Sounds the alarms, alert the media, silence the haters! The Oakland Athletics have officially made 2012 their first winning season since 2006. In taking the 3rd game of this 4 game series against the Los Angeles Angels the A’s moved their record to 82-60, making a worst case catastrophe scenario sitting at 82-80. It’s quite a feeling to know that the A’s have reached this milestone, but it’s not anything but a stepping stone.
Tonight the story revolved around A.J. Griffin. In his brief MLB career he has been nothing but phenomenal, and tonight he had his best outing thus far. The A’s have relied upon a number of rookie pitchers to get to the point they have reached, and that won’t change from now on. Griffin worked through 8 dominant innings tonight on 107 pitches, he scattered 6 hits, struck out 6, and didn’t walk a single Angel. With his victory Griffin is now an astounding 6-0 with an ERA of 1.94. His 6-0 start is the best in Oakland history, and the best in franchise history since 1927. No big deal.
Meanwhile the A’s didn’t swing the bats wonderfully tonight, but it was enough to put some runs on the board. Yoenis Cespedes started off the scoring in the top of the 1st when a would-be inning ending groundball turned into a run scoring error by Erick Aybar that drove in Josh Reddick who had doubled. Cespedes would follow up with a no doubt home run in the 6th inning, his 18th of the year and his second game in a row with a home run. If Cespedes is beginning to heat up, he is more than capable of putting this team on his back and carrying them through September.
Derek Norris came through in the 8th inning with a 1 out RBI double, and Coco Crisp added an RBI single to give the A’s a 4-0 lead. Those 2 extra runs would be important in that they made Albert Pujols solo home run against Sean Doolittle in the 9th inning fairly meaningless. Had those two runs not been scored the game would have been much more in doubt in the 9th. Doolittle would get himself in a little more trouble, requiring a bailout from Ryan Cook who would earn the 1 out save for his 14th of the season.
Going into this series the hope was that the A’s could atleast escape Anaheim with a split, that would make sure no harm was done, but now they have guaranteed themselves a series victory and can go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon. That will be no easy task as Angels ace Jered Weaver (16-4, 2.86 ERA) will take the mound as he returns from some bicep and shoulder soreness that caused him to miss a start. The A’s can hope to take advantage of perhaps a small amount of rust from Weaver, if they can attack him early before he gets his rhythm back they have a chance to beat him. Brett Anderson (4-0, 0.69 ERA) will try to best Weaver as the A’s seek the sweep.
Oh, by the way, in a shocking turn of events the Rangers and Orioles both won… so the standings stay the same… again. Perhaps in this case the A’s need to take the approach that if you want something done right you’ll have to do it yourself.