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Cheap Shots, Tater Tots & Don Slaughts

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
“Deal sealed, captain!”
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Welp, seems we’re fresh out of tater tots and we’ve just learned that Don Slaught has retired, but don’t worry there will be plenty of cheap shots.

  • Last night’s win was exhilarating but tonight’s game could be especially tough, as the Rangers’ two best relievers, Carlos Tocci and Ryan Rua, are rested.
  • In a raucous 13-10 10 inning win, you wouldn’t think a 1-2-3 inning would be key and yet go back to the top of the 1st when the A’s were retired in order — on 20 pitches. Mike Minor was effective, allowing just a pair of solo HRs in 5 IP, but couldn’t get the A’s on fewer than 20 pitches/inning and was out after throwing 104 pitches to get 15 outs.

That allowed the A’s to feast on the back of the Rangers’ bullpen (though Oakland was aided by plus reliever Jake Diekman’s inability to find the strike zone without a compass, and by Elvis Andrus doing his best Marcus Semien impression on a Semien DP ball).

  • Nick Martini: LH batter, patient hitter with good plate discipline, not fast, average defensive LFer, can slice balls for hits the other way. He’s basically Matt Joyce if Joyce could hit to LF. In other words, I say we keep him over Joyce even when “the only Matt who isn’t that good” is ready to return.
  • I’ve been waiting and waiting for this team to come back down to earth due to its almost comically patched-up rotation of has-beens and never-weres, and it just won’t happen. The A’s have been linked to uninspiring starting pitchers such as Mike Fiers, but really what a SP like Fiers offers isn’t much of an upgrade, it’s just insurance over losing another SP to injury and having to dig deeper into the depth chart.

Unless the A’s can land a truly worthy SP, at this point I say just go with this group of magical unicorns and trust in the magic of unicorns. Currently the A’s are 7-deep with Daniel Mengden and Chris Bassitt at AAA behind {tries to say it without laughing} Sean Manaea-Trevor Cahill-Edwin Jackson-Frankie Montas-Brett Anderson.

I’m not saying those 7 should be good enough, just that they somehow are and that your Mike Fiers, your Marco Estradas, your Lance Lynns don’t exactly ensure that suddenly your rotation looks a whole lot betterdon’t exactly.

Just run with the guys you have and if injuries hit you can almost certainly add a SP of comparable quality to these 7 on the August waiver wire. It will work itself out because the 2018 A’s are all about things working themselves out beyond all reason or logic.

Offense + bullpen + magic = we got this. Apparently.

  • I want a Bob Melvin bobble head of the expression on the A’s skipper’s face when the A’s pulled to within 10-9 and everyone in the ballpark knew full well Oakland was going to win. Seriously, I asked all 19 of them and even the 3 Rangers’ fans agreed.

What best describes that expression? Would it be a blend of bemusement, wonder, disbelief, destiny, and pride? Or was it gas? Hard to know.

  • The A’s have scored 28 runs in the first two games of this series. In Edwin Jackson’s last 5 starts, while he’s been on the mound the A’s have scored a total of 5 runs. If Oakland is shut out tonight, Jackson has every right to take it personally. Though the way this season is going, most likely Jackson will still get his 100th career win by a final score of -1 to 0.
  • The A’s still have 5 more games on this road trip before we think about the next homestand, but I am curious to see what the attendance looks like next Monday and Tuesday nights. Oakland will be coming off of a home series in which they drew a stunning 145,000+ in 3 games and this team is becoming more of a national story, as well as a truly legitimate post-season contender, by the day.

Then again, these will be weekday evening games against the Toronto Blue Jays, precisely the recipe for 4-digits crowds lately. Will the A’s draw 8,000? 11,000? 22,000? 30,000? It will be a “story within the story” worth following.

  • Jeurys Familia has been with the team for 3 days and he’s 2-0. Welcome to your 2018 Oakland A’s.
  • “Every 6 seasons...” In 2000, the A’s returned to the post-season after a long drought. In 2006, they finally mastered the ALDS and advanced to the championship series. In 2012, they magically rose from the depths and spent only one day — the last day of the season — in first place. In 2018, they are defying all reason and are 54-33 (a .621 winning percentage) since April 15th. You might want to purchase those 2024 season tickets now.

See you at 5:05pm!

Is it 5:05pm yet?

No seriously, is it?