A quick post to let you all know that Bob Geren was “relieved of his duties” today. That doesn’t sound like “fired” to me so he may not in fact be gone from the organization. He is Billy Beane’s BFF after all. Anyway I wanted to share the good news with all of you. Yahoo!!!!!
Almost any warm body would have been an improvement over Geren, but Melvin’s record is not the stuff of legends. His overall record as a manager is just under .500 (493 wins to 508 losses), but he has had 3 winning seasons since 2002: Seattle in 2003 and the Diamond Backs in 2007 and 2008. Let’s hope that he can turn the morale in the clubhouse around and the players can start playing up to their potential.
Compared to Geren, however, Melvin looks good. Geren managed 711 games with the A’s from the 2003 season through yesterday. He compiled 334 wins and 376 losses for a winning percentage of .469. But Tony LaRussa who managed the A’s from 1986-1995 and had a .572 winning percentage, so there is lots of room for improvement for Melvin.
Let’s not forget that Melvin is the interim manager. The team will engage in a manager search later this year, which may produce someone other than Bob Melvin. In the meantime, he’s what we’ve got and let’s keep our fingers crossed and this long-overdue event with a familiar song that hasn’t been heard much of late:
Here is part of the press release:
Athletics’ Manager Bob Geren Relieved of His Duties
Former Major League Manager Bob Melvin to Serve as Interim Replacement
OAKLAND, Calif.—Oakland Athletics’ Vice President & General Manager Billy Beane announced today that Bob Geren has been relieved of his duties as manager and former Major League manager Bob Melvin has been named interim manager for the remainder of the 2011 season.
Geren, 49, was named the A’s manager on Nov. 17, 2006. He registered a 334-376 (.470) record in four-plus seasons with Oakland, including a 27-36 mark and last-place standing in the American League West this year.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ all-time winningest manager, Melvin arrives in Chicago today and will assume his managerial duties tonight when the A’s open a four-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The 49-year-old Palo Alto, Calif. native has compiled an overall record of
493-508 in seven previous seasons as a Major League manager from 2003-09 with the Seattle Mariners (156-168, 2003-04) and Diamondbacks (337-340, 2005-09).
In his rookie managerial season, he directed the Mariners to a 93-69 record in 2003. Four years later, he won National League Manager of the Year honors after piloting Arizona to a league-best 90-72 mark and the NL West Division title in 2007. Melvin also served as the Diamondbacks’ bench coach on Bob Brenly’s coaching staff from 2001-02, when Arizona won the World Series in 2001 and the NL West Division championship in 2002.
In addition, he held positions as Phil Garner’s bench coach for Milwaukee in 1999 and Detroit in 2000. Prior to those bench coach roles, he spent three seasons with Milwaukee in various capacities, serving as a scout in 1996, roving instructor in 1997 and as assistant to General Manager Sal Bando in 1998. Most recently, Melvin had rejoined the Diamondbacks as a special baseball advisor to President & CEO Derrick Hall last month, assisting the baseball operations department and other business divisions of the organization.
Melvin graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park, Calif. in 1979 and later attended and played baseball at the University of California in Berkeley. Detroit selected him as its first choice in the secondary phase of the 1981 January draft and the former catcher posted a .233 batting average with 35 home runs and 212 RBI while playing in 692 games during his 10-year Major League career with the Tigers (1985), San Francisco Giants (1986-88), Baltimore Orioles (1989-91), Kansas City Royals (1992), Boston Red Sox (1993), New York Yankees (1994) and Chicago White Sox (1994).
Geren first joined the A’s organization as a minor league manager in 1999, serving one season at Single-A Modesto before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento in 2000. After three years with the River Cats, he was named to the major league coaching staff, where he was bullpen coach from 2003-05 and bench coach in 2006. His best season as Oakland’s manager came last year, when he guided the A’s to an 81-81 record and second-place finish in the AL West. He led the team to finishes of 76-86 in 2007, 75-86 in 2008 and 75-87 in 2009.
