You know, you can get caught up in the moment and say, this could be the turning point of the A's young season. I'm not talking about a single play, but a whole confluence of things that happened late in the game today against the Texas Rangers.
First, Ryan Sweeney's robbery of a home run from Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the eighth inning that would've turned a 3-1 A's lead into a 4-3 deficit and likely a loss was quite possibly the best A's defensive play since Terrence Long stole a home run from Manny Ramirez in Boston several years back. And Sweeney looked like he had it lined up the whole way and was as cool as a cucumber on it.
Then the next inning, Matt Holliday finally arrives. You know, the REAL Matt Holliday from Colorado. The one who mashes home runs and plays excellent outfield defense. Holliday, in the ninth inning, winds up smacking an opposite field home run and then cuts down Michael Young on an A's-like baserunning gaffe in that he, for some unexplained reason, tried to turn a double into a triple when his team was trailing by three runs to a very inexperienced closer in Michael Wuertz (he had one career save).
But it was one of those games where nearly everything went right for the A's. Geren gambled in leaving Dallas Braden in to pitch in a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning to try and get the third out, and it worked. Braden successfully got out of it. Braden earned a win. And say what you want about his stuff not dominating, but Braden is just deceptive enough to keep the opponent from squaring up the ball perfectly. Sure it led to him having an early exit after five innings, but he kept a potent offense completely off the board.
The somewhat depleted bullpen then came in and while Andrew Bailey was dominating in his two innings of work (seriously, do we want to put a guy who is probably our best reliever on the shelf for a while?), Springer and Wuertz were very lucky to escape their one inning each without giving it up. Not only did Michael Young's base running mistake cost the Rangers, but Orlando Cabrera climbed the ladder perfectly to rob another base hit. Like I said, there was a big-time confluence of things going for the A's today.
As for the A's offense, Cabrera, Suzuki and Sweeney are essentially carrying the club right now. With the numerous injuries and Holliday sporting his Crosbian numbers, the A's needed something so they got two sacrifice flies and a walk with the bases loaded from Jack Cust. If this team is going to really turn it around, they're going to need Holliday to be the stud that Billy Beane annointed during spring training. Hopefully this is the start of something good.
Ryan Sweeney certainly thinks so.