Man, you know Bobby Crosby should really no longer be public enemy number one around AN. All right, I know he isn't. That's fallen into Emil Brown's lap. But Crosby did something he needs to do more often if he's going to continue to evolve into the MVP-type player that all the experts were once predicting for the A's shortstop. He drove a pitch to right field to plate Kurt Suzuki for a dramatic, bottom-of-the-ninth walk off win against the Detroit Tigers.
The A's had made a decision right before the hit to actually have Jack Hannahan bunt to move Suzuki to second and put him in scoring position. I personally would've liked to see Hannahan have an AB right there simply because Hannahan is such a high OBP guy, he likely could've moved Suzuki into scoring position any way. But that's water under the bridge because the A's won. And heck, an Oakland Athletic besides Mark Ellis proved that he could actually execute a bunt effectively.
The game looked grim to me going in. Rogers was so dominant at the Coliseum. Harden had been hit hard by several Tigers in the past. But Harden was simply amazing. He worked in a lot more splitters than I've seen him use in quite a while. He worked it effectively, racking up nine strikeouts. The Tigers hitters looked perplexed by Harden up until the sixth inning where, maybe as Harden was wearing down a bit, Curtis Granderson hit a bomb, Carlos Guillen whacked a double and the A's walked Miguel Cabrera to pitch to rookie Jeff Larish. I thought it was a smart move at the time, but it backfired as Larish took a Harden fastball to left field to help the Tigers take a 2-1 lead. Harden also threw a whopping 115 pitches. I was getting more and more nervous as his pitch count went up. I kept expecting his arm to come flying off with one of those last pitches, but alas, it didn't.
The thing about Harden that might be frustrating both to us and to him is that he's simply not the kind of pitcher who can pitch to contact like say, Justin Duchscherer. Harden's stuff is simply too baffling and has too much movement for him to count on opponents being able to get contact. That means that he's going to have high pitch counts often early in the game. Harden is simple in that the only pitches anyone ever seems to hit off him are his fastballs and occasionally the hanging changeup or splitter (that's rare). He is the kind of guy who makes you ooooh and ahhhhh when he pitches, but that remarkable stuff will make it hard for him to ever get a complete game. I forgot this because it had been so long since I'd seen him string a few starts together.
The A's came back and tied it when Daric Barton hit a long bomb off of Kenny Rogers and Rogers, finding out that A's fans aren't very fond of him, eventually left to a chorus of boos in the Coliseum. Someone brought this up in one of the threads that the A's go up to the plate looking to walk. Well, that happened in the eighth when Barton came back up with the bases loaded. Barton got the count to 3-0 in his favor and let the 3-1 pitch go by. He also then let a fairly hittable 3-1 pitch go by as well until he actually flew out to the Tigers' centerfielder. I actually liked the approach simply because you had to believe that the pitcher, Bobby Seay, was going to have to come with the fastball on 3-2, so force him to throw three straight strikes. It was a good approach because Seay looked like he was simply all over the zone.
So the A's again ride some great pitching from Harden, Keith Foulke out of the pen and Huston Street in the ninth (his fastball was once again hitting 95 and the slider had bite) to win. I personally love the great pitching. It had vacated the team for a few days there, but then again, Arlington does that to the best of pitchers. The lack of hitting will probably give me a coronary eventually, but the great pitching gives this team a good chance to win every night. Even against a team as good as the Tigers (yes, I still believe that team is really good). And that's all you can ask for. Right?