Melvin becomes the 29th manager in franchise history and 18th in Oakland annals.
As one of the Comcast SportsNet California TV broadcasters said recently, “If it weren’t for Adam Rosales, the A’s wouldn’t be where they are right now,” which, as of today (May 29th), is 3 games above .500, a half a game behind the division-leading Texas Rangers. After the last couple of years’ dismal seasons, the A’s are definitely in the hunt for a post-season birth. But let’s back up a minute and take a look at how Rosie wound up in the role of utility man extraordinaire for the A’s.
Adam M. Rosales was born on May 20th, 1983 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb, and still lives there. He went on to Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo,where he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference 1st Team.
He was selected by the Cincinati Reds in the 12th round (362nd overall) of the June 2005 Amateur Draft. He was immediately sent to Billings in the Pioneer League (rookie) for 34 games, where he batted .321, and was elevated to Low Single-A Dayton in the Midwest League, batting .328.
In 2006 and 2007, he worked his way up the Red’s organization, ending up at Chattanooga in the Double-A Southern League. In the fall of 2007, he participated in the Arizona Fall League, a showcase league for the top 6 or 7 best players in each MLB team’s minor league system, where he batted .281. (See my previous blog article on the AFL.)
In 2008, he started the year with the Louisville Bats in the International League (Triple-A), and was called up to the Reds on August 9th for a brief stint, and again on August 20th when Jerry Hairston Jr. went on the DL. He started the 2009 season back at Louisville, but was called up on April 28th when Edwin Incarnacion fractured his wrist. He played in 87 games with the Reds that year, batting .213.
But batting is not all that Rosie was known for. He was signed as a shortstop and played that position until 2007, when he was moved to first base. In 2008, he played both short and 3rd at Louisville, and 3rd and 2nd with the Reds.
In 2009, he put in time at all 4 infield positions for the Reds. His hustle was rewarded by the Reds’ naming him as their representative for the Heart and Hustle Award. He was selected “for his passion for baseball and his embodiement of the values, tradition and spirit of the game.” Others nominated that year included: Chase Uttley, David Eckstein, Pablo Sandoval and Albert Pujols in the National League, and Nick Markakis, Joe Mauer, Nick Swisher and Evan Longoria in the AL. Jack Cust was nominated by the A’s. Really?
Rosie played in the Mexican Winter League this past winter, where he got considerable experience playing in left field. This was icing on the cake for Bob Geren and Billy Beane, who were looking for a utility infielder for this season.
On February 1st of this year, he was traded by the Reds, along with Willy Taveras, to the A’s for Aaron Miles and a PTBNL. Billy Beane has been quoted as saying that the player in that deal he really wanted was Rosales. This became clear when the A’s released Taveras a few weeks later. Of note, the Reds designated Aaron Miles for assignment on April 5th. Who got the better of the deal? A no-brainer.
So who is Adam Rosales? What we’ve seen so far this season is a guy who sprints around the bases whether he hits a homer or works a walk, a good fielder with a great arm at any position he plays, and a guy with some pop in his bat who seems to get hits when the team needs them. This type of situational hitting has been a real problem for the A’s over the past few years, especially with Jack Cust batting in the number 4 hole.
It is nice to see Rosie, Jake Fox, Ryan Sweeney and Kurt Suzuki take up the slack this season.
Also, Rosie is very disruptive on the base paths, as are Rajai Davis, and Coco Crisp (when he isn’t on the DL). And it’s the running game, I feel, that has made a big difference this year. Rosie rattles the pitchers, forces the opposing fielders to rush their throws, often resulting in errors. Rosie is also lightening fast, beating out infield hits almost routinely. As Manager Bob Geren put it, “Those kind of at-bats, that kind of speed, generates some action.”
Recently, I attended an Oakland A’s Booster Club luncheon where Rosie was the player on the dais.
He admitted that he was “scared to death” to be standing in front of 100+ Boosters, but not at all scared on the field. He was asked what he thinks about the A’s as a team, and responded without hesitation that they are “the best team in the Majors. There’s great chemistry. We’re like brothers.”
