If I told you at the beginning of the season that the A's would be 34-40 in late June, six games under .500, you might be disappointed. But had I told you that a mere week ago, the A's were 28-40, on the heels of the ten-game losing streak that finally saw the end of Bob Geren, I'd daresay you'd be excited--maybe even ecstatic--about this last week of play.
For many of us, it's the most we've felt for the team all year. Finally, finally, the A's are showing some spark; they even have a "thing" that's uniquely theirs; the team is marked by gold jerseys instead of terrible offense, defense, and starting pitching injuries.
Mark Ellis will return to the team today; no one has any idea if he will play or where he will play, but I hope it's safe to say that Jemile Weeks will be a part of the lineup first. Daric Barton is on his way to Triple-A, showing a lot of class on the way out. It is my sincere hope that he can rediscover his power stroke and be back at first base soon.
The AL West is an interesting story this year; had the Astros hung on to the game last night, the A's would have found themselves a mere 4.5 games out of first place. As it currently stands, they are only 5.5 games out, 1.5 games out of third and 3.5 games out of second. Who knew?
In the A's last six games, Outman has two wins, Gio, Cahill, Godfrey have one each, and Ziegler even stole one for the bullpen. Gio will try to collect another win tonight as he faces off against R.A. Dickey and the maddening knuckleball. We're looking for the gold jerseys again, and in this sport, I would be surprised not to see them out there. Willingham will not yet be ready for today's game, so I imagine Matsui will be in the outfield again.
So the real question; is the AL West still winnable? Can the A's and their lack of power really compete with Texas? Even though the A's are winning, are they playing that well? What has been the difference in this week compared to two weeks ago, and what needs to happen for the A's to compete in the second half? But more importantly, can the A's run the streak to seven games in a row?
Find out tonight. Game thread up at 3:30PM.
Athletics lead the series 1-0
WP: Josh Outman (3 - 1)
SV: Grant Balfour
LP: Dillon Gee (7 - 1)
|7 - 3 win|
|Thu 06/23||10:10 AM PDT|