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Et Tu, Braden? Fielding Gaffe Leads To Collapse In 9-1 Failfest

Final Score: Tigers 9, A's 1

For 4.5 innings, tonight's game was actually competitive. That's right, we're not even looking for wins anymore, just maybe half a game where the team isn't embarrassingly bad. And going to the bottom of the fifth (as I will be this evening), the A's and Tigers were locked up in a 1-1 tie.

Then in the 5th with runners at 1st and 3rd and one out, Dallas Braden coaxed a dribbler to the first base side of the mound off the normally thunderous bat of Miguel Cabrera. The runner at third, Granderson, came halfway to the plate and froze as Braden fielded the ball. But Braden neither threw home (good enough to produce a rundown) nor ran at Granderson (the correct play). Instead, Braden went over and tagged Cabrera as Granderson scampered towards the plate ahead of Braden's belated, and wild throw, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

Braden seemed unnerved by his fielding mistake, serving up an RBI double to Magglio Ordoñez, walking Brandon Inge, and then giving up a 3-run HR to Ryan Raburn - yes the Ryan Raburn who entered the series batting and slugging .095, yes the Ryan Raburn who launched a grand slam yesterday. 6-1 Tigers and the A's went down quietly from there.

So the A's have been outscored 23-2 in the series so far, have given up two grand slams and a 3-run HR, and have committed 5 errors. Meanwhile, what stood out to me tonight - and doesn't even show up in the numbers I've chronicled - was watching Ryan Sweeney chase after not one, not two, but three fly balls that a "plus CFer" could have caught, that each went for extra base hits. As I wrote earlier today, the A's still have so much work to do to rebuild this team into a contender. It's more than a bit depressing.

All of which brings me to the casting of "Moneyball", the movie examining how a small-market team uses smarts and savvy to stay ahead of the curve, beat the odds, and field successful teams. I just don't get the casting of Brad Pitt as the General Manager. I mean the guy's an ok actor but honestly, he looks nothing like Terry Ryan.