When asked why he runs so fast around the bases, he responded, “I always said if I ever get to the Major Leagues, I’m gonna play like I was 12 years old.”
He says he likes playing all the infield positions, but is most comfortable at shortstop and 2nd base. “I’ll play anywhere the team needs me to play.”
On the personal side, he she has a girlfriend, but is not married. In an interview with Kate Longworth of Comcast SportsNet California, he said that If he weren’t a baseball player, he’d be a rock star. His favorite bands are Dave Matthews and Pearl Jam. His favorite sports movies are “The Natural,” and when he was a kid, “Sandlot,” not surprisingly, both baseball movies. His pet peeve is “Waiting in Traffic!”
When asked what 3 things he takes on the road, he said: his toiletry bag, his cell phone, and his guitar. He hasn’t played for the his teammates yet. “If they’re lucky enough, maybe I’ll play for them.”
His best baseball memory was facing his first pitch at Wrigley Field. Since he grew up in Chicago, “I was really amped up.”
The A’s are extremely happy to have Adam Rosales on their roster.
When he’s in the lineup, good things happen. He’s had two 4-RBI nights in recent weeks, he’s hit homers, stolen bases, and made great plays in the field.
He always seems to have a smile on his face.
And everyone cheers when he sprints around the basepaths. What more could we A’s fans want?!
The A’s Great Start: I have held my breath and refrained from doing a blog post, afraid I would jinx the A’s, who are off to their best start in many years. Alas, last night the Mariners, whom they had beaten 4 times this year already, found their bats and shutout the A’s 3-0.
The 0-0 tie was broken by a 3-run homer by Milton Bradley in the bottom of the 8th off Brad Ziegler, who got tagged with the loss.
But let’s put this in perspective. The A’s are now 6-3 on the season. That means they are on pace to win 108 games. Wishful thinking, I know. It probably won’t happen, but losing last night is not the end of the world.
One bright spot last night was a phenominal play by Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of 7th inning. Ziegler uncorked a wild pitch far off the 1st base side of the plate, sure to slam into the backstop. With Chone Figgins on 2nd base, Kurt lunged to his left, somehow stabbed the ball out of the air, spun around and fired a rifle shot to 3rd, right on the bag.
Kevin Kouzmanoff was waiting for it and tagged the speedy Figgins out. Bob Geren said, “I don’t think there’s another catcher who makes that play. That was flat-out amazing.” .
It was the second spectacular play Kurt has made against Seattle this year. 5 days earlier in Oakland, he tracked a foul flyball to the steps of the visiting dugout and caught it as he slid down the dugout steps. “He continues to do amazing things athletically, acrobatically,” said Geren. “He’s revolutionizing that position. He’s athletic as a catcher can get. It’s really fun to watch.” The play made ESPN’s 10-best plays of the day highlight reel last night, coming in at #2! You’ll probably get to see a replay tonight during the rubber game of the series with Seattle.
So the A’s are off to a great start. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of the campaign. It is certainly a better first week of the season than we’ve seen in a long time.
Next Article: Meeting Bob Feller
Date: October 23, 2009
Lewis N Wolff, CEO
Wolff-Di Napoli Development Co.
11828 La Grange Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025-5212
RE: Some Solutions to the Woes of the Oakland Athletics
Dear Mr. Wolff,
I have been a fan of the Athletics since they moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City in 1955 when I was a child. I have a deep love for the game of baseball and the Athletics in particular. I am writing to you to urge you to use your influence to make some changes in the team and the Coliseum for the 2010 season and beyond.
As a season ticket holder, I am concerned that the attendance at the Oakland Coliseum has been declining over the last three years (along with the teams record), but it dropped precipitously during the last half of the 2009 season, when the team was playing over .500 ball. I attended several mid-week night games when there were not more than 4-5000 people in the stands. The paid attendance was always 3-4000 more than that, which says to me that the other season ticket holders stayed away in droves. This is not good for A’s or your considerable investment in the team.
