time researching this loser?”

I know, I know, you’re going to point out that Volquez actually has good stuff, a mid-90s fastball, “there’s no doubt about this guy’s arm,” and so on. I never doubted he had an arm. I just think the A’s should be able to get more than 2 hits in 6 shutout innings against him when elderly ladies are going 3-4, blind babies are going 2-4, and even Crosby is going 0-2 with a walk.

But hey, good for him.