I think if you boiled baseball games down to a few basic plot formulas, Thursday's nice A's-O's game could be a prototype for the pitcher's duel, ruined by generous bullpen plot.
This plot was the A's basic winning M.O. from 2000-2003; the starters would keep the game close until the A's could beat up on their opponents mediocre middle relief.
Last year, the A's used this plot quite often, as well, but they played the opposite role. Time after time in 2004, the A's starters would seven innings, then hand over a tie game or a small lead to the bullpen, usually with disastrous results.
In the third game of 2005, it looks like the A's might be getting back to playing the good guys again. The A's just hung around patiently, not making mistakes, until they could get to the Orioles' bullpen. The O's pen, assisted by some shoddy defense, then proceeded to give a tense pitching duel between Dan Haren and Eric Bedard an anticlimactic ending.
Bedard was one of the players involved in the Hudson-Mulder rumors, and I can see why Beane was asking for him. He seemed very much like a left-handed Dan Haren. Both pitchers are young, throw hard, and have impressive breaking pitches, too.
Thursday night, both pitchers seemed to be relying more on raw talent than on pitching craftsmanship. Both fell behind in the count quite often, but their stuff was so good that their opponents couldn't hit the ball hard off them, even if they had a pretty good idea what was coming. We entered the 8th inning, tied 1-1.
At this point, the A's didn't so much win the game as the Orioles lost it. Steve Kline came in and walked Marco Scutaro to lead off the inning. Then Mark Kotsay bunted to the pitcher. The pitcher fielded it, and threw it towards the second baseman covering first. But oddly, the charging first baseman cut off the throw, and everyone was safe.
Eric Byrnes then tried to lay down a bunt, which went just foul. Figuring Byrnes was going to bunt again, Kline threw a high fastball, probably hoping that Byrnes would pop up the bunt. Instead, Byrnes swung away. The Kline pitch may have been hard to bunt, but it was perfect for Byrnes to swing at, and he crushed it beyond the centerfield fence for a three-run homer.
Kiko Calero came in for the last two innings and kept the tension low for the rest of the evening. A happy ending if you're an A's fan, but if you want an exciting ending to a well-played ballgame, you'll need to look elsewhere.