I realize that low gate revenue hampers management’s efforts to make any significant moves that result in increasing the cost of running the team, but there are some things that can be done to improve the fan’s experiences which will result in increased attendance, better press coverage, increased TV advertizing revenues, and improved player morale. These things can be accomplished without large outlays of capital. Some may take some time, but others can be implemented in the 2010 season.
By far the most important change that needs to be made is to fire (or transfer) Bob Geren from the job of Field Manager. It is obvious to any of us who study the game and the A’s that he does not have a clue how to manage a team or inspire the players to play at their top potential. Contrast Bob Geren, with his reserved demeanor and flat affect, to Tony La Russa, who kept his cool but could inspire mediocre players to achieve greatness. We need a manager who can do that. Bob Geren is definitely a liability to you and the team.
You have the power to see that Bob Geren is no longer the manager of the A’s. I know that Bob and Billy Beane are best of friends, but you need to do what is best for the organization and the team, not what’s best for Beane and/or Geren. In any other franchise, three sub-.500 seasons in a row would have resulted in a management change. Please consider exerting your power as Managing Partner to make this happen. Hopefully you can get this done in 2010. If not, then please don’t exercise the club’s option for 2011.
Other things that could be done to make the fan experience more enjoyable, and which would get more people in the seats, are:
1) In these bad economic times, have some more midweek nights with reduced prices on tickets and/or food items to encourage more people to come to a game. People look for bargains when times are tough.
2) Do away with the All-You-Can-Eat seats which are rarely occupied (especially for mid-week games), take the tarp off 2 more sections (5 sections total) in the third deck behind home plate, and charge the same price or a few dollars more than bleacher seats. That would get more people in the stands. Again it’s the economy.
3) If you don’t like No. 2) (or in addition), put outfield plaza-level and field-level seats on sale for half price starting 30 minutes before game time or at game time. You’d need a little more crowd control around the box office, but it could be done without costing much. People who want to see the whole game will still buy tickets at full price, and the additional people in the stands would buy lots more food, drink and souvenirs.
4) Put some color in the bathrooms to jazz them up. They are so bland and dingy now. For example, the River Cats’ restrooms have inspiring quotes from famous players or managers stenciled above the sinks. That doesn’t sound very important but it does improve the ambience in the stadium. Some quotes from baseball and football would make sense.
The primary goal of anything you do must be to get more people to come to A’s games. Having a team on the field that is exciting to watch is the key. We have great young players and they will be much better in 2010 than they were in 2009 when they were getting their feet wet in the Majors. But to get the most out of them, we desperately need a new manager. How about Carney Lansford? He’s available, I hear. Or make Ty Waller Manager and Carney the bench coach.
Thanks for considering the points I raised. As a long-time A’s fan, I only want what is best for the team, as I am sure you do too.
Belinda Laird Hylinski
Feel free to pirate any language from the above and write your own letter to Lew. Maybe we can get this done. Go A’s!!!
I have written about this subject before: Bob Geren hasn’t a clue how to manager a team. Were you as deflated as I was when the A’s announced last week that the coaching staff for 2010 will be the same as in 2009? As I wrote in my last blog, the attendance for games other than the “Premium Games” (Giants, Red Sox, Yankees, etc.) has been dropping dramatically since July. Midweek night games drew somewhere around 7-8000 fans on average. That’s terrible.
Billy Beane won’t get rid of Geren because they are BFF’s. So we have Bob at least until the end of the 2010 season. The team has an option for 2011, which I hope they don’t exercize. Here they are, 2 smiles and what almost looks like a sneer, at the presser when they announced Jason Giambi’s signing in January.
Billy, how’d that work out for you, as Dr. Phil would ask?
I don’t fault Giambi. Geren asked him to do something he wasn’t capable of doing: playing in the field almost everyday. Jason, being a good sport, did it, but he played in pain a lot and his hitting suffered. Look what he did at Colorado after BB+G let him go (and did it badly!) where he was used largely as a pinch hitter!
