Baseball is truly amazing in its ability to take you from an abyss to a peak and back in the span of a few hours, back and forth to where you literally qualify as bi-polar until the off-season.
Last night’s loss was so brutal in so many ways that I finally (for about the 1,342nd time) vowed I would just give up A’s baseball, give up baseball, forget Saturday night’s game, etc. Of course in the light of morning I’m thinking that tonight could, for all we know, be the night things turn around and I can imagine 73 ways it could be for real while selectively overlooking the 74 ways it couldn’t.
Baseball is hope and hope is life. The A’s are nothing alcohol cannot solve, which reminds me to finally post my annual spring training photo of the antidote to terrible pitching: the chocolate martini.
Regarding Matt Chapman’s unlikely-yet-somehow-inevitable-and-fitting throwing error last night, as great as he is I have one word of advice for him on a play like that. Chapman has an incredible arm, but it can be a vice on a routine play because Chapman’s throws have such velocity that they don’t give Matt Olson much time to react, and such movement that they can sink or tail something fierce. That movement is great when you are trying to miss bats but not so much when you are trying to hit targets.
Chapman needs to find that “80% gear” where he doesn’t pull a string or lob the ball, but also does not fire the ball with unnecessary force. Adrian Beltre is a good model for a 3Bman who, when he has time to make a routine throw, takes a little off and has a little arc on an otherwise perfectly strong and true throw. It is more reliable and at the very least offers the 1Bman opportunities to react as needed to handle the throw.
Also, Ryan Buchter either needs to find some sharp break, and more velocity, on his breaking pitch or he needs to stop throwing it. His 0-2 hangy-slurvy-thing to Jefry Marte was a classic example, but in general it’s just not a very good pitch. Combine that with his iffy overall control and I am not overly impressed so far. Nor am I with the bullpen overall. Treinen will be fine and I believe Pagan will be fine. Petit is valuable for his versatility, and Coulombe is strong against LH batters. But the A’s strange infatuation with Chris Hatcher, belief in Liam Hendriks, and forced commitment to Santiago Casilla, along with Buchter, make for a pretty “coin toss” kind of pen long term. Hopefully some of the AAA reinforcements, such as Ryan Dull, Josh Lucas, Lou Trivino, and perhaps Chris Bassitt, can offer new blood in the form of an upgrade.
I will watching tonight’s AAA start for Trevor Cahill with an eye on April 17th, when Cahill likely re-debuts in the big leagues in front of a sold-out crowd of free patrons. I do not need to see Daniel Gossett, and his lack of command of anything, again any time soon. Here’s hoping the A’s can pull a white rabbit out of the hat, cobble a decent rotation and bullpen together by month’s end, get Dustin Fowler up to the big leagues right quick, and turn this thing around before it’s too late to keep in contact with the .500 mark.
Anyone for a win tonight?