A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Friday, May 07, 2004

One for the Good Guys

It is a lot easier to get psyched up to write a post after the A's win. In their 6th try they beat the Yankees 7-4, getting a strong outing from Rich Harden. It was Harden's longest outing of his career, first time he started and made it to the 8th. Seeing Posada get wrung up twice makes me giggle uncontrolably. The first 5 guys up in the 2nd got on, but Rich really shut them down after that. I was yelling "Get Duke up!" at the tv, but Macha stayed the course and got the win. After starting 4-0 Yankees all the offense after that belonged to the A's. Kotsay had 4 big RBIs, I think they were his first clutch hits as an A. How about the play where Kotsay broke for 2nd while Proctor was in the stretch? Vin Scully says "Every time you go out to the ballpark you'll see something you never saw before." I have never seen a pitcher get into the stretch, have the runner break, and have the catcher jump up out of his crouch and run at the pitcher yelling and pointing, and when the pitcher finally understands the runner has stolen 2nd base. It was funny.

It was a shrewd move to send Mecir out there in the 9th for the save. Not that Rhodes isn't the closer, but he couldn't get it done the night before, give someone else a shot. Now we gotta smack down the Twins. They are another good team, but their lineup does not look like the Yankees.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I Fell On Black Days

It is a dark day to be an A's fan. Makes me think of Soundgarden and their heavy songs. The Darth Vader of baseball teams is in town, and gave us a bad time last night. Even though Stomper beat up the Darth Vader mascot, the real Darth Vaders don't go down so easy. Bill King on the radio was saying when it was 7-3, "I can't help feeling we need more runs." Amen, bro. It was 8-3 when I left the car after yoga, and walked about 20 steps to my house. When I got in the house, it was 8-6!!?? The A's can't even hold the lead for the time it takes me to get from the car to the house? Arod had hit a bomb. Ohhhhh I hate Arod and his bombs. You could see it coming unravelled.

So we cast our lowly eyes to you, Barry Zito. Show us there IS justice in the world. Show us that great great curveball, and stop these evil dudes from beating the A's another time. You can do it.
There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. All you have to do is relax....let things happen...and be the ball. Be the ball, Barry.


Last week the A's blew an 8-4 lead to the Yankees, costing Tim Hudson a win in a game where he didn't pitch that well but got enough support to win. Last night, it was a 7-1 lead and Mark Mulder who was the victim both of his own loss of command after being staked to a big league, and once more shoddy bullpen support.

It never feels good to lose, but losing games late after having a big lead must be the most demoralizing kind of loss. I feel like I've just been punched in the stomach. The offense is coming alive, so what happened to what was supposed to be the best pitching staff in the league?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Prospect watch

Since the major league A's were off today, let's take a look at how some of their top prospects are doing in the minors.

Joe Blanton has continued his strong season at Sacramento, with a 2.08 ERA in his 30.1 innings (across 5 starts). His peripherals are good but not great: 20 K's, 9 BB, and 27 hits allowed--but no home runs, which is an encouraging sign. (But what is going on with the 4 wild pitches?) The PCL is a tough league for pitchers, so Blanton looks to still be fast-tracked to the big leagues. Unless he suffers some kind of setback, I fully expect him to be called up some time this season, probably even before rosters expand in September.

Nick Swisher is also having himself a fine campain for the Rivercats: despite a .246 batting average, Swisher has a .382 OBP and .508 slugging average, a credit to his power and patience. If that batting average comes up a little, Swisher could also find himself playing in the majors before the season is up. The only issue with both Swisher and Blanton is that the A's are already looking a little overcroweded at SP and in the outfield, so it's far from clear that there is room for these guys this year unless a trade happens. But you never know.

It's hard to believe that the Rivercats are only 12-13, since they seem to have a lot of guys hitting well. Both Dan Johnson and Graham Koonce are there and are continuing to rake (Johnson 278/360/557, Koonce 283/382/522). I guess they both play the same position, so they have been splitting time. Also having strong seasons are infield prospect Adam Morrissey (293/382/483) and organizational soldiers Esteban German (382/395/529) and Mike Rose (362/477/507). I guess the pitching has been pretty weak after Blanton. Kirk Saarloos, who was acquired for Chad Harville a few weeks back, has one scoreless 6-inning stint for the 'Cats; Mike Wood and John Rheinecker, who have both been mentioned as among the top prospects in the organization, have both struggled.

On the lower levels, nothing is very encouraging. Jeremy Brown has been awful at Midland; his development seems to have stalled. Shane Komine and Ben Fritz are looking very pedestrian for AA ball. Brad Sullivan, a polished college right-hander selected in the first round last year, is getting lit up at Modesto; ouch. Way down at Kane County, Brad Knox has been blowing hitters away (47/6 K/BB ratio in 33 IP), but that's a long way from Oakland. Still, he's only 22, so if he keeps it up he should be climbing the prospect lists pretty soon.

Overall, the outlook is positive for the very near term, since the system seems to have a number of guys who are ready to step in right now (Graham Koonce anyone?) or very soon, but I'm worried about the lack of prospects at the AA and high-A levels. Hopefully the team can have another productive draft this year and get some guys moving up the ladder.

Monday, May 03, 2004

A needed day off

No A's game today. Time to rest up and get ready to play the evil empire, aka the Yankees. Not a great road trip, even the 2 wins in TB were ugly. The A's just need to remember their own greatness out there. Expect to win. Don't expect it to be easy, but we can do it.

I have been reading a Twins blog recently, Batgirl. It is very good, although there is some anti-A's stuff in there that reads like "Why don't WE get a Moneyball book about us?" and "If they are so good, how come we can beat them?" Go ahead, write a book about the small market Twins and how they have a system and compete on a low budget without a new stadium. I like the A's way, but I know it is not the only way. I grew up in MN and was a Twins fan most of my life, but sometime between '91 and '99 I switched. But the last few years have been great for the Twins, and I still like them. They do play some great D over there. That is probably why the A's have trouble in the Metrodome. The Twins are built for turf, the A's built for slow grass and deep fences. But I am cool with that. As far as teams to root for, I think they are pretty close. As far as places to live, I will never live outside the state of California again, and certainly never spend another winter in MN.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?