So what can we do about Geren? As I have suggested before, we fans need to start a letter-writing campaign asking Lew Wolff to force Billy Beane to fire Bob Geren as manager, or at least not rehire him in 2011 . Maybe BB can give him a job in the front office, but let’s get him out of the dugout.
I tried to find an email address for Lew Wolff, and was unsuccessful. But here’s Lew Wolff’s snail mail address:
Lewis N. Wolff, CEO
Wolff-Di Napoli Development Co.
11828 La Grange Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90025-5212
Let’s flood his inbox with letters. Be respectful and don’t use profanity, threats or ad hominem attacks. Just tell him why you think Bob Geren has to go. Who knows? He might just listen to us if enough of us write. My letter will be in the mail tomorrow.
Idea! Carney Lansford is available. Maybe we could get him! Make Ty Waller the manager and Carney the bench coach for 2010! Wouldn’t that be neat? Certainly a lot better than what we had this year. Oh well, it’s wishful thinking, I’m afraid. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Upcoming Topics: “Some Last Thoughts on the 2009 Season”, “Is it Dangerous to be a Fan?” and more. Check back periodically. I won’t be blogging as often as I do during the season. I have to concentrate on the final rewrite of my novel. I plan to start looking for an agent and/or publisher after the first of the year. Wish me luck.
Ellie: Mark Ellis is on fire! What a great walk-off homer which skimmed the left field fence yesterday! He’s batting something like .460 since the All Star Break. Welcome back Ellie.
Is it just me? Or is it fun to watch the young kids play ball? Yes, it’s painful when one of the young pitchers gives up “the big inning.” but by and large the kids are playing their hearts out and it’s just plain fun to watch. The A’s will probably finish in last place, but if they can get to .500 that will be a huge victory.
Duke: Something strange is going on with Justin Duchscherer. He missed a recent rehab start in Sacramento and he was penciled in to start for the A’s on Tuesday against the Yankees. That too has been scratched. Brett Tomko, who was released by the Yankees on July 21st and has been conspicuously mediocre at Triple A Sacramento, has been called up to pitch tonight against his former team, pushing Gio Gonzales to Tuesday’s game giving him an extra day between starts.
The reason for the Duke scratchings were said to be for “non-baseball reasons.” The last time we heard that explanation, Dallas Braden’s beloved grandmother was seriously ill. If is it a reason like that, why can’t they just come out and say it was a family emergency or just say what it is?. This cloak and dagger secrecy doesn’t make the organization or Duke look particularly good.
This secrecy is not unlike when the A’s placed Jason Giambo on the DL only to find out later he went to Las Vegas to work on his hitting. Two weeks later the A’s released him. All very strange.
Geren: Has anyone else but me noticed that when Geren gets tossed from a game, the A’s come back and win the game with Ty Waller managing? That’s happened 2 out of the 3 times Geren’s been thrown out this year. Will anyone ever forget that game in Boston when he was tossed in the 3rd inning and Waller guided the A’s to a 9-8 victory in 11 innings?
Now there could be all sorts of reasons the guys get psyched up after their manager gets tossed, but one of them could be that Bob Geren is a lousy manager.
He certainly has made some bonehead decisions this year. And when asked about Giambi going on the DL or Duke being scratched, he just hems and haws, and haws and hems, as Mychael Urban so succinctly put it.
As you probably know, Geren and Billy Beane are tight, Geren having served as BB’s best man at his wedding (or was it the other way around?), so the likelhood of BB firing him is nil. But Lew Wolff as managing partner could order it done. Come on, Lew, put us out of our misery and let Geren go at the end of the season.
Geren’s track record stinks for a reason. He has no leadership skills. He can’t motivate the team. He hasn’t created a culture of success in the clubhouse or on the field. You can have the latter and still not win, but he needs to fire these guys up and expect them to win. If he would do that, they will win. His deadpan affect does not instill confidence in the players except when he argues balls and strikes and gets himself tossed, and I think it is instructive that the team wins when he is not in the dugout.
