Friday, September 4, 2009

State of the Team for September 4, 2009

On the 7 year anniversary of the Athletics American League record 20th consecutive win, the Athletics once again lost to the Seattle Mariners by the final score of 6-3. The A's are now 3-11 against the Mariners this year...maybe they're trying to rekindle Seattle's playoff hopes only to steal them away in their penultimate series in the Emerald City...but that's probably not the case. Maybe the Mariners are still upset about 2006 (like David Feldman said on tonight's version of Extra Innings...) but once again, probably not. While the Mariners are just plain better than the A's this year, the A's seem to play their absolute worst against them. Most likely, the Mariners are a better match up against the A's. The M's don't have a great offense, but their pitching is the best in the AL (the only team in the league to have an ERA under 4) and, as it's been well documented, the A's aren't exactly the 1927 Yankees at the plate (or for those who may be offended, the 29' A's). The A's are last in both OPS and home runs, and probably a bunch of other categories I didn't check. So as the old saying goes, (most of the time) good pitching beats good it shouldn't take a genius to figure that really good pitching destroys really bad hitting.

Tonight's games was another lack-luster competition for the A's...of course this comes from an A's-fan-prospective, it may have been quite exciting for an M's fan...the A's managed just 5 hits, and shockingly (and almost sickeningly) Nomar had 2 of them. I say this rather facetiously only because the only time he ever seems to play is when he's pinch-hitting...and when Nomar pinch-hits, it really should be called pinch-getting-out. Seriously...he's been horrible as a pinch-hitter, and he starts so rarely that it's a phenomenon his batting average is .269...that would imply he actually gets hits. One of Nomar's two hits was a two-run homer that was actually caught for a brief moment by Franklin Gutierrez until it popped out of his glove and jumped over the fence. The only other RBI was off the bat of Adam Kennedy who doubled in Ryan Sweeney from second. Even though Mazzaro was scratched and replaced with Clayton Mortensen, it was a very Mazzaro-like game...well other than the fact that Mortsensen was able to go 7 innings. Mortensen, much like Vin does, gave up all 4 earned runs in one inning (the 2nd). He settled down very well after that and the bullpen gave up the remainder. And one more thing about about Ryan Rowland-Smith? Once again he shut the A's down. Last time he faced the A's he pitched very well, but so did Brett Anderson, essentially resulting in a no-decision for Rowland-Smith in a game the Mariners ended up winning. Tonight the M's Aussie went 8 innings, surrendering 3 runs (which could easily have been just 1 if Franklin Gutierrez comes up with that shot off Nomar's bat) while allowing just 4 hits, walking 1 and striking out 4. His numbers may not speak "pure domination" but Ryan Rowland-Smith is slowly becoming an Athletics nemesis. This season, the righty is 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. Not eye-popping, but very solid.

Scott Hatteberg is mobbed by the 2002 A's in one of the most celebrated moments in recent A's history

Briefly...Extra Innings paid tribute to the Athletics 12-11 win over the Royals 7 years ago tonight....or what was tonight 45 minutes ago (it's 12:35AM Saturday, therefore no longer September 4th)...with a series of radio calls from the 18th, 19th, and 20th wins in the streak, all of which were done in walk-off fashion. Hearing those calls gave me goosebumps and a pleasant feeling of nostalgia. I loved Bill King's call of the Hatteberg walk-off home run in the 20th game, but my favorite is easily Ken Korach's call of the 18th win. Obviously the 20th game was the biggest win in that streak because it set a new record, but the most exciting game out of all of them was the 18th win. It was the only game of the three in which the A's were actually losing entering their last at-bat. And for a season in which Miguel Tejada won the American League MVP, it was an ideal moment to show the world how valuable he really was to that team...I will never forget the moment he took Everyday Eddie Guardado deep to give the A's a 7-5 advantage.

Any comments or something? Still to come....MY TOP PROSPECTS!

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