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Catching Our Breaths

Bartolo Colon is so fat, he won a Gold Glove just for catching his breath.
Bartolo Colon is so fat, he won a Gold Glove just for catching his breath.

It's been a busy week here at Athletics Nation. Things always seem busy when you're in a playoff race and every game counts, but this week has been absurdly busy. Things that have happened since Monday:

  • Acquired a new starting shortstop (Stephen Drew)
  • Activated an everyday player from the DL (Seth Smith)
  • Demoted the guy who was considered the team's best position player heading into the season (Jemile Weeks)
  • Activated an ace starting pitcher from the DL, over 14 months after his last MLB start (Brett Anderson)
  • Activated the team's Opening Day starter from the DL (Brandon McCarthy)
  • Lost a heavy contributor to the 2012 team to a season-ending suspension (Bartolo Colon)
Any one of those events would have been the top story of the week in most weeks. This is August 2012, though, so they all happened in a 3-day span. This has been an exhausting week to be an A's fan, and it's only Thursday. As the team gets set to start a crucial 3-game series against the Rays, let's take a moment to catch our collective breath and take a look at the state of the team. Jump!

Deep thoughts on the State of the A's, interspersed with Bartolo Colon fat jokes to keep things fresh:

  • Tyson Ross gets the start today in the opener against Tampa Bay. With Travis Blackley unavailable after throwing 5.2 innings on Monday, and Dan Straily ineligible to be re-called for another week or so, Ross was the next best option. For all of our complaining about Ross (and it is well-deserved), a lot of teams would kill to have this guy making an emergency spot start for them. He has been a disaster in the Majors this year (12 starts, 62.1ip, 6.35 ERA, 1.17 K:BB), but his AAA numbers suggest that there is still hope for the 25-year-old (13 starts, 75.2ip, 2.74 ERA, 2.21 K:BB). I'm not excited for Ross to pitch, but I am cautiously optimistic. So many players have risen from obscurity, adversity, and past failures to make positive contributions to this team, that it seems downright silly not to be open-minded about giving Ross another chance. Would a sharp, 7-inning outing from Ross today even crack the list of "Top 5 unexpected things to happen to the A's this year?" Nope.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that he when he's on the mound, he can hold runners on 3rd with his stomach.
  • While the A's send a sub-optimal option to the mound tonight, there is also a bright side to this series: Oakland won't have to face David Price or James Shields. By MLB law, every starting pitcher for the Rays has to be awesome, but these two are especially effective. Shields tossed a shutout against Oakland in July, and Price hasn't allowed a run in 3 of his last 4 starts. Given that context, I'm perfectly happy to face Alex Cobb (who got rocked in his last start @LAA), Matt Moore (red-hot, but not pitching deep into games), and Jeremy Hellickson (19 homers allowed in 134 innings). Entering the series, Tampa Bay holds a 1.5-game lead over Oakland in the standings.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that he signed with the A's purely because they had a Cook in the bullpen.
  • Josh Donaldson since his recall (37 PA's): .429/.459/.657, 2 walks to only 5 strikeouts, 6 extra-base hits. Just wow. Never mind that .483 BABIP; obviously he won't keep getting 2 hits every game, and his average will regress, but his hits aren't cheap. He's smoking the ball right now, and he's become a legitimate offensive weapon. Brandon Inge is eligible to return on August 27, and Bob Melvin is going to have to get creative to keep all of his quality bats in the lineup.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that he ate the donut off of Cespedes's bat.
  • A.J. Grffin threw 60 pitches in a rehab start yesterday for Sacramento, and he got rocked: 2.1ip, 3 runs on 4 hits, 4 strikeouts to 3 walks. The walks are particularly troubling to me, since Griffin's game is based on pounding the strike zone and pitching to contact. Not sure if this was just one of those "tuning up and working on a couple of pitches" outings, but pitchers usually aren't too concerned about the results of their rehab starts, as long as they get a feel for their pitches and don't experience any pain.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that when he comes up to bat, he gets beaned by an outside pitch.
  • The Blue Jays blew a late lead to Detroit this morning, despite the fact that J.A Happ sort-of-outdueled Justin Verlander. Detroit is now only a half-game behind Oakland for the 2nd Wild Card, entering this afternoon's game. Thanks a lot, Canada.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that when he throws a meatball down the middle to a hitter, he asks, "Are you gonna eat that?"
  • Coco Crisp's last 4 games: 8-for-17, 2 homers, 2 doubles, 7 RBI, 6 runs scored, 2 steals. The A's are 3-1 in those games, and in that loss, Coco was 0-for-4. In two of the wins, Coco was the primary offensive force. Dude is locked in right now, so stay out of the way.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that he couldn't fit through Oakland's window of contention.
  • Tommy Milone's last 9 starts (57 innings): 55 strikeouts, 6 walks. He's been hit hard a few times, but when you put up peripheral stats like those, things will eventually fall into place. The last time Milone issued more than one walk in a start was June Coors Field, where pitches don't work right.
  • Bartolo Colon is so fat that Pablo Sandoval makes fat jokes about him.
About an hour until game time. I believe seafood is on the menu. Let's play ball!