A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Out of last place!


The team is playing like we all expected them to at the beginning of the season. Crosby looks like a different hitter out there this season, not flailing wildly at sliders down and away; Chavez is starting to get back on track; the rotation is kicking some ass. Perhaps a dose of tempering is warranted, as for the most part this hot streak has come against some pretty bad teams; as the calendar turns to July, we will see if they can keep it up, as the July schedule includes 6 games against the White Sox, 7 against Texas, and 3 each against Cleveland, Detroit, Anaheim, and Toronto -- zero games against teams currently under .500 (although in the weird AL this year, the A's are one of only 4 teams with a losing record, and it's a reasonable bet that Detroit and Toronto will be under it when we play them.)

Perhaps of more importance is the Kotsay situation. Kotsay, Mike Cameron, and circa-1998 Andruw Jones are the three best defensive outfielders I have ever seen. Kotsay gets a perfect jump on every ball and takes great routes, and is a free agent (player option for 7.25 M) after the year. It's an awkward position; other teams probably don't realize just how good he is out there, so he may be undervalued, but on the other hand the two Evil Empires, the Yankees and Boston, both need center fielders after this year, so perhaps he will be bid up. As always, there is trade speculation, with the Cubs and Yankees at the forefront.

It probably makes business sense to trade Kotsay if we can get more than the picks, but I really hope it doesn't happen. He is an absolute joy to watch in the field, and there is really no replacement in the organization (Byrnes, Thomas, and Swisher are really all corner outfielders who would be quite stretched in CF.) He is the reason I have not cancelled my cable.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Saarloos Pitches Complete Game

The A's gave one away Wednesday, but took back one Thursday afternoon. I guess to be fair I shouldn't be 24-7 promoting the greatness of the A's. But screw that, the A's are great! The A's are the BEST TEAM EVER!

OK, maybe not. They don't have a lot of power. They don't really hit for average. Even my 2nd favorite shortstop, Bobby Crosby can make a bonehead play once in a while. On that feed he missed on Wednesday night, he was trying to turn 2 on Ichiro to win the game, when it was going to be a tough play, and instead that E lost the game. He'll get it right next time. Chavvy can pop-up when a grounder to 2nd will score a run. But their young pitching staff seems to be getting better every time out. Maybe the truth is that they are an ok team. Even the most pessimistic are going to have to admit pretty soon that .500 is obtainable. They could hold out until the A's are at .500. Then it is going to be hard to say they are not a .500 team.

The announcers on Wednesday night said, "Zito pitches another good game and has nothing to show for it." I hope Z doesn't think that. He has a lot to show, 7 and 1/3 IP 1 ER. So he didn't get a W. Wins are one of the most misleading stats in baseball. He oughta know W-L records don't tell the whole story. He knows he did well and so they lost the game, he's got that outing to build on.

I always thought the 2000 and 2001 A's teams were too young to understand pressure or how good they really were. Maybe this team is like that. If the starting rotation goes: Zito, Harden, Haren, Blanton and Saarloos, their ages go: 27, 23, 24, 24, 26. That looks like a very young rotation. Which of them are hot right now? Of course the answer is: all of them. Injuries could derail this team pretty badly, but assuming a few good months of health, this team could play .600 ball the rest of the way, easy. That's 86 wins. 90 might get a wildcard spot. Not that that's what WILL happen, but it COULD.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The A's are One of the 5 Worst Teams in Baseball

According to Ryne Sandberg, the Oakland A's are one of the 5 worst teams in baseball this week. This is a team which has won 14 of its last 21, just got Harden off the DL, he got a win last night. They have won 7 of 8 series since Crosby came off the DL. 8 games under .500 and 9 out of the wildcard spot with a bazillion games to go. I could make a better case that the A's are one of the 5 best teams in baseball this week. But of course, I am not going into the Hall of Fame this summer, so maybe my opinion isn't as valuable. Yahoo's news and sports continually pisses me off, almost on a daily basis. I need to watch where I get my content from.

On to a new topic: Duchscherer! Not only does he have "ch" and "er" appear twice in his name, he is the second coming of Keith Foulke. The A's 1st string closer, Octavio Dotel, is out for the year. Not a good sign, the A's backup closer, Huston Street is hurt. So I figure there was a meeting with Macha, Beane and Young that went something like this:

Beane: Who's going to close?

Macha: dunno

Young: Rincon?

Beane: That guy is a loogy.

Macha: yeah. But he is a nice loogy.

Beane: Kiko?

Macha: He just came off the DL. Maybe he's not strong enough yet.

Young: Dukey?

Beane: Let's give him a shot.

Little did they know, they unleashed the beast. Last night in a tight game, with 2 on and 1 out in the 8th, the 3 and 4 hitters the M's order coming up, Ichiro on base, Macha went out there and brought in Duchscherer. Justin does not throw hard, but he's a painter, and I am starting to think he has the stroke of a Rembrant, or a Picasso, or a Foulke. Beltre hit one hard up the middle to make the score 4-2, Kotsay wisely didnt try to get Ichiro at the plate and now there were men on 1st and 2nd with one out. On the next pitch, Dukey got a 5-4-3 DP outa Sexson. 8th inning over. Now we go to the 9th, pretty high tension, pretty close game. I think it was over in 6 pitches. 4-3, 1-3, 4-3 game over. The pitch where Justin jammed Lopez and got a comebacker was just breathtaking. Like Fosse said, he threw it right at the batter's hip. Duchscherer has been money since he came up, and now, with the A's needing a 3rd string closer, he has turned into Keith Foulke. Less curveballs, more strikes, lightning fast 9th innings. C'mon people now. Let's go A's!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Future is Now

At least a glimpse of the future was avaiable for viewing last night. Nick Swisher hit a bomb and stole a bomb away. In the immortal words of Torii Hunter he said in the postgame show, "I'd rather rob a homer than hit a homer." Danny Haren has quietly gone from 1-7 to 5-7. Crosby looks like he's a veteran leader out there and Kotsay hit a Three Run Jimmyjack to put it outa reach. When Kielty is fluffing his crazy red hair for the camera, you know something good just happened for him and the A's. Harden comes off the DL tonight. On Friday in Sactown Harden pitched to 10 guys and 1 got a hit and 7 struck out. Those are Alan Huwe-type numbers. Keep it rollin'.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Or should that be Rollin' over Rollins? Those Phillies think they're special, they do, I can see it in their eyes. Another series win, another win for my favorite chubby pitcher, Joe Blanton. Yesterday they were old school soldiers passin' out the shots, 24-7 never beggin' for a raincheck since Crosby's back. When asked why he is such a badass, Kotsay reportedly said, "I did it all for the NOOKIE! Eric Byrnes had this to say about all the trade rumors: "It's all about the he said/she said bullshit." Zito after friday's meltdown, "It was one of those days, where you don't wanna wake up, everything sucks." Right now we can take the red rockers, the hip hoppers, everyone all around the world. The A's will see .500 by August 1st.

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