Final Score: Mariners 1, A's 0
Je n'aime pas being shutout.
I think one of the reason Billy Beane brought in a lot of offense was so that his young pitchers wouldn't have throw 6.1 no-hit innings just to stay tied. louismg has a good recap of the game, so I'm here just to add some observations after attending the game.
The first 3 innings, Cahill actually looked similar to how he looked against the Angels in that he walked 3 and hit a batter, which won't cut it long-term. But once he settled into a groove, Cahill looked as good as the numbers suggest. He finally got the knuckle-curve to dip down and away as a strikeout pitch and he was a groundball machine who also showed a good high fastball to change the hitters' sightline. Innings 4-6, Cahill looked like the real deal and he should have some real confidence going into his next start.
Cabrera's 9th inning bunt
With the score 1-0 and Bedard still in, Cabrera sacrificed with Sweeney at first and nobody out. I didn't mind Ellis' bunt yesterday, because it attempted to move the tying run into scoring position with a pair of high average singles hitters (Sweeney, Cabrera) coming up, and took the bat out of Ellis' hands against a RHP.
I did not like having Cabrera sacrifice because it used up 1/3 of the outs the A's had left and took the bat out of Cabrera's hands against a LHP, in order to bring up a lower average hitter in Giambi. Compounding matters is that it opened up first base so that Wakamatsu could do exactly what he did: walk Holliday (none of the four pitches was close - it may as well have been intentional) and bring up another low average hitter in Cust. Cabrera should be swinging the bat there.
Cust's 9th inning AB
Jack Cust's at bat in the 9th was tremendous and suggests he has a chance to have a truly great season. Cust has been working with hitting coach Jim Skaaaalan on cutting down on his strikeouts without changing who he is entirely, focusing on two-strike contact by waiting longer and using the left side of the field. So far this season, Cust has gotten on base, gotten a couple extra base hits including a HR, and turned in ABs with RISP like this one. Very encouraging.
It is not difficult to construct a scenario where almost everything happens the same and the A's sweep the series. This weekend they were "just good enough to lose" and with Lester and Matsusaka up next, things are not about to get any easier.