So not the A’s take on the hottest team in baseball: the Bronx Bombers. I think Brett Tomko will have his hands full, as will the other young starters, but we have beaten them bepore and can do it again. It will be fun to watch, no matter the outcome.
A Record-Breaking Comeback of Epic Proportions: Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins was one for the record books. Gio Gonzales got the first 2 outs of the game and then everything fell apart for him. I won’t go into the nasty details because they turned out to be a non-issue, except for the substantial hit Gio’s ERA took. Suffice it to say that after 2.5 innings the score was 12-2 Twins, which included Jason Kubel’s 3-run blast in the 1st, Justin Morneau’s grand slam in the 2nd, Michael Cuddyer’s solo shot right after Morneau’s grand salame, and Morneau’s 3-run encore in the top of the 3rd. After the last home run, Gio was lifted for Santiago Casilla. It looked pretty bleak at that point.
But the stars were aligned in the A’s corner for the rest of the game.
They scored 3 runs in the bottom of the third (Daric Barton’s homer plated 2 of them), 2 runs in the 4th (on Matt Holliday’s first dinger) and
7 runs in the 7th inning which included a 2 run double by Orlando Cabrera and Matt Holliday’s grand slam to tie the game at 13-13, followed by a solo
shot from Jack Cust to put the A’s ahead for good. A questionable play at the plate that was called the A’s way ended the game in
the bottom of the ninth.
To put it in perspective, there were 27 runs scored, 39 hits, 8 homers, 9 doubles, and 2 errors in the game. The A’s stroked 22 hits and had NO strikeouts! The game lasted 3 hours and 32 minutes, and the paid attendance was 10,283, a large portion of whom had left before the A’s slugfest in the 7th ining. More than one record was set in this amazing game but the best was that the ten-run deficit in the 3rd was the largest one (by 2 runs) the Oakland A’s had ever recovered from to win a ballgame.
Matt Holliday summed it up best. “We were down by 10 runs. Hey, we had nothing to lose. The guys just relaxed and had fun and didn’t quit. They kept pecking away at it and hit what was thrown to them, mostly to the opposite field.” Maybe this was a good lesson for the hitters: when they don’t press too hard and don’t try to do too much, good things happen.
When Matt Holliday hit the grand slam to tie it, Bob Geren was positively animated: he smiled weakly and faked a small fist pump. After the game when interviewed in his office, the smile was gone and he was very matter of fact and droll. Come on, guy, show some emotion. It helps pump up the team. Jeez, you’d think someone died! My husband may be on to somthing: he thinks Geren’s a robot!
Road Trip: This will probably be my last post for over a week. The A’s and I are going on the road–together! Sports Travel and Tours has put together a wonderful Hall Of Fame Induction trip. We fly to New York and go to the A’s-Yankees game Friday night in the new Yankee Stadium. The next day we motor up to Cooperstown for two days, culminating in the Induction of Rickey Henderson into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
On Monday, our bus takes us on to Boston where we watch the A’s play the Red Sox in Fenway Park that night. The next day we drive back to New York where we go to the new Citi Field to see the Mets play the Colorado Rockies. The following day we come home. Sounds pretty fabulous to me. I am really jazzed about going.
So this is all you’ll hear from me most likely until late next week, when I will report on the trip and the A’s once again. Go A’s!!!
The A’s Win a Weird One:: After an ugly loss the night before to start the 2nd half of the season, the A’s bounced back to win Friday night by a score of 7-3. But this wasn’t a typical win as there were a total of 14 walks (7 for each team), 7 stolen bases (4 by the A’s!), and 17 hits (9 by the A’s) in the game.
The A’s faced Joe Saunders who usually has the A’s number, but he has been struggling of late and that continued last night. He just didn’t look confident and gave the A’s opportunities in every inning he pitched.
