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Wrap - Game 98: Yankees 2, A's 1

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The consensus on the 1st Game Thread was that the game was over as soon as the Yankees scored their 1st run in the bottom of the 3rd. While that wasn't technically the case, it was true enough to summarize just how poorly the A's offense performed this weekend. While the A's would eek out a run in the 6th on a Jack Hannahan (or is it Lannahan?) leadoff double, a Mark Ellis sac bunt and a soft-liner RBI single to center by Swooney, the lineup still compiled 9 more strikeouts on the afternoon and looked utterly stupefied against Andy Petitte, who went 8 full innings, did not issue a single walk and only 4 hits. Petitte was vaulted to victory on the back of the mustachioed Jason Giambi who WAS the Yankee offense today, going 2-for-2 with a tiebreaking homer over the short-porch in right in the 6th, to go along with 2 walks.

On the series, the A's struck-out 39 times in about 81 total opportunities. I'm no statistician, but I'm fairly certain it's nearly impossible to score runs when the lineup fails to put the ball in play and records outs in about half of their plate appearances.

This latest ugly defeat overshadowed another nice, gutsy outing from Justin Duchscherer. The Duke continued to look just a little under the weather, and yet he managed to go 7 full innings, scattering 6 hits and 2 runs while striking out 4. With his latest effort, Duke continues to hover comfortably under the 2.00 ERA mark, currently sitting at 1.87. Sadly, efforts like these, which are about the only reasons to watch this team right now, are definitely skyrocketing Duke's trade value and hastening his imminent departure from the team. I can probably handle losing more games, but I don't know if I'll fair too well if we lose Duke...

In other positive news, Swooney was awesome today. He not only gunned-down A-Rod at home for the second time in 3 days, but he also collected the A's only RBI of the day. That he was able to get 2 hits against 2 of the Yankees best pitchers (Petitte and Rivera) just goes to show that he is unquestionably the A's best all-around player right now. The power still isn't there, but even if it never shows up, he's a helluva all-around player and just an exciting guy to watch all over the field and the batter's box.

Unfortunately, the road doesn't get any easier for the Green and Gold this week, as they make the trek to Tropicana Field to take on the fearsome Rays starting tomorrow. The confluence of power hitting righty Evan Longoria and our 3 inconsistent lefty starters (Smith, Eveland, Braden) could produce some more depressing moments over the next 72 hours...