Baseball Toaster Catfish Stew
Monthly archives: September 2004


Western Shootout
2004-09-13 11:13
by Ken Arneson

No more games outside the division. All four AL West teams in a locked room with loaded weapons. In the end, only one survivor.

First up for Oakland: the Texas Rangers. Pitching matchups:

Monday, 7pm (FSN). Juan Dominguez (1-2, 4.24) vs. Tim Hudson (11-5, 3.30).
Tuesday, 7pm (KICU). John Wasdin (2-4, 6.31) vs. Mark Redman (10-11, 4.67).
Wednesday, 7pm (FSN). Ryan Drese (12-8, 3.75) vs. Mark Mulder (17-4, 3.90).
Thursday, 12:35pm (No TV). Kenny Rogers (16-7. 4.60) vs. Rich Harden (9-6, 4.05).

Hudson and Redman flip-flopped in the rotation after Thursday's day off.

2004-09-09 08:21
by Ken Arneson

Mark is lucky he's on his honeymoon right now, because I'm sure he wouldn't enjoy writing about this past Boston series here on his blog.

So the dirty work is left to the me, his sub. But I pretty much gave my opinion about the Red Sox series over on Will's blog after Monday's game. Not much has changed since then, so I'll leave it at that.

I must say, though, that the Red Sox fans seemed much more well-behaved last night than in the past. Perhaps it's because they sense that this time, they actually do have a good team, and they don't need the false bravado. Perhaps if they win the World Series, they'll stop being obnoxious altogether.

It's a nice theory, but like most nice theories, it probably won't hold water in the real world.

Fortunately, Anaheim lost last night, so the A's remain 1 1/2 games up. Cleveland is next:

Friday, 7pm (KICU): Scott Elarton (3-10, 6.52) vs. Mark Mulder (17-4, 3.90)
Saturday, 1pm (FSN): C.C. Sabathia (11-9, 3.98) vs. Rich Harden (9-6, 3.98)
Sunday, 5pm (ESPN2): Jake Westbrook (12-7, 3.37) vs. Barry Zito (10-10, 4.62)

2004-09-06 14:31
by Ken Arneson

The A's missed their wakeup call yesterday, and got blasted by Toronto 13-5. The first evidence of their drowsiness came on the first batter of the bottom of the first. On two pitches, the A's made three mistakes. First Eric Chavez dropped a routine foul pop up. Next pitch, Scott Hatteberg bobbled a routine grounder, and when he scrambled to recover, he found Rich Harden had stopped running towards first base. Things didn't get much better after that. Chalk it up as a bad dream, and move on.

The A's went 4-2 on the road trip, acceptable, but not great. Now they return home to face Boston:

Monday, 7pm (FSN) Bronson Arroyo (7-9, 4.24) vs. Barry Zito (10-9, 4.58).
Tuesday, 7pm (KICU) Derek Lowe (13-10, 5.15) vs. Mark Redman (10-10, 4.50).
Wednesday, 7pm (FSN) Pedro Martinez (15-5, 3.55) vs. Tim Hudson (11-4, 2.95).

The Red Sox are Red Hot, and their diaspora that shows up in Oakland these next few days are likely to be particularly obnoxious about it. I had planned to skip attending the series, but the Wednesday matchup is too good to miss, so I'll be there.

Totally Intact
2004-09-04 17:43
by Ken Arneson

There's a Monty Python episode where our hero, Mr. Pither, ends up blindfolded and placed in front of a firing squad, who stand about 10 feet away.

Cut to shot of officer with his hand raised, without Pither in shot. Drum rolls. He brings his sword down. Volley of shots from the firing squad. The officer is looking in Pither's direction. Long pause.

Officer (to soldiers): How could you miss?

Our heroes, the A's, were rather like Mr. Pither today. They bungled themselves into facing a firing squad with baserunning and fielding gaffes all over the place, trailing 5-2 going into the eighth, and 5-4 going into the ninth.

But somehow the Jays missed, and giving the A's a victory with a bunch of wild pitches, poor defense, and weird baserunning themselves, including Carlos Delgado stealing one of the A's silly jokes by sliding into home plate, missing it, and getting tagged out.

As Mr. Pither says, "What a stroke of luck. My Crunchie was totally intact."

Dye Cleanup, Swisher Walks
2004-09-03 16:47
by Ken Arneson

What the @&*$^&*#*&^% is Ken Macha thinking? Jermaine Dye is batting cleanup, and he has a broken thumb! Bat him ninth, for chrissakes.

Bases loaded, 0 outs in the third, Dye whiffs on three fastballs.


Meanwhile, Nick Swisher has made his major league debut. Naturally, he walked in his first plate appearance.

UPDATE: Swisher doubled in his second PA, for his first major-league hit.

UPDATE #2: Holy Toledo, Dye popped out trying to bunt in the 4th with two outs and runners on first and third. Dude, if you can't play, don't play.

Invade Canada
2004-09-02 21:58
by Ken Arneson

The A's were just a few seeing-eye singles away from sweeping the White Sox. But two out of three ain't bad, especially when the Angels are getting swept by the Other Sox. Now the A's head into Toronto up by 4 games over Anaheim, and 5 1/2 over Texas.

But there's still no room to let up. Pitching matchups this weekend:

Friday, 4:05 pm (no TV) Tim Hudson (10-4, 2.84) vs. Ted Lilly (9-9, 3.93)
Saturday, 1:05 pm (FSN) Mark Mulder (17-4, 3.79) vs. Miguel Batista (10-10, 4.46)
Sunday, 10:05 am (FSN) Rich Harden (9-5, 3.69) vs. R. Glynn (0-0, N/A)

The A's have their three best pitchers going, but playing on that old, bouncy artificial turf scares me. You never know what kind of weirdness will happen on that stuff, especially since Hudson and Mulder are ground ball pitchers. Perhaps I shouldn't watch; I never really enjoy watching the pseudo-baseball that gets played on rugs, anyway.

Meanwhile, news has come out that Jermaine Dye has a weird kind of thumb fracture, called an avulsion fracture, in which a ligament pulls away a small piece of bone. He'll have to play hurt, because it will take a couple of months to heal.

Billy McMillon has hit well in Dye's absence, but watching the last few games, it's clear the outfield defense has suffered quite a bit. Chicago took several extra bases that probably wouldn't have happened with Dye in right. Some suggest calling up Nick Swisher, but using a strikeout-prone rookie in a pennant race has some obvious drawbacks, too.

Losing Dye's right-handed bat tilts the A's lineup strongly towards the left-handed batters box. In the A.L. playoffs such a tilt won't really hurt much, except against the Twins. The Yankees and Red Sox have no lefty starters, and no particularly scary lefties in the pen, either. And the Angels don't even have any lefties on their entire staff. But the Twins will throw Johan Santana out there twice, and can bring in J.C. Romero out of the pen. Bobby Kielty (.245/.328/.472 against lefties) would probably start against Santana, and Kielty is 2-for-5 with a homer off him this year, but I still don't have much faith in Kielty these days, even batting right-handed. It sounds crazy, but with Dye out (or ineffective), I think I'd almost rather face the Red Sox or Yankees in the first round than Minnesota.

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