Why why why did Ken Macha take out Kirk Saarloos from Tuesday's game? It makes no sense:
He had only thrown 89 pitches in six innings.
The umpire, Larry Vanover, was giving Saarloos a dream strike zone.
Saarloos is a sinker ball pitcher; he wants his pitches down. To beat him, you have to make him throw the ball up in the zone, where he is quite hittable. A low strike zone helps him a lot, a high strike zone is trouble.
Vanover was calling pitches six inches off the ground strikes. Cleveland manager Eric Wedge got himself ejected complaining about it. Rightfully so.
The umpire was giving the A's a huge advantage. Saarloos could just keep throwing the ball right at the hitters shoetops, and they'd either swing over it, pound it in the ground, or take it for a strike.
Ken Macha took that advantage out of the game, at least one full inning before he really needed to. Witasick came in (these days, he's starting to give me the heebie-jeebies every time I see him warm up), and the game fell apart immediately. Boom, boom, 5-2 loss.
Unless Saarloos was hurt or something, I don't get it. At all.
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I figure the wild card is pretty much out of reach now. The wild card will go to the Indians or Yankees. If the A's somehow play well enough to pass both those teams, they'll play well enough to pass the Angels, too. The A's playoff hopes are all about the division title now.
Miraculously, the Angels lost again tonight. I was monitoring the game on my computer until the Angels loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth, tied 1-1. At that point, I gave up and went and did something else. Somehow, though, Seattle escaped that jam, and scored in the bottom half of the inning to win the game.
Whew! The A's are still a game out.
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The AL West pennant race seems pretty exciting to me, but obviously, it lacks the quality of the AL East. We're second-class citizens out here, so we make do with what we have.