I knew I should have called in sick today.
When your already struggling team is down 1-0 just two batters in, and your already struggling starter is allowed to use only half his arsenal, it is easy as a fan to find something else to do with your afternoon. Like, I don't know, work maybe?
And let's say you do stick around- strictly out of morbid curiosity- no one could blame you for turning the pessimist-o-meter on blast, when said struggling pitcher loads the bases shortly after the aforementioned run had scored.
Even when he escapes from further damage in that first frame, and wiggles out of man-on-second-no-out peril in the second, you figure it's only a matter of time before the dam breaks.
Keeping your face on permanent sour is the Anemic Nine, also known as the A's lineup, who waste a leadoff double in the first, and manage barely a whimper through four innings against the unstoppable force that is Randy Wells.
Yet through it all there remained one lonely voice of hope, one tiny optimist among the faithful, who actually remained, well, faithful.
They call her Shoes.
Everything's going to be alright, she told her blogging brethren, even as they had her fit for a straitjacket.
But Braden, dear Braden, settled down nicely, and faced the minimum amount of batters in innings three-through-six. Only one man was allowed to reach base safely among them, and he was quickly evaporated on a 3-6-3 twin killing.
As if inspired by their defensive prowess, the A's- aided further by the bunting talents of one Daric William Barton- pushed across a single run in the fourth to tie the ball game.
Came the seventh and Mark Ellis, South Dakota's most prodigious power hitter, muscled up and homered to deep left, lifting the Athletics to a 2-1 advantage.
Ah yes, vindication for Shoes and all the others she convinced to stay. The elation would be short-lived.
Andrew Bailey- Oakland's fourth reliever on the day- entered a base-full, one-out jam. He confronted two batters, and retired them both. Sadly, the first of the two- the extraordinary Xavier Nady- hit a ball deep enough to knot the game at 2-apiece.
Then Bailey was gone, lifted for a pinch-hitter, because apparently his manager is not up to speed on National League regulations (well, to be fair, neither is the person behind the keyboard).
Somehow the A's snatched extra innings from the jaws of a go-ahead score in the ninth, leaving Ryan Sweeney to rot at third base with not one, but two chances to get him home.
So an A's fan's reward for not giving up, even when it would have been the sane call some three hours prior? Disappointment with a side of despair. Jerry Blevins proved no match for Wrigley's residents, committing baseball's cardinal sin of issuing a leadoff walk to Geovany Soto, who would come around to score off the bat of the gentleman mentioned in today's headline.
Boo, I say.