It's a pretty sad state of affairs when you're watching your team play against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and you suddenly realize that the Rays might have the better team. That probably wouldn't be the case if the A's were healthy. But here we are.
The A's pitch better, the Rays hit better. Not much news there.
The Defensive Efficiency Ratio says that the A's play slightly better defense than the Rays. If I hadn't looked it up I would never have believed it. The A's have made a ton of errors lately (22 in the last 19 games), including a 7th-inning error on Kirk Saarloos (he missed the bag on a 3-1 putout...which is about the third time in recent weeks this has happened...why do the A's keep having a problem stepping on the base/plate...the game is called baseball...it should be the first skill you learn...but I digress...back to the sentence...), which turned out to be the eventual winning run. Meanwhile, the Rays made numerous excellent defensive plays that killed a couple of A's rallies.
The Rays, though lacking talent, played sharply. The A's had more talent, but played uninspired and sloppy ball. Today Saarloos was the worst offender. In addition to his error, he also botched a rundown--choosing to throw to first on a comebacker when he had a runner on second hung out to dry. But he hasn't been the only one making mental blunders. There seem to be several such mistakes every day. It's a team-wide epidemic of concentration lapses.
I don't know how you fix a team that has seemingly ceased to take its concentration pills (that's a joke, not an accusation), other than to make somebody lose their job.
Scott Hatteberg homered tonight, his third of the year. Despite that, I still think Dan Johnson should be here and taking some of Hatteberg's and Erubiel Durazo's at-bats. Durazo looked horrible at the plate today. Go make him earn his plate appearances, and write his name into the lineup. Free Dan Johnson!
Meanwhile, Nick Swisher's rehab has been going gangbusters in Sacramento (.400/.455/.550 in 20ABs). Bobby Crosby's rehab in Stockton is a few days behind Swisher's, but he is 2-for-6 so far. A change is a-comin'.