Unfortunately until the 4th inning, the A’s couldn’t capitalize on those gifts. Bobby Crosby changed all that with a 3 run homer in the 4th.
The A’s never fell behind after that.
Morales’ Home Run: Three events stand out from the rest of the oddities. In the top of the 2nd inning, Kendry Morales hit a line drive to left that looked like it hit something near the fence and bounced back onto the field right to Matt Holliday. The third base umpire called it a home run. Bob Geren came out and asked for another opinion. The Umps decided to do a video review and 3 of them left the field to look at various replays of the hit. 1 umpire had to stay on the field to make sure that none of the players moved from their positions. The slo-mo replay footage that we saw in HD showed, at least to me (but not the TV broadcasters), that ithe ball hit the lens of the TV camera (over the wall) and bounced back onto the field. This was confirmed when the umpires emerged from the tunnel under the stands and the crew chief indicated a home run by twirling his upraised index finger and clearly mouthed the words: “It hit the camera.” I guess my eyesight is okay. The amazing part of the whole thing is that the camera man didn’t even flinch when the ball hit his camera!
Rajai Dekes the Angel’s Catcher: In the bottom of the 4th, Raj Davis stroked a ball into the gap off Joe Saunders and motored into 2nd base. He took his usual big lead and as Saunders began his move to the plate, Raj looked like he was going to take off for 3rd, but after a few steps he stopped. The Angels catcher, Jeff Mathis glanced at Raj and obviously thought Raj would retreat to 2nd. Instead, when Mathis softly tossed the ball back to the pitcher, Raj took off and stole 3rd cleanly. He scored on Crosby’s homer 2 batters later. What a great acting job, Raj!
Run, Raj, Run! In the bottom of the 6th, Raj Davis walked to lead off the inning. With Mark Ellis at the plate, Raj got caught a little too ffar off 1st base. But Saunders’ throw to 1st was way off target and went into right field rattling around among the chairs on the field near the Angel’s bullpen.
Raj took off and flew around the bases and beat the throw to home, putting the A’s ahead for good.
Hairston Gets Drilled a la Bobby Crosby: In the bottom of the 8th, one of Justin Speier’s sliders failed to break and hit Scott Hairston on the hand.
Oh, no, I thought. Isn’t that the same guy who broke Bobby Crosby’s hand with a similar pitch last year? Yup. I hope Scott is okay. We need him in the lineup.
In short, it was a strange game, but the result was great. As Glen Kuiper said, “This game was not a thing of beauty.”
Young Pitching: The A’s young hurlers are having some successes and failures, and some of the good things don’t show up in the win column. We have to remember they are all under the age of 25, except the “veteran” Dallas Braden, who will be 26 on August 13th. These young guys are learning how to be professional ballplayers in the major leagues, not in the minors where pitchers typically spend 4 or more years before being called up.
Brett Anderson had a terrific complete-game 2-hitter against the Red Sox in Fenway, which was electricfying to watch.
Even the Sox fans acknowledged his feat with respect. The day before, Gio Gonzalez looked great in his 5-2 victory over Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in Cleveland. But those were the only bright spots since Dallas Braden beat Justin Verlander on July 1st in Oakland.
Trevor Cahill struggled mightily in Cleveland, lasting 3.2 innings and giving up 8 runs (5 earned). In Boston, he pitched well for 5 innings, but in the 6th gave up a solo home run to J.D. Drew and a 3-run shot to David Ortiz Maybe Bob Geren needs to pull these young kids when they first get into trouble (like after Drew’s solo homer) until they get used to facing tough major league hitting. In general, I think Geren leaves pitchers in too long.
Unfortunately, Vin Mazzaro pitched too well in his first 2 starts with the A’s. His luck has turned since then.
It didn’t help that twice he had to face the Giant’s Tim Lincecum who is having another career season this year. He has taken the loss in his last 4 starts, although he pitched well in his last outing but got no run support.
