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Falling Behind Early? Never a Good Strategy

Slipping down to a 20-game season package from our usual 40-game package has me scuttling around the stadium from night to night. Yesterday, I was in section 112, behind the visitor's dugout. Tonight, I was in section 122, along the third base line. But regardless of the new vantagepoint, you could see from any angle in the park that giving up a 3-run shot in the first inning would reduce your chances of winning.

The game's 6:05 start had the Rangers playing in relative sunlight, and David Murphy's shot went out, whereas similar blasts by Cust and others the night before had been stopped by the cold and wind.

As the A's struggled early, failing to capitalize with the bases loaded in one inning, and squandering two men on in another, I could sense this wasn't going to be the back and forth battle we witnessed Thursday in Anaheim. Even if Gaudin was throwing his best stuff tonight, and he wasn't, us answering the first frame's 3 with corresponding zeroes the next four innings wasn't going to get it done. Sweeney's 2-run double in the fifth came with the game already in our deficit, 5-0, and Crosby could get us only one run closer, to 5-3, before the angel wings fell off Andrew Brown, and his spotless ERA was dirtied by Chris Shelton, who's back in the majors after pulling a disappearing act the last season and a half.

Meanwhile, our big guys couldn't get it done. Thomas had an extremely meager 0-4, barely getting the ball out of the infield, and we had another promising chance disappear on the back of a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play that caught Crosby trying to take second.

After splitting the series with the Angels in Anaheim, the A's have now seen the basement-dwelling Rangers come to our house and take two, putting us down to second place, as the Angels won today. While some fans might have been happy only to get the 1968-style caps from today's give-away, I was hoping for a win, and we didn't get it. There will be one more chance tomorrow, at 1:05.