Emil Brown's inability to catch a fly ball Dr. Earl Holloway could have handled allowed the Rays to score three unearned runs in the 8th and render useless brilliant pitching by Greg Smith and Joey Devine. Final Score: Rays 3, A's 2.
Everything else went swimmingly. The A's offense, even if not mistaken for robust, got the one run Greg Smith needed to beat one of the best lefties in the game, Scott Kazmir. Smith was sensational for 7 shutout innings, Joey Devine even better under dire circumstances. Frank Thomas even homered late.
All of which was offset when Emil Brown, with the bases loaded and two outs in the 8th, and the A's leading 1-0, lost a fly ball in the "I've never actually been very good at any part of the game, which is why no other team wants me, but I had a month where I drove in a lot of runs so they'll let me hurt the team for a while longer."
The ball will find you. Cust was out of the game at this point, which was supposed to be the reason we didn't have to hold our breath when the ball was hit, and when Ryan Sweeney came in, Geren could just as easily have put him in LF or RF. We only had one liability out there at this point in the game and it was Brown, now in LF - and the ball found him. Too bad he didn't find the ball.
No, we shouldn't have called Buck up by now. To lose a full year of his service time to get him back a week sooner would be dumb. No, we shouldn't have called Carlos Gonzalez up by now. He is still raw, inconsistent, learning - a guy you call up later rather than sooner because his skills are ahead of his "readiness for prime time". And no, Brown is not the answer to anything - not the present, not the future. Just a nice April, 2008, that's it. Eventually, soonish, our OF will get better. Right now, it's like the rest of the team: not quite good enough, frustrating, just bad enough to lose.
I hate May.