It was a pretty bleak evening in Oakland last night. The A's were playing severely short-handed: Yabu pitched a couple innings the night before, Bobby Kielty and Justin Duchscherer were unavailable with minor injuries, and Octavio Dotel was on his way to see Dr. Yocum about his elbow (yuck). All of which contributed to the A's eighth-inning collapse, where Juan Cruz ran out of gas, and Eric Byrnes made another costly outfield blunder. It's unlikely either would have been in there if the A's were playing with a full roster.
So the loss was annoying, but understandable. I was mad at Byrnes and Hatteberg for their errors, but I figure those guys are lame ducks at this point, so my anger didn't really linger very long. I'm still feeling oddly optimistic.
The biggest source of A's optimism last night didn't come out of Oakland. Dallas Braden made his AA debut last night for Midland, and was quite successful:
IP H R ER BB K
6.2 7 0 0 2 5
Braden had brilliant numbers at Single A Stockton (2.68 ERA, 64K, 11BB in 43 2/3IP), but you have to view it with some skepticism because he's a soft-tosser. Sometimes the slow stuff will work at lower levels, but gets clobbered further up the ladder. So tossing a shutout in his first AA game is a very good sign.