In the off-season, as the A's, Angels, and Rangers were pursuing Adrian Beltre, it was suggested that the winner of the "Beltre sweepstakes" might be the winner of the AL West. Today, that was certainly the way it worked, as Beltre provided the game's only runs with a two-run HR off of Trevor Cahill in the bottom of the 6th.
Cahill was outstanding, allowing just the two runs in 7.2 IP, the latest casualty of an offense that can only be described as embarrassingly bad. Oakland had few chances against Matt Harrison, but here's how their best chances went:
With two on and one out in the top of the 6th, Josh Willingham came up and...was called out on strikes. Scott Sizemore then bounced out weakly to 2B.
Jemile Weeks led off the 8th with a single, David DeJesus came up and...bounced into a 4-6-3 DP. Coco Crisp then singled to bring Willingham up representing the tying run and...Crisp was caught stealing. I have no answer as to why a runner would be attempting a stolen base in that situation.
Sure, I'm as bothered as anyone by the absurdly impotent offense, but what I find hardest to watch, day after day, is the lack of basic execution that has plagued the 2011 A's, especially on defense and at times on the bases. Yesterday it was Weeks failing to field a grounder, track a pop foul, pick up a rolling base hit, or throw crisply over the bag at 1B, Chris Carter sleepwalking after the same pop up and Conor Jackson neither fielding nor receiving a key ground ball but rather managing to put himself in position to do neither.
Today I'm left wondering why Crisp would attempt a steal when he did, and continue to wonder why DeJesus has joined a long line of batters who seem to lose all sense of how to hit the moment they don the green and gold. The only silver lining? The A's will not lose, will not torture us or bore us, for four consecutive days.
Don't stray too far -- I'll have a new post up later this afternoon about the A's "rebuilding" or whatever it should actually be called.