As the A’s fans whirled themselves into a fit over the last few days as the A’s lost 2 straight for the 1st time since June, the importance of tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays increased exponentially. If the A’s came out and laid an egg and fell into a 3 game losing streak the panic meter would have gone from “worried” to “panic” in an instant. But they didn’t do that, Bartolo Colon shut out the Blue Jays for 8 very efficient innings, and Josh Reddick found his stroke again to fuel the offense. Through the first 2 innings this game had the makings of a strong pitchers duel between Colon and Henderson Alvarez with minimal threats to score. Having broken his career high 0-21 hitless streak in the first with a single, Josh Reddick came up with Seth Smith on base after his RBI single and put a charge into a 1-0 fastball and sent a souvenir to his “People” in the right field bleachers. This amounted to a major offensive outburst compared to the last couple games against the Tampa Bay Rays, and the A’s staff was going to make sure that lead stood up.
Bartolo Colon was the story tonight on the mound, proving just how important it can be to have a seasoned veteran starter like himself in a rotation filled with so many young arms. Bartolo as always was calm, cool, and collected as he bobbed and weaved around 7 hits and a walk in his 8 innings of work. Sean Doolittle came in to seal up the victory, but got himself into a big of trouble by giving up a couple base hits. Ryan Cook bailed Doolittle out while allowing 1 inherited runner to score, but limiting the damage and finishing the game for the A’s for his 11th save.
While it was great to see the A’s grab game 1 of this 4 game set, many fans have had their eyes glued on tomorrows game with the highly anticipated Major League debut of pitcher Dan Straily. Incase you’ve been hiding under a rock for the majority of the 2012 season, Straily is the ultimate breakout stud prospect for the A’s this year as he’s dominated at two minor league levels so far. The stat that immediately jumps out at you is his strikeouts. Amazingly enough Straily leads all levels of baseball in strikeouts in 2012, let me repeat that… Straily leads ALL LEVELS OF BASEBALL IN STRIKEOUTS. His video game like 175 K’s in 138.1 innings and he boasts a huge 4.73 K/BB ratio and an 11.4 K/9. On top of the strikeouts though Straily has translated that to success with a 2.60 ERA and a FIP of 2.57 in Double A and 2.20 in Triple A indicates his performance is for real. There’s no doubt that Straily has blossomed into a potential impact starting pitcher this year. Straily represents the first of a series of reinforcements that will be coming in the near future from Sacramento, and perhaps the most exciting of all of them.
Dan Straily will draw the bespectacled lefty Brett Cecil (2-4, 5.56 ERA) in his debut. The A’s meanwhile moved back into 2nd place with the Angels slugfest loss in Arlington tonight and remain 4.5 games behind Texas, and back in the 1st wild card spot. Hopefully the Royals play over their heads against the Rangers and the White Sox can put some runs on the board (YES!) against the Halos while Dan Straily introduces himself to the baseball world in a grand scale in front of a packed fireworks night crowd. Tomorrow night has great potential to be a big night for the A’s, and hopefully they make another statement to stake their claim to a playoff spot.