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Game #70: Henry F%&#ing BLANCO???

No, seriously. Who actually hit a grand slam for the game's only runs?


Final Score: Mariners 4, A's 0

There are a few things you need to know about Henry Blanco. The first is that he looks like he could easily pass for 67 years old. In fact, if Blanco told you he was 67 you would probably think to yourself, "Hmm...He hasn't aged well."

You might also be interested to know that Blanco's career slash line, dating back to the Johnson administration, is .226/.291/.366. Of course more recently he has been slowed down, at the plate, by the fact that bat speed erodes as you reach your 50s and on into your 60s. This year, coming into today's game Blanco sported only a line of .184/.262/.263. That's right: An OPS of .525.

Blanco stepped up to the plate -- or he may have wheeled himself there, I'm not sure -- in the 6th inning of a 0-0 game, adjusted his Medic Alert bracelet, and faced A.J. Griffin with the bases loaded and one out. The bases were loaded partly because the A's can't get Mike Morse out -- his one-out double, following a Kendrys Morales single and a Raul Ibañez pop-up, put runners at 2B and 3B -- and partly because Bob Melvin is suddenly fond of the "3-1 count IBB," which he ordered issued to Michael Saunders.

In any event, with the world's slowest runner at 3B, a cripple at 2B, a Canadian at 1B (well he is), and a senior citizen at the plate, Griffin was looking for a ground ball. So he threw a high fastball out over the plate. Blanco, whose other career grand slam came in '00 (not sure which century), pulled it just inside the foul pole for the game's only scoring.

Not that the A's didn't come close to scoring. In the bottom of the 5th, just moments before Blanco's grand slam, Jed Lowrie led off with a double off of Felix Hernandez, tagged up and went to 3B on a Seth Smith fly ball, and tried to tag up on Chris Young's medium-shallow fly ball to RF. When Endy Chavez threw Lowrie out at the plate it was the 3rd A's runner to be thrown out at home in their last 36 innings, matching the 3 runs they have actually scored over that time. Isn't baseball fun?

Here's the good news: Having banked 21 wins in 26 games prior to this series, the A's are still 21-7 in the past month and with Texas losing again to the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland maintains a 2 game lead in the AL West. Yes, tomorrow they have to face Hisashi Iwakuma, he of the 1.79 ERA, tomorrow but I've decided that Iwakuma is due to get hit, so there. And the A's counter with their own "He's pitching HOW well?" weapon in Bartolo Colon. Or maybe no one will win, since it's Father's Day and that usually means a tie.

In any event, I'm not inclined to summarize too much more of today's game since nothing really happened. Batters got out a lot. People yawned. FOX commentators said dumb things. Hernandez struck someone out. That kind of thing.