I won’t even comment on the Dana Eveland loss. I think the A’s need to cast him adrift or trade him. He has shown us over the last couple of years that he can pitch well at the Triple-A level, but falls apart in the majors. He just doesn’t fool major league hitting and I think the A’s need to wake up to that fact.
I hope that Dallas Braden does well today in Tampa. We need our “veteran” Ace back.
Silent Bats: Mention must be made of the A’s lack of situational hitting. A lot of the losses might have been wins if the A’s could have driven in maybe half of the runners they had in scoring position. It often seems as if the bats don’t come alive until the 8th or 9th inning when they are in the hole, sometimes a deep one. It’s too little, too late.
Jason Giambi has been a real disappointment to the team, the fans and himself. No one wants to win more than the G man. Unfortunately, it looks as if he’s a little late when he swings at fastballs and doesn’t make contact. But he’s not the only one who strikes out or hits into double plays. It’s been happening all too often up and down the lineup. Matt Holliday certainly isn’t helping his chances of being traded to a contender. In short, the A’s just aren’t getting the key hits when they need them.
Scott Hairston: To finish on a brighter note, the aquisition of Scott Hairston was a brilliant move by Billy Beane.
We control him through 2011, and he is a terrific hitter and can handle the center field position very well. Maybe he can ignite the lineup and they can score more runs to help out the young pitching staff. Time will tell. I haven’t given up on the A’s yet. I just hope they don’t finish in the cellar.
I Can Post Articles on My Blog Again! My last blog post was on June 16th. The next day Comcast hooked up the last leg of my Triple Play package, and I dutifully logged in to mlblogs.com, went to “My Profile” and followed the instructions for changing my email address. I blythely hit the “Submit” button. I’m not much of a techie so I felt a real sense of accomplishment.
A couple of days later, I decided to post a new article on my blog and logged in using my new email and password. Up came an error message that stated in angry red: “Authentication Error: Email and/or password invalid. Try again.” Hmm. Maybe the change didn’t go through, so I tried to log in using my old email address and password. Same result. I tried other email and password combinations to no avail. Oh no, I couldn’t log in. Disaster! I can’t post any more articles?
I quickly emailed mlblogs.com and explained my plight. To make a long story short, after 3+ weeks of emails and phone calls back and forth to 4 or 5 different people, most of whom kept telling me to log in using the old email address (which I kept telling them I couldn’t do), I found Jacob Wilson who understood what happened. Bless his heart, he imported my blog with all prior articles, comments and photos into my new email account. So I am back and writing again on all things A’s.
The A’s Team We Were Hoping Has Finally Showed Up! Wow, the A’s won a series, and against the Tigers, the AL Central’s leading team. Yahoo!! I attended Monday night’s 7-1 victory in which Brett Anderson pitched scoreless ball into the 6th inning, when he walked two.
The usually-reliable Michael Wuertz came in and gave up a double to Gerald Laird to score one of those walks, marring Brett’s great outing. The A’s bats came alive in the 4th inning when Matt Holliday singled and Jason Giambi walked. Kurt Suzuki doubled in Holliday and Ryan Sweeney singled in the G man, giving the A’s the lead for good. The guys added on the rest of the runs in the 5th and the 6th inning, highlighted by Mark Ellis’ first homer of the year, a two-run blast, and another two runs on Sweeney’s 3rd of the season.
Small ball added the last run in the 8th.
Yesterday produced a 5-1 win to give the A’s the series win over Detroit. Highlights included Dallas Braden
pitching 7 innings of 5-hit, 1-run ball,
followed by 2 shutout innings from Brad Ziegler who now has the set-up role,
and Andrew “Daily” Bailey, the team”s closer to everyone but Manager Bob Geren.
The day’s offensive fireworks came on 2 homers from Jack Cust (14)
and Jason Giambi (11)
scoring 4 runs between them. Detroit’s only run came in the top of the 2nd on a double from Gerald Laird, driving in Ryan Raburn who had singled.
I like this team. I hope they continue to show up. Maybe the much-hoped-for warm weather has finally arrived.