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Mystery Solved: The Butler Did It

Gio Gonzalez may not handle a 6-0 lead very well, but honestly the best solution to this concern is not to give up 3-run HRs in the first inning. That’s what Gio did in his major league debut and it’s what he did again tonight. Following a walk and what was ruled an error when Aaron Cunningham slipped on the wet warning track and dropped a long fly ball, Billy Butler launched a 3-run bomb, the first of three hits that produced four RBI. Butler came in with a .984 OPS against LHP (.614 against RHP).

Meanwhile, the A’s not only continue to make a lot of outs, they also continue to fail at making the right ones at the right time. Trailing 3-1 in the 2nd inning with Barton at third and one out, Jack Hannahan struck out. Trailing 4-2 in the 5th inning with runners at second and third and one out, Rajai Davis bounced to third. I don’t like the notion of “manufacturing runs” so much as I favor the notion of “finding runs” – throughout the course of a game a team will usually find itself with some scoring opportunities and the trick is to carpe the diem when those chances present themselves. It’s better not to make outs at all, sure, but when you’re a lousy hitting team sometimes you have to set your goals realistically – if the A’s are going to be last in the league in hitting, and are not going to be big power threats either, at least they could get really good at scoring the runs that can be scored on outs.

On the pitching side, what can you say when your pitcher is Jack Cust: a lot of walks and HRs? This has been a problem for Greg Smith and it’s an issue for Gio Gonzalez as well. Gio threw 95 pitches in four innings, surrendering 3 walks and two HRs. Not so good – even though the HRs were the only two hits Gio allowed. On the plus side, lefty Josh Outman made his major league debut and tossed two scoreless innings, showing a fastball that sounded about 94-96 MPH.

Finally, it must be September because Daric Barton looked like a batting champion tonight, pounding a HR, triple, and single and driving home both A’s runs. I’ve heard of “second-half players” but this is ridiculous – at least give us August too, pool boy!