A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I've Been to the Mountain Top

I called my friend who is a Yankees fan yesterday to ask him if he could say anything in defense of ARod's slap, and of course he couldn't. He did say, "I don't believe in momentum and the Red Sox are still cursed." Really? Don't believe in momentum? Saturday night when the Yankees won big to get to 3-0, it could have been over, but slowly the tide turned. On Sunday with no losses to give they played extra innings late into the night, then the same on monday, then on tuesday Schilling shows up on the hill with his ankle bleeding...I couldn't see what I can see now, but the Red Sox refusal to give up even when 100 years of postseason baseball says no one can do it, that refusal shocked the Yankees, or maybe it was the site of blood. There is a new meaning of the term "red sox". In the first 3 games I thought the Red Sox would never get Matsui or Scheffield out. Did the Red Sox make adjustments or did the Yankees start to wear down? I think in their heads they were saying, "Don't these guys ever let up?"

Last night I fully expected it to be 4-4 in the 9th or even later. In fact this game 7 was not nearly as exciting as games 4,5 and 6. By the time Damon hit the slam in the 2nd, it was over. Only a terrible choke was going to let the Red Sox lose. There would be no breath holding on every pitch with a 5 then a 7 run lead. The Red Sox had already been to the mountain top, getting from 3-0 to 3-3 and the yankees were too shocked to counter. It was a huge shootout, where one guy has used up all his bullets and the other guy has one left.

Derrek Lowe, what can you say about that guy? 2 days rest 6 innings 1 hit 1 run. I was a little upset that Francona pulled him, but it worked out. Even if Pedro had been worse than he was in the 7th, a 7 run lead is pretty big. It seemed like Francona would make brilliant moves all through the series, and a couple of clunkers. Francona put in his "prevent defense" in the 8th inning. Meintkeiwicz and Pokey Reese at 1st and 2nd, and the first batter, Jeter, hit a ball to 3rd and Meuller threw a bad hop to Meintkeiwicz, no problem, 1 out. The moves paid instant dividends. Just like having Dave Roberts pinch run and immediatley steal 2nd in the 9th inning of game 4.

I don't care what happens in the World Series now. I will root for the Red Sox, but we just should not expect this kind of drama. One team will win and one will lose, but it won't be like this. The Red Sox have already done the impossible, what could they possibly do for an encore?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

From 3-0 to 3-3

As a Red Sox fan who is not a crazed lunatic, I would say that even if the Red Sox lose tonight, they still climbed a very impressive mountain. The true crazy Red Sox fans probably can't enjoy it if they lose tonight, but I think win or lose, it's been a fun ride. Now they are in uncharted territory, no team has ever gone from 3-0 to 3-3, maybe the Red Sox have the advantage now. We've got no stats on this for Fox to flash obnoxiously on the screen.

When Schilling came out after 7, the Fox announcers started jabbering about whether he should be pulled, Tanya and I immediately decided to switch the TV sound off and go to John and Joe on the radio. Schilling was obviously toast, if these guys can't see that, they don't deserve to have their voices heard in my living room. His ankle was bleeding! He's pitching his heart out and he just gave up a homer to Bernie.

The other amazing thing was, the umps twice made a bad call, and reversed it. The 6 of them got together and fixed what was broken. Usually a bad call like that would go unreversed and the Red Sox would lose because of it. I think the umps must have made a decision that if something was questionable they had 6 pairs of eyes, they'd use all of them. They know Fox has 27 cameras ready to replay everything in slo-mo ad nauseum if there is a bad call, and the umps did the right thing.

I'd like to hear a Yankee fan defend ARod's slapping Arroyo's glove off. Even if there is ambiguity in the rulebook, it was obviously a dirty and non-sportsmanlike play. It looked as if a defensive lineman was trying to slap the football out of a quarterback's hand when he couldn't quite tackle him.

So we go to game 7 with Foulke having pitched 5 innings in the last 3 nights, and both teams still wavering on their starters. The great thing about the postseason is that all the things like days of rest and pitch counts go out the window. All starters become emergency relievers. I wouldn't rule out Pedro pitching tonight, and if it came down to it, maybe there is one more inning in Schilling. It's that crazy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Red Sox - Yankees

I went looking for blogs with monumental stories about the monumental Red Sox - Yankees game last night, but din't find any. I guess the Red Sox nation is too overwhelmed or tired or superstitious to write. I just can't let this day go by without trying to say something about the epic battle I witnessed the last 2 nights. How about Keith Foulke pitching multiple innings on 2 successive nights? The whole Red Sox pen effectively shut down the Yankees for 14 innings the last 2 nights. It was looking as if Matsui and Scheffield would never make an out. As A's fans most of us probably don't love the Red Sox much right now, between last year's playoffs and the sweep late this year, but I tell you, they are the lesser of evils, in a truly correct world we would all hate the Yankees.

