A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Friday, August 13, 2004

Friday the 13th, a game and a half up

The A's lost 2 of 3 to the Tigers. Maybe I jinxed them with my last post about how the Tigers deserved better. The Tigers are a real team, now we gotta root for them to spank the rest of the west. And I guess we gotta root for the Yankees against all the other teams, which is painful for me. The Angels are alone in 2nd, a game up on the Rangers. I can't help thinking the A's real threat in the west is the Angels and not the Rangers. Another good pennant race is coming. We get that every year don't we? The A's dont have a playoff spot yet, but if they did, who would we chose to play in the first round? I'd chose the Twins if it were me. They are no picnic, but the other choices seem to be NY, Boston, Chicago or Cleveland. Chicago would be a great team to have to play in the first round, but I dont think they are going to make it. Cleveland scares me. It is interesting that the A's 3 most likely opponents in the first round are 3 teams the A's have already faced in the first round in the last 3 years. At some point. the tables turn, and the team that has been getting beaten wins. It always goes like that in sports. Unless you are the Red Sox, and even then, SOMEDAY they will win the world series. This year looks as good as any.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Star Trek and the A's

Writing for a blog called Barry Zito Forever calls for a little irreverance now and again.

There was a Star Trek Next Generation episode a few years back which reminds me of the Tigers. In this episode, there is a less advanced race who as Captain Piccard puts it, is not ready for new technologies yet. They get ahold of a ship or a device, and then they capture Jordi, to help them use their new power. And one says to the other, enthusiastically, "We're going to be smart, we're going to be powerful!" And they proceed to try to blackmail the Enterprise somehow. I can't remember all the details, but eventually Jordi tricks them, and whatever device or weapon they had goes back to it's rightful owners. And in the end one says to another, in a sad voice, "We're not smart, we're not powerful."

Even though Zito won a great game tonight, it is not that fun to beat up on the Tigers. I like this franchise, guys like Dmitri Young, Rondell White and Pudge are fun to watch. I see Carlos Pena on the Tigers and you know that he will always live with the fact that if he was a little better he'd be on the A's. This is a team which makes terrible fundamental mistakes, one of their players has stolen 19 bases but been caught 13 times. Last year they took the fewest number of pitches of any team. Jason Johnson is a big league pitcher, but tonight immediately after the second baseman made an error, he gives up a backbreaking 3 run bomb to Chavvy. Maroth is better than a 20 game loser. This is a classy franchise, with a rich history and cool uniforms and a nice new ballpark and the whole franchise just deserves better. Bobby Higgenson is probably the most overpaid player in history, he is one of the worst players in the majors right now. Maybe some day these guys will put it all together, I am rooting for them. But at the end of the game tonight when the Octavator got the last out, they showed the faces of the Tigers bench, and their faces said, sadly, "We're not smart, we're not powerful."

Monday, August 09, 2004

Billy Beane on KNBR

Today on the way home from work, I was flipping around the dial and found Billy Beane on KNBR. It was a riveting show, with call-ins and guests. Billy is so frank and honest and bright, it reminds me that I root for the best organization in baseball. He had Lenny Dykstra as a guest. Lenny was also bright and funny, and he and Billy were sharing old stories. Lenny said, "I know I could win as a manager, but it is such a grind, all that travel, I'd rather be with my family." As Ralph said, "Who knew Lenny Dykstra was as interesting as he is?" Billy talked about a lot of current and former A's. He said something I always thought, that Miguel Tejada, besides being a great player, was a really funny guy with a great personality in the clubhouse. Some of the O's players have said he does quirky things like "whistle charge". Billy also said there was never much of a chance he'd have traded Zito, but admitted everyone had a price. When one gm said, "what would it take?" Billy responded by saying "basically your whole organization." Billy also defended KFRC, which I thought was a classy move. Of course when KNBR has sportstalk on around the clock, it will be more popular with bay area sports fans than KFRC, which plays oldies when the A's aren't on, but KFRC is fine. The A's get broadcast, and Bill King and Ken Korach do a great job too.

Maybe the A's will never draw like the Giants, or be as popular as the Giants, but the A's are such a great organization, people notice. There were 2 women in my spinning class in San Mateo with A's shirts on yesterday. I see more and more A's hats around the peninsula all the time. Of course I go outa my way to try to convince Giants fans that my team, although geographically further from my home, is superior. But peace man, you can root for the Giants if you want.

As everyone probably knows, we just ran the gauntlet. 11 game road trip against the 3 division leaders and came out 7-4. Wow. Let's go A's.

Seven and four

The A's beat the Twins 8-2 today to complete a 7-4 road trip against the three AL division leaders (although Texas is no longer in front :). At the beginning of the trip I said that if the A's can just break even on the road swing, they'd have a clear path to the division title, and they've done better than that. Three of four from the Rangers and the Twins, and what should have been three of four from New York (more on that later).

Oakland also called up minor league relief phenom Jairo Garcia today, who finished off Minnesota with two no-hit innings. Chad Bradford (who leads the team in bullpen appearances) was placed on the DL with a strained back. The move was really necessary to shore up the bullpen after everybody was taxed so much in that 18-inning marathon on Sunday. (I'd like to make a special shout-out to Justin Duchscherer, who is the man when it comes to high-leverage long relief appearances.) Garcia's statistics from the minors this year are simply off the charts, which is why he's been able to skyrocket through four levels this year before landing in the majors (skipping past high-A ball entirely):

Oakland (ML) 0-0 0.00 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.0 0 6 8 0 0 0 0 2 0 1
Sacramento (AAA) 0- 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 3 1 5.0 2 17 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
Midland (AA) 2- 0 1.50 13 0 0 0 9 2 18.0 10 64 80 3 3 0 1 15 0 32
Kane County (A) 1- 0 0.30 25 0 0 0 24 16 30.0 16 107 117 2 1 0 4 6 2 49
TOTALS 3-0 0.65 42 0 0 0 37 19 55.0 28 212 240 5 4 1 5 23 2 92

That, my friends, is one kick-ass relief prospect. And he's only 21. Remind anybody of Francisco Rodriguez, circa 2002? If Octavio Dotel doesn't get straightened out (and I believe that he will), we have a pretty legitimate closer candidate.

Anyway, the team heads home weary (after playing 27 innings in 27 hours against Minnesota) but in front of Texas by 2.5 games and Anaheim by 2. And the rest of the August schedule is much easier: Detroit and Kansas City both this week and next, followed by Baltimore and Tampa Bay for two weeks after that. Plus some good old home cooking. Over the last three seasons, the A's have won better than three-fourths of their August games, and it's looking like more of the same this year. Rock on!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The A's in 18

The A's won the longest game I have ever watched today in 18 innings. In the middle of the 14th, they played "take me out to the ball game" again at the Metrodome. It seems like lots of games go to about 13 but 18 seems crazy long. It's a great game to win though. Those Twins are tough. If the A's play the Twins in the first round of the playoffs, they will have their hands full. I guess bad teams don't make the playoffs in baseball. Part of the beauty of the game. So far they are 6-4 on this 11 game road trip. Not bad at all, better than .500 on the road against the best in each division.

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