That this game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Los Angeles near Anaheim and not far from Santa Barbara but not near San Diego (I think that’s what we’re supposed to call them now) wasn’t a 10+ run blowout is a miracle. The Athletics gave the Angels every possible chance to score big and score often with Josh Donaldson, leading All-Star candidate for third base, committing three fielding errors and Jesse Chavez hitting two batters and that says nothing of the .129 team batting average for the night.
If it seems that the A’s follow huge victories with a series of low scoring games, it’s because they do. After scoring 9 and 12 runs against the Rangers in April, they only grabbed 18 runs in the next seven games. An 11-0 shutout of the White Sox in May was followed by two runs and a 13 run game against Cleveland was followed by another 13 runs over the course of six games. That’s not to say that they’re not winning or outscoring their opponents and it doesn’t happen every time they have a blowout but it happens enough for a pattern to be recognized. Often, after huge victories, the A’s bats dry up.
Then there are the errors. I’m not going to put all the blame on Donaldson, although he deserves a great deal of it, because the final error was catchable, at least from the angle shown on television, and I think platooning the infield so much, particularly Alberto Callaspo at first, can lend itself to a few more errors over the course of the season. If Moss catches that ball nine out of ten times, Donaldson is going to through it with the assumption that it will be caught. Swap out the player and the rhythm is gone. These guys are pros so it is rare that you’ll see it happen thrice in one game (did I just use thrice?) but over the course of the season I believe it will skew the E column in a negative way.
There were some good things to take away from this game, mostly in the outfield, with Crisp making a great catch robbing the Angels of extra bases and runs and Moss showing that it’s not only Reddick that you shouldn’t run on by throwing out runner at third base.
Is it possible, and I look forward to the name-calling and ridicule I’ll get in the comments, that the constant press and attention by the media surrounding the A’s this weekend has put a crack in the armor? With so much attention being paid to the “Manny situation” and to all-star votes and to Ernesto Frieri‘s comments that the A’s were just lucky there may have been some distractions mentally. You can say that these guys are pros and that they can’t think that way but they are human and if reporters are flooding you with questions and demanding your opinion on these topics you can very easily be distracted. These distractions can help explain hitting batters, playing catch with the opposing team’s bench coach and chasing a bunt only to fumble it and allow a hit. I don’t think it explains the poor hitting which can be attributed to good pitching and a strike zone that was never the same twice but for the fielding problems, a good regrouping and meditation might be in order.
I’m driving to L.A. of Anaheim tomorrow to watch my first A’s away game. I hope they’ve shaken Baltimore and today’s game out of their heads and come with their A game. If we take the series, we’ll still come out a game better than when we started and we can show Frieri that A’s luck is denied grand slams and bogus strike outs and childish temper tantrums from opponents and closers with the yips and injuries to our strongest players. A’s luck is kind of crappy. What you see in every victory isn’t luck, it’s “green collar baseball” plain and simple.
Let’s finish this series on a high point, boys.