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Game 7 Summary: Oh, What a Relief It Is
2007-04-08 22:59
by Philip Michaels

I spent the day out at my parents' back 40 in Danville, where Fox Sports Bay Area Plus is but a rumor. This is either because my dad cheaps out on things or because Comcast's basic tier offerings are wanting -- having seen evidence of both the former and latter, I'm inclined to say it's a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

Ah, but your correspondent did not spend the day in a cone of silence. Rather, I made periodic trips outside, much like a common hobo, to listen to the game on the radio. It is these sorts of sacrifices that have made me the 45th most popular A's blogger on the Internet. Watch your back, unattributed wire copy -- I'm gunning for you!

A's 2, Angels 1

Your Pitchers of Record: WP -- J. Blanton (1-0) LP -- K. Escobar (1-1) S -- Street (2)

Went Deep: In a trend that partisans of either team could find alarming, nobody.

Your Cameron Hughes Lot 27 Syrah Star of the Game: Could have been any member of the law offices of Embree, Calero, Duchscherer & Street, who combined to hold the Angels to one baserunner -- on a piddly little infield hit, mind you -- in 3 2/3 innings of relief work. This is how teams with less-than-robust offenses steal games from their betters.

In the end, the Star of the Game Panel casts its lot with Kiko Calero, who not only had to overcome the burden of two gruesome outings, but also had the task of facing the top of the Los Angeles of Anaheim lineup, including Athletic-killer Vladimir Guerrero. Mr. Calero's results: strikeout swinging, strikeout swinging, pop out. Welcome back, sir.

The Star of the Game Panel is as alarmed as the rest of you that four of the first seven Star of the Game honors have been sponsored by makers of frou-frou wines. We vow to either drink a wider variety of beverages in the coming week or, at the very least, a cheaper class of plonk.

The Turning Point: And here is where the limitations of periodically checking in via the radio come to the fore. Between fielding questions designed to register my parents' ongoing disappointment with my life choices and showering my nephews and niece with just enough attention so that any appearance I might make in a future memoir will be a positive one ("Easter 2007: Uncle Phil spends most of the afternoon in his Subaru, listening to the radio and muttering darkly about Jason Kendall; it is then that I resolve to violently overthrow the U.S. government."), I didn't really get a good feel for the narrative flow of the game. Oh, I can give you the broad details and perhaps even a particular here and there. But as to the play that the game turned on? I'm just guessing.

So in that spirit, I'm going to pick the moment when Bob Geren decided that enough was enough and signaled for Alan Embree to replace Joe Blanton with one out in the sixth and runners on second and third. These days, most of a manager's in-game decisions are so obvious that anyone with a passing familiarity with Weaver on Strategy can probably tell you when to bunt or hit-and-run or pinch hit; handling pitching changes is where skippers can really differentiate themselves. And, after a week's worth of games anyhow, Bob Geren seems to be willing to trust his bullpen to bring the win home. It didn't work out so well last Tuesday in Seattle, but it paid off handsomely on Sunday.

But I could well be wrong about Sunday's turning point. Over at 6-4-2, Rob seems to suggest that the game hinged on the Angels' magnanimous decision to swing and miss early often, and I'm not in a position to dispute that.

Phil's Not-So-Phun Phacts: By my count, the A's grounded into seven double plays in four games against the Angels. This how teams with less-than-robust offenses... stay less than robust.

Up until Ken Korach mentioned it on the pregame show, I had no idea Joe Blanton had never recorded a win against the Angels in his 10 previous appearances against our hated SoCal rivals. And it's not like Blanton has been slapped around by the Halos -- his ERA against L.A. Jr. was 3.something or other headed into this game.

All in All: The A's got a split against the Angels, which is never anything to sneeze at, even as my seasonal allergies kick in. And with the team headed back to Oakland for the first homestand of the year, who knows? Maybe I'll actually get to watch an inning or two in real time at some point during the next week.

2007-04-09 08:15:13
1.   scareduck
The Angels didn't doom themselves so much by striking out "early and often" as "late and consistently". It's been a while since I've seen an Angels team swish quite so much.
2007-04-09 08:22:53
2.   Fan in the City
A split in the South is just fine by me. Play .500 on the road, and win most series at home...that's all that's needed. The only problem is that I was going to "just enjoy the game" this year and not obsess on stats and standings. That lasted until game 2.

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