Well the A's Smith was better than the Mariners Smith tonight, even though Rowand-Smith has that extra name thrown in. Greg Smith didn't nibble as much tonight. Or maybe he did, but he wasn't facing a lineup that you can call "patient" or even "good". It was the matchup of bottom dwelling AL West teams and even though I'd love for the A's to move up more in the draft, I still find myself rooting hard for this team to win.
And for as much hate as Emil Brown has received on AN, often rightfully so, to be fair to him, I don't think the A's brought him in with the idea that he was going to be a full-time player this season. I think Beane signed him with the idea that he would be a player to face left-handed pitching and spell some of the A's younger guys like Travis Buck when facing a tough lefty. Yet, Brown has played in 104 games this year thanks to the A's new record of times they've used the DL. Yes, AN, believe it. Oakland has now used the DL a whopping 23 times this year. I really didn't think it was possible for the team to top 2007, especially with the infusion of young talent. Still, it's happened. Pound a shot of whiskey tonight to dull the pain. And hopefully the A's realize that they need to re-re-examine the medical procedures this offseason. I mean once again this team has hit the DL more often than they've hit the baseball in 2008.
Brown hit the home run in the crucial sixth inning, where I think the game turned. The A's had the 1-0 lead and Ichiro led off the bottom of that inning with a double. Cairo then bunt popped out and Carlos Gonzalez made a very nice running catch on a shot by Raul Ibanez to deep center field. I would hope that Smith learns that he can trust his defense enough to be willing to be, forgive me Barry Zito, FITZy. You know, a little more fearless in the zone.
Course, after I say that, then Jack Hannahan opens the door for Seattle in the ninth. Yet I just knew that Ziggy was going to slam the door shut as soon as Betancourt came up to bat. It's just what Ziggy does. Especially to right-handed batters.
It's tough to read anything off a Smith start against the Mariners, but I do want to see him get back to being aggressive. Tonight was a good start.