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The Fastest Fast
2006-09-13 12:51
by Ken Arneson

My Dan Haren fast ended as soon as it began. Haren threw eight shutout innings, and Huston Street closed out a 1-0 victory over the Twins in the Hubert H. Humphrey House of Horrors.

Even though the A's had held a lead in all six games between the two teams in Minnesota this year, it was the first time the A's had held on to win.

Now that Haren's fixed, I'm not sure whom I should fast next. My first thought was Dan Johnson, but then I view the fasting as wanting to see players perform the way they're capable of performing, and I'm not sure Johnson is really capable of performing better. I think he might just be your prototypical AAAA player, and what we're seeing is what we should expect. Maybe Zito or Blanton needs to get snapped back into shape, instead. I'll think about it.

2006-09-13 13:21:15
1.   ToyCannon
Please pick Blanton:)
2006-09-13 13:38:04
2.   rabid stan
Pitchers don't have many starts left in the season.

You've already fasted Blanton, so if it's one of the two, try Zito.

Why not fast until he goes five innings without walking anyone?

2006-09-13 14:02:08
3.   For The Turnstiles
Will your fast extend into the post-season? (should the A's make it there, baseball gods willing)
2006-09-13 14:10:50
4.   Ken Arneson
If they make the postseason, I might be so nervous about the bonehead mistake to come that I'd fast the whole team.
2006-09-13 14:50:35
5.   Philip Michaels
I've decided to begin a permanent Blanton Fast myself. I just cannot stand watching him pitch any more.

Oh, if only I was a writer at an A's-themed blog where I could express such a sentiment in longer format!

2006-09-13 15:13:16
6.   rabid stan
5 The formula "I just can't (watch/stand/listen to/read) so-and-so anymore" seems to be what a third of the things I read on blogs boil down to.

And yet, the posts keep coming.

2006-09-13 15:42:00
7.   Ken Arneson
Well, here's my dilemma: I have tickets to Blanton's next start. Should I pay good money not to watch half the game?

Another dilemma: if I start a Zito fast, I may never watch another start of his in an A's uniform. I don't want that, either.

2006-09-13 15:56:41
8.   For The Turnstiles
7 Just before the game starts, go to one of the popular concession stands (e.g. the Biersch/garlic fries one). Your wait could easily be 8 1/2 innings, and the TV monitor there will inevitably be broken. Problem solved.
2006-09-13 15:59:18
9.   For The Turnstiles
On second thought, it occurs to me that your wait only has to be as long as Blanton lasts in the game. So the plan is starting to seem realistic.
2006-09-13 16:26:01
10.   Ken Arneson
9 Yeah, that might work, but I don't think I'd want to spend $24 for my seat just to do that. I could get the same effect with a $9 bleacher seat. I would have $15 in sunk costs.
2006-09-13 16:26:49
11.   Ken Arneson
Oops, I forgot, the seats are $26 this year. Even worse.
2006-09-13 16:28:46
12.   Ken Arneson
Maybe Milton Bradley needs some extra base power. Walks and singles...he needs to do better than that.
2006-09-13 19:20:38
13.   BigShmirdawg
Well Ken, that worked out beautifully. I'm glad I brought that up after the last fast. So, I'm thinking a Barry Zito fast, especially at home, or maybe one of the hitters (DJ or Chavez).
2006-09-13 23:47:43
14.   scarface
Awesome, Ken, loving these fasts!

Well, fast Zito, but tape the game :) Watch it if only if the fast works.

There are no other great needs really, than those you've mentioned or fasted - except for Harden to come back injury free. Dunno how you can turn that into a fast.

BTW, I haven't heard anything about the existence of a backup catcher in a while - maybe I just missed all his ABs's so bad that I'm not even sure it's still Melhuse - maybe he got shipped out when I was not looking. Anyone seen him play?

2006-09-14 07:46:57
15.   Ken Arneson
14 Last game I saw Melhuse in was the same game as the Jeremy Brown game. Melhuse came in at catcher for Kendall, and Brown took an AB from Frank Thomas at DH.

I have until tomorrow to decide on my next fast. I was thinking about Johnson again, and realized the reason we're seeing Johnson play at all is that Kotsay is missing. If Kotsay is healthy, he's in center, Payton's in left, Swisher's at first, and Johnson's on the bench. The A's need Kotsay back. But that's kinda like needing Harden back; how do you turn that into a fast?
I'm still thinking about Bradley. He's getting on base just fine, but he's only had one extra-base hit in two weeks. I don't know that a .370 OBP is anything to complain about, especially when he's batting in front of Frank Thomas, but I kinda expected a better SLG than .431. Then again, maybe I should leave well enough alone.

I'm not sure Zito needs fixing, either. He had that one bad game against Texas, but the only thing that really bothered me from the following game against Tampa Bay was the 0-2 fastball he threw to Jorge Cantu in the fifth that plated two runs. He missed location badly there--a better pitch, and it's a typical 6-inning, 2-run performance.

2006-09-14 10:43:08
16.   ToyCannon
Milton's career slug% is 426 so he's right in line with what you should expect.
2006-09-14 14:04:15
17.   Ken Arneson
16 Good point. In my mind it was/should be higher, (he's slugged .500 before), as I've always categorized him as a second-tier slugger-type like Miguel Tejada, but perhaps that's not what he is. Maybe he's just a singles/walks leadoff-type hitter with the occasional homer, more like Johnny Damon, where the power tends to fluctuate from year to year.
2006-09-14 15:07:44
18.   scarface
This discussion now has me very worried about the A's health and depth. With the Chron reporting that Crosby's likely done for the year, we are stretched THIN, and have been for a while - no serviceable replacements at ANY position except catcher and 1B (from the original roster). I guess some of the September callups will need to earn their pay soon.
2006-09-14 15:44:25
19.   Ken Arneson
Yeah, without Crosby, the A's can't afford any more injuries to the infield. Chavez, Scutaro and Ellis have to play every day; Perez has turned into a complete pumpkin at the plate.

I'm pretty confident Kotsay will be back; when his is the OF/1B depth is OK when Kielty and Johnson are backups.

I like Melhuse as the backup catcher, but he plays so little, it's hard to imagine him being able to produce in an emergency. You'd think he'd need some consistent ABs before he'd do any damage.

2006-09-14 15:45:24
20.   Ken Arneson
19 should be "when he is," not "when his is".

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