Final Score: Yankees 5, A's 3
As for the game itself, Dana Eveland surrendered 4 runs in the 2nd, marred by poor command, a little bad luck (looping liner caught-and-dropped by Ellis, broken bat RBI single), but mostly the inability to pitch instead of throw. And an indefensible decision by Bob Geren to bring the infield in with Brett Gardner at the plate, the score still 0-0, and runners at second and third with one out. Unreal.
The A's managed to squander a first and third, nobody out rally in the 3rd when Ryan Sweeney's bouncer to 1B was fielded on the bag by Teixeira and then fired home to tag a bewildered Suzuki. Even the 4th inning, in which the A's scored twice to cut the deficit in half, was filled with frustration, including Eric Chavez being called out for running inside the baseline on a ball that hit him and bounced away. The positives were Kurt Suzuki's 4 for 4 night and a strong 8th inning relief appearance by Josh Outman.
Honestly, I'm not crushed that the A's are 5-8 or that they're making a lot of mistakes or that the offense is off to a disappointing start. Such is the deal with a young team, and even with a group of veterans still getting to know one another. I don't believe for a moment that the A's will hit only 37 HRs this year, as they are on pace to do. So I can accept Holliday's strangely low batting average and lack of HRs, the occasional walkathon by a young starter, and surreal un-Ellis-like mistakes seemingly purchased "cheaper by the dozen" at Costco. This is not what has me upset.
What has me upset is that the A's organization takes an approach of using the "first 1/3 of the season" to assess their team, causing them to wait two months to change things that are SO OBVIOUSLY WRONG. (Remember 2001, when the team finally switched Terrence Long and Johnny Damon in the OF and everything started to fall into place in June?)
It does not take 1/3 of a season to know that:
* Sean Gallagher is not served by sitting around in the A's bullpen instead of starting for a rotation that has two very shaky starters in Eveland and Outman, or working on his mechanics, etc. by starting for Sacramento.
* Travis Buck should be playing against LHP if your alternatives are to start both Ryan Sweeney and Rajai Davis. Of the three, only Buck has a track record of any success against LHP, he provides solid OF defense, and he provides potential power - something the A's desperately need right now.
* Kurt Suzuki should bat ahead of Eric Chavez in the order against LHP. Suzuki's 4 for 4 night was buried at the bottom of the order, while Sweeney led off and Chavez batted in front of Suzuki - and came up in a key situation against Pettitte when Oakland had a chance to get right back in the game.
* Batting Ryan Sweeney and Orlando Cabrera 1-2 leaves you with a liability at the top of the order no matter what hand the pitcher throws with. Cabrera, representing the tying run in the 9th, got the extra bat that Cust and others never saw. What does it tell you that in a situation pleading for a HR Cabrera tried to bunt his way on?
Finally, sadly, it doesn't take two months to be reminded that major league pitching is largely about command and that Dana Eveland just does not have it. Personally, I think the A's should work towards a rotation of Braden, Anderson, Cahill, Gallagher, and Gio Gonzalez, with Mazzaro projected to possibly step in around the All-Star Break if he progresses. Those are the guys who have a chance to be good, and if you're going to rebuild and contend at the same time you should be putting the guys out there who have the most to offer, period. And I fear that's not Eveland, now or later. Sorry, just not a fan. And not a fan of waiting two months to correct deficiencies that are just plain obvious.
Final Score: Yankees 5, A's 3