A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Thursday, June 02, 2005

3 in a Row, Here We Go!

The mood of A's fans must have drastically improved over the last 3 games. Going into the bottom of the 8th on Monday the A's were losing 4-1, and had lost 8 in a row. What they did from there to now has to border on one of the great momentum swings in history. Not as important and impressive as the Red Sox last fall down 3-0 then beating the best 2 teams in baseball 8 straight times, but one of the biggest A's momentum swings I have ever seen.

Having lost 8 in a row and something like 16 of 19, and staring at a 3-run deficit the A's wheels started rolling. 2 in the 8th, down to their last strike twice down 1 in the 9th, then 1 in the 11th. Then a 10-1 win and a 11-2 win. Starting in the 8th inning Monday one of the worst looking teams in baseball outscored their opponents 25-3 and won 3 games. Not really legendary and probably not too noticed by the rest of baseball, but if this team gets back above .500 some time this year, and I think they will, this series will have been important.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Jason Kendall, Extremely Grizzled Veteran

Has anyone else noticed that Jason Kendall, 30, appears to be extremely grizzled? Like Harry Dean Stanton, or Robert DeNiro, or Dennis Hopper, maybe Clint Eastwood. He appears to be beaten up, and beaten down by life. Like those were 9 hard years in a coal mine in Pittsburgh, with nothing but bulldog bread and moonshine. And maybe he's a little looney after all that hardship. What's with the rapidly rubbing of the fingers with the thumb on his throwing hand most all the time he is behind the plate? I think he used to look handsome and tough and now he has a world weariness to him. But if he can still rip and still catch, I want him on the team. I just hope he's getting enough rest.

Huston Street, ESPN.com columnist

Cool, huh? Check it out. He's surprisingly articulate (and by "surprisingly" I mean for a professional athlete in general).

Farm update

While I'm here, I might belatedly point out something you surely have already noticed, that Dan Johnson has finally gotten the call with Durazo hitting the DL (elbow). Johnson isn't off to a blistering start but yesteday he went 2-for-4 with a double, and he has walked 5 times in 22 PA so his approach is still quite sound. At any rate, he's long overdue for a look-see in the big leagues. In other transaction news, Keith Ginter was optioned to Sacramento to make room for Bobby Crosby coming off the DL; this makes the most sense to me, but I didn't know Ginter still had options.

Still in the minors: Andre Ethier is still raking in Midland, and he made it onto Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet for the third (or fourth?) straight week. Jairo Garcia, who was promoted to Sacramento from Midland about a month ago, is struggling mightily, having allowed 13 hits and 12 runs in 11 IP. He is still striking out a ton of guys, though (17).

Dallas Braden, who outclassed the Cal League for a month and a half, is still doing pretty well after his promotion to AA: 2-1, 2.61 in 20.2 IP. His K/BB ratio, however, has slipped from mind-boggling to mediocre (13-8). Jason Windsor, his rotation-mate from Stockton, has joined him in the Texas League after putting up a phenomenal 64-to-8 K/BB ratio in 55 innings for Stockton. Windsor had a good first start for Midland, allowing 1 run in 6 innings on 7 hits and 1 BB, striking out 7.

Last year I suggested that Windsor might be the new Brad Knox. Well, the old Brad Knox isn't doing so hot, having spent all of April in extended spring training rehabbing from a back injury, and now he is struggling in Stockton (having taken Braden's rotation spot): 14 hits and 6 BB in 12.2 IP, with an unsightly 7.11 ERA. Let's hope he gets straightened out; Knox had probably the best season of any A's minor-league starting pitcher last year, going 14-5, 2.59 with an ungodly 174-24 K/BB ratio in 156 innings at Kane County.

Something funny has also happened: Javier Herrera, perhaps the A's best five-tool prospect, was promoted three levels briefly, from Kane County all the way up to Sacramento, on May 21. He hasn't played for the Rivercats since the 27th; I don't really know what's up with that, but Herrera had a good week in the PCL, going for .417/.533/.750. Also recently called up to AAA was 1B Brant Colamarino, taking Dan Johnson's place on the roster after a .321/.377/.594 line in Midland.

2 in a Row and Here We Go!

Last night the A's beat the Rays 10-1. 2nd win in a row. Just awesome. Here is Swisher's quote on the Extra Innings show:

"This team just has too many good baseball players to lose this much."

And last night for the first time this season, Kotsay batted 3rd. Check out my post from yesterday. Maybe someone is reading. Maybe not.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's only one win, but it's a good win

Last night I was driving home from Santa Cruz. I'd had a weekend with friends and surfing and not much baseball. During the drive home I turned on the radio. It was A's 4 Rays 4, top of the 10th! Huston Street is in a jam! He gets a called strike 3!
It is amazing to me how each game is like a snowflake and one good game can at least for a while make me forget about the A's record, their problems, I am totally in the moment.

And they win it in the bottom of the 11th with a 2-out RBI by Mark Kotsay. That's the one guy that's really really good. Maybe he oughta bat 3rd. It was the first game back for Bobby Crosby. During the postgame show here is the soundbite recap Bill King replayed,
"Now up is Bobby Crosby, who is way behind now, since he missed everything since opening day. He is at March 15th while the pitchers are just about in June form, CRACK! Hard line drive into right center, so much for that, Crosby is rounding first and going to second with a stand-up double.What makes it even better is he went the other way."

That was Crosby's first AB since coming off the dl. Hearing it gave me chills. Is the return of Crosby coinciding with the A's snapping an 8 game losing streak a coincedence? We'll see, but I think it isn't.

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