A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Friday, September 24, 2004

Painful, but not cataclysmic

I think the A's will probably still make the playoffs. Even if we only take 1 of 3 from the Angels, we'll be in first place as the Angels and Rangers start a four-game set and we get the Mariners at home for 4.

I don't think this team is good enough to win the World Series, though, which is part of why I talk so much about the 2005 team. So I honestly won't be that upset if they don't miss the playoffs. But I think they'll make it.

I also had a really painful softball experience, last Sunday. Bases loaded, down by 1 in the bottom of the last inning, I lined out to second to end the game on a pitch that was probably a ball. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves tomorrow, but it's a really short league (5 games, you have to go 3-2 to make the playoffs, and I cost us one of those losses), so it really sucks.

Realistically, if the A's had won that game, they'd basically have the division locked up. Even losing that game, they still have a very good chance, and for some reason this going from 95% to 75% hurts less than going from 55% to 35%. If they win tonight, all is well.

So you think the way the A's lost yesterday was painful?

Yesterday's loss was tough, I was sitting at my computer at work listening on the radio, and I had work to do in the lab, and in the 9th I wasn't sure if it was luckier to sit and listen, or go do my work. If I had gone and done my work and been a good employee, would the A's have rewarded me with a win? Was I the real problem?

If you think that loss was painful, how about this one? Wednesday nights we play softball. Two nights ago we were in the first round of the playoffs, it was the top of the last inning and we were down by 1. We need one run to make it to the bottom of the inning with a chance to play next week on the line. The first batter of the inning hit a ball in the gap to the wall. He makes it to 3rd easily then starts to go towards home while the pitcher is standing on the mound with the ball. The pitcher gets him into a rundown and gets him out. Now instead of the tying run on 3rd with no outs, we have one out and no one on. Just totally horrible baserunning for no apparent reason. We got 2 more batters on but lost 9-8. My wife was mad at me because when that guy came into the dugout I said, "What were you thinking, you shoulda been standing on 3rd!" I tried to say it in a nice way, but I dont think my tone was optimal. To make it worse, this dude made the exact same play 2 weeks ago! My wife started to tell me how lucky I was and how someone she worked with had cancer, and what about the people who are in wars...The play was so bad she had to compare it to terrorist activity and stuff like the holocaust to make it not seem so bad. To me she was just about saying, "Yeah it was the worst thing I have ever seen in sports, but what about some of the great tragedies of all time, it's not THAT bad."

Dotel tried to get out of it, and from what Ken Korach was saying, Dye was close to catching that ball and winning the game. But he missed and the A's lost. We knew Texas was hot and their bats are tough every day. It just seemed like if we coulda won 1 of those 3, we could forget about Texas. But now it is tight, and we gotta hope Seattle can beat Texas at least a couple times out of 6 games. And we gotta beat Anaheim. If the A's are truly the best in the AL west, it's time to show it. If they are going to lose 6 of the next 10, I guess they don't deserve to be in the playoffs anyway. C'mon A's, we can rally.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Here's a quote from my hero:

"There's still an amazing amount of talent in this room and amazing players who can play under pressure and great in September in a tight race. These last couple of games haven't indicated that, but I think we're still capable.'' -Barry Zito

3 up in the loss column to both Anaheim and Texas with 11 to play. It hasn't been the fast finishing A's I have come to expect but they are still looking ok. I thought Zito looked good last night, that homer from EY looked very flukey, it didn't look like a home run swing and it was on a change up at the knees, and he hit a line drive that made it into the first row in LF, but he got it and that was a great AB. I really thought they were going to come back, Texas is a hitters park. I think as A's fans we need to keep our heads up. This is a good division with good teams fighting to the end, and if we are all the most sincere pumpkins in the pumpkin patch the A's will prevail.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Who the hell is that wearing #20...

... and what have they done with the real Mark Mulder?

pre-All Star: 3.21 ERA, 9 HR and 41 BB in 131.2 innings
post-All Star: 5.82 ERA, 15 HR and 39 BB in 88.1 innings

It's going to be tough for the A's to hold off Anaheim with their purported ace pitching like this. Ugh. The green and gold are getting pummeled by Texas tonight, 9-4.

On the bright side, Joe Blanton's major league debut looked awfully good. Blanton came in to pitch the 8th inning and threw a nifty assortment of fastballs, sinkers and curves. I'd never seen him pitch before, but he looked like he knows what he's doing out there. Blanton aggressively attacked the strike zone but didn't leave any pitches over the middle. His fastball sat in the 91-94 range and all of his pitches had good movement. It's obviously ridiculously premature to base anything on the results of one inning, but I like what I've seen so far of the A's future. (Admittedly, after I watched Rich Harden's debut at the Coliseum I thought he'd be an instant star, but it's taken him a little while to find his groove.)

Monday, September 20, 2004

3 up with 13 to play

Not bad. The A's head into Arlington, home of the bizarre. If they can take two out of three there, I like their chances. What I don't like is their chances in the postseason, but no need to kill chickens before they're hatched.

Some corrections regarding the 40: I had the order of the A's 7 1R's wrong: the correct order is Swisher, Blanton, McCurdy, Fritz, Brown, Teahen, and Obenchain. Also, Scutaro can probably be the utility infielder, assuming anyone will take German off their hands. On the other hand, the A's will probably be in a position where they can afford to carry German as a pinch-runner next year, since they probably won't be running any platoons and with their starting staff they can get away with 10 pitchers. Also, Mecir is a free agent; he might or might not be back (on the one hand, he kills the fans; on the other hand, I don't see him getting much interest around the league, and for the minimum he's a good pitcher.) Huston Street is another possibility for the major-league roster, and he would need to be added to the 40.

My opinion is that Dan Johnson is an overrated prospect. His year in the PCL is just not that good: .299/.403/.534 probably translates to, what, .250/.340/.440 in the majors? (I'm totally guessing here.) Crosby had similar stats last year (.308/.395/.544) and his production in the majors (about the same as the translation above) is great for a shortstop but mediocre at best for a first baseman. Of course, we expect him to get better... it's sort of a tough position, since Johnson repeating the league seems a waste, but the A's really can't afford .250/.340/.440 from their first baseman (and of course we already have two first basemen under control for 2005.) Incidentally, Johnson is also not young (he turned 25 in August.)

The only thing we really need for 2005 is a catcher. And we only need one year, since hopefully Baker is ready in 2006. Thoughts? Options include 1) Bringing Miller back, 2) Giving Melhuse the starting job and having Mike Rose or some other randomly generated journeyman back up, 3) taking a chance on Baker, 4) signing some other Miller-type free agent or trading for one (maybe Ramon, who will be a FA after 2005???) I was looking at Redman's numbers in the past, and he ought to bounce back to be a capable 5th starter, and hopefully if he is doing okay we can trade him midseason and plug in the hopefully dominant Blanton.

And, most importantly, hopefully Mark Ellis will come back as good as new.

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