And now we get this preposterous story, Schilling is going tonight! He found a boot which helps his ankle! He's beaten these guys before in big games! Rivera has 2 blown saves in consecutive games! Of course it could all end in a firery plane crash tonight with the Yankees getting ahead early and cruising. But I don't think it will. It sure is good baseball. I got a fortune cookie today at lunch that said, "Read more books, watch less TV." I'll get right on that when the World Series is over.

Our 2005 catcher

Who do you want to see starting at catcher for the A's in 2005? Some candidates:

1) Damian Miller liked playing for the A's and could probably be re-signed relatively cheaply.

2) John Baker is our prospect. Solid year at Midland in 2004. Probably not ready.

3) Adam Melhuse is our current backup. I think he could be a starter. Management's remarks indicate they disagree.

4) Mike Lieberthal has sort of worn out his welcome in Philly and his contract is up after 2005. I bet he could be gotten. On the other hand, his defense sucks and Beane likes defense.

5) Ramon Hernandez is also a free agent after 2005. There was talk of Kendall (who is signed too far in the future) going to SD before they traded for Ramon. Maybe we could pull a 3-way. Ramon had a very good year last year, and I'd love to get him back.

6) Victor Martinez is my pipe dream. I would trade a ton to get this guy. I would be happy with a Zito + Baker + Knox for Martinez deal. I see no reason why Cleveland would trade him.

7) Ramon Castro was just waived by the Fish. Statheads have been clamoring for him to get a shot for years, leading to speculation the A's will pick him up. I think we should stay away.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Projected 2005 roster

Over the past week, the A's have outrighted Saarloos, Rose, German, Koonce, McMillon, and Edwards. This means that those guys are off the 40. I think the press release is written in such a way as to imply that they cleared waivers, meaning they will be in our minor league system next year unless they are taken in the R5 draft (McMillon probably has the seniority to refuse the assignment and become a free agent; Koonce and Rose might, and Saarloos and German don't.) This was done in preparation for adding people, so I would assume that unless something unforeseen happens, they won't be on the 40, while the people they didn't outright will. This changes the projection somewhat. I think it is very likely that Beane will sign or trade for a catcher, but since we don't know who, I won't pencil that in (this would result in one fewer spot on the 40; probably Dunwell or Stavisky would be the casualty.)

This assumes the A's offer arb to all arb-eligible players and don't sign any free agents.

Manager: Ken Macha
Hitting coach: Dave Hudgins
Pitching coach: Curt Young
Infield/3B coach: Ron Washington
1B coach: Brad Fischer
Bullpen coach: Bob Geren
Bench coach: Tony DeFrancesco (2003: Rivercats manager)

CF Mark Kotsay (L)
LF Eric Byrnes (R)
3B Eric Chavez (L)
DH Erubiel Durazo (L)
RF Nick Swisher (B)
1B Scott Hatteberg (L)
SS Bobby Crosby (R)
C John Baker (L)
2B Mark Ellis (R)

Bench: C Adam Melhuse (B), IF Marco Scutaro (R), IF Mike Rouse (L), OF Bobby Kielty (R), OF Matt Watson (L)

RHP Tim Hudson
LHP Barry Zito
LHP Mark Mulder
RHP Rich Harden
LHP Mark Redman

CL Octavio Dotel (R)
RP Chad Bradford (R)
RP Ricardo Rincon (L)
MR Justin Duchscherer (R)
RP Arthur Rhodes (L)
RP Jairo Garcia (R)

Others on 40-man:
SP Joe Blanton (R)
SP Brad Knox (R)
SP John Rheinecker (L)
SP Chris Dunwell (R)
RP Chris Mabeus (R)
RP Shane Bazzell (R)
RP Shawn Kohn (R)
RP Justin Lehr (R)
RP Tim Harikkala (R)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
SS Mark Kiger (R)
IF Freddie Bynum (L)
IF Mike Rouse (R)
OF Brian Stavisky (L)
OF Nelson Cruz (R)

Can we get Rick Peterson back?

Seeing that Art Howe has been let go by the Mets, it makes me wonder if Rick Peterson might be available. And if Rick is available, would the A's want him and would Rick want to come back to the west coast away from his family? I have read that Rick didn't get along really well with Macha, and that Mulder didn't have the greatest relationship with Rick, and that Harden has gotten a lot of help from Curt Young. It's sort of a puzzle. But the A's had a bad September for the first time in a long time, and the missing piece could be Rick Peterson. Or not.

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