Good afternoon Green and Gold Faithful! Today the Excruciating East-Coast Excursion continues for the A's with a special matinee performance of the "Saturday Southpaw Serenade" brought to you by Jon Lester and Dana Eveland. The A's offense, the main culprit in the team's 2-13 slide since the All Star Break, will find no solace in the form of Lester tonight, who, since the Break has been about as hot a hurler as a you'll find, going 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA and a ridiculous 14-1 K-BB ratio - and oh yeah, he hasn't NOT tossed at least 7 innings in a single start since June.
On the other end of the spectrum is Dana Eveland. Dana's season has been a micrososm of the A's 2008 campaign as a whole. After a nice Spring Training that assured him a rotation spot, Dana pitched fairly well out of the gate and while he's had problems with control ever since his 3rd start of the year and has consistently given up plenty of hits, he was able to wiggle out of jams and do just enough to remain an above-.500 pitcher all the way through June, sporting an ERA in the mid 3.00's the whole time. He especially did one thing well during that time and that was keeping the ball in the park (only 3 homers allowed in April, May and June combined).
Yet, July was just as unkind to Dana as it was to the rest of A's; Eveland failed to pitch more than 5 innings in any of his 5 July starts and he gave up 3 homers in the month, doubling his season total up this point. And just last week when you thought Dana had turned a corner back onto the "The Bend But Not Break Expressway of Effectiveness" after a good first 4 innings against the Rangers, he returned back to his old "Fear of the Strikezone" ways during a disastrous top of the 5th inning which he wasn't able to survive. I wish I had reason to truly believe that tonight could be the night that Dana purges his demons...but I just don't. The Red Sox lineup is full of disciplined hitters who won't bail him out when he inevitably struggles with his control and they won't miss a mistake either. Bad combination.
As for the A's offense: shockingly, no combination of Quad-A callups has given the team the consistent contributions it needs to win baseball games. Having Frank back is nice, but let's face it, it's going to take the guy at least a couple weeks to get back in the groove...and by that time this team may be 20+ games out of any sort of playoff spot, so it's hard to even get excited about his presence in the lineup. But hey, there's always Ziggy to put a smile on your face, right?
08/02/08 4:05 PM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||Boston Red Sox|
|Ryan Sweeney - RF||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Kurt Suzuki - C||Kevin Youkilis - 1B|
|Emil Brown - LF||David Ortiz - DH|
|Frank Thomas - DH||Mike Lowell - 3B|
|Mark Ellis - 2B||Jason Bay - LF|
|Carlos Gonzalez - CF||J.D. Drew - RF|
|Jack Hannahan - 3B||Jed Lowrie - SS|
|Bobby Crosby - SS||Jason Varitek - C|
|Daric Barton - 1B||Coco Crisp - CF|