Baseball Toaster Catfish Stew
STOP CASTING POROSITY! An Oakland Athletics blog.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Catfish Stew

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  01 

12  09  08  01 

12  11  10  09  08 
Email Us

Ken: catfish AT zombia d.o.t. com
Ryan: rarmbrust AT gmail d.o.t. com
Philip: kingchimp AT alamedanet d.o.t net

Ken's Greatest Hits
28 Aug 2003
12 Jan 2004
31 May 2005
11 May 2005
29 Jun 2005
8 Jun 2005
19 Jul 2005
11 Aug 2005
7 Sep 2005
20 Sep 2005
22 Sep 2005
26 Sep 2005
28 Sep 2005
29 Sep 2005
18 Oct 2005
9 Nov 2005
15 Nov 2005
20 Nov 2005

13 Dec 2005
19 Jan 2006
28 Jan 2006
21 Feb 2006
10 Apr 2006
16 Apr 2006
22 Apr 2006
7 May 2006
25 May 2006
31 May 2006
18 Jun 2006
22 Jun 2006
6 Jul 2006
17 Jul 2006
13 Aug 2006
15 Aug 2006
16 Aug 2006
20 Aug 2006
11 Oct 2006
31 Oct 2006
29 Dec 2006
4 Jan 2006
12 Jan 2006
27 Jan 2007
17 Feb 2007
30 Apr 2007
27 Aug 2007
5 Sep 2007
19 Oct 2007
23 Nov 2007
5 Jan 2008
16 Jan 2008
4 Feb 2008
7 May 2008
20 Jun 2008
4 Feb 2008
Game 8 Summary: Home Sour Home
2007-04-10 19:08
by Philip Michaels

Man. I wish I could be in San Diego on spring break so that I could miss games like Monday night's drubbing at the hands of Chicago. Hell, a few more games like that, and I might wish I was in National City on spring break.

White Sox 4, A's 1

Your Pitchers of Record: WP -- Contreras (1-1) LP -- Harden (1-1)

Went Deep: Thome (2), Podsednik (1). I'm sure an Oakland player probably hit one out in BP.

Your Louis Jadot Beaujolais Star of the Game: Jim Thome. There might be an outcry for Scott Podsednik to win this, given his uncharacteristic offensive output. But it's Thome who came up with the crushing blow to tie the game in fourth, and the RBI single to put the game out of reach at 3-1. You know the old saying: "If the A's are down by two/chances are your game is through."

The Turning Point: Two moments, one following right after the other, stand out in my mind. In the third, the Eric Chavez works a six-pitch walk from a struggling Jose Contreras to load the bases with two outs. Contreras throws two consecutive balls to Nick Swisher. Ah, but the 2-0 pitch finds the strike zone and Swisher looses a less-than-optimal swing -- resulting in a pop-up to left.

Jim Thome leads off the fourth for Chicago and finds himself on the happy end of a 3-0 count. Rich Harden throws what seems like a get-'em-over strike that, unfortunately, Thome chooses to mash to straight-away center.

In the span of two batters, the A's went from blowing the game wide open against a struggling pitcher to watching Jim Thome slowly circle the bases and tie the game. If that's not a momentum-shifting chain of events, I don't know what is.

Jay Marshall Watch: Things did not work out so well last night for My Magnificent Lefty Sidearmer. Oh, the seventh went well enough, in which my favorite Rule V draftee needed 13 pitches to retire the Sox in order (including getting Enemy of the People A.J. Pierzynski to hit a feeble and giggle-inducing comebacker.) Ah, but with two left-handers leading off the eighth, Bob Geren got a little bit greedy and left Marshall out there. Podsednik singled, Erstad bunted him over and that pretty much consigned the A's to leaving Marshall in until Thome's at bat. We've already mentioned how that turned out. Two runs were charged to Marshall, lifting his ERA from 0.00 to 4.15 and doubtlessly cementing his status as a one-inning kind of pitcher. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Pods and Ersty, and For Runs We Are Thirsty: The White Sox fielded a lineup featuring Scott Podsednik (on-base percentage of .343 in 2,548 career plate appearances) and Darin Erstad (.341 in 5,803 PAs) in the top two slots. Perhaps this is a poorly timed observation seeing as how Pods went 3-for-4 last night with a double and a home run (only two more to match 2006's output!), but man, that's a lot of outs at the top of order. (Indeed, for as good an evening as Podsednik had, Erstad looked terrible against Harden, striking out in both his at bats. He was able to get that aforementioned sacrifice down. No one makes an out like Darin Erstad.)

I think, before all is said and done in 2007, Podsednik and Erstad will make a historic one-two... well, punch isn't the right word. How's about a one-two light slap? Anyhow, I think they need a nickname. Just as McGwire and Canseco were the Bash Brothers, just as Clark and Mitchell were the Pacific Sock Exchange, just as Maris and Mantle were the M&M Boys, so too do Pods and Ersty need a joint moniker.

Me, I favor "And With Two Gone, Here's Paul Konerko," but I recognize that's not exactly pithy. My one-time blogging compatriot Jason suggested "Grit and Grittier," which is not without its charms.

But I throw this question out to the vast Catfish Stew listening audience: What nickname should the Podsednik-Erstad lineup combo have? Please place your suggestion in the comments; the winner will have the distinction of being named Star of the Game sponsor for the Wednesday get-away game against the Sox. Who knows? Maybe Pods or Ersty can take home Star of the Game honors that day.

Seems unlikely, but it would be fitting.

Phil's Not-So-Phun Phacts: With two home runs, the A's find themselves at the bottom of the American League in that category. And I don't really see how that position is likely to change much during the year. Who on the A's would you say is a safe bet to top the 30-homer mark this season? Nick Swisher, probably. Milton Bradley, if he remains healthy and that's a skyscraper-sized if. Piazza, I guess, though I have my doubts. At any rate -- not a lot of sock in that lineup, and there'll be even less if a frustrated Swish starts swinging wildly like he did in the sixth last night.

And while we're on that subject... while the A's can't hit for power, they're certainly swinging like it -- they lead the A.L. in strikeouts. On the Action 36 telecast, otherwise known as Happy Talk with Glenn and Ray, Glenn Kuiper dismissed that stat by noting that 12 of those came off of Felix Hernandez in a single game and that thing would eventually even themselves out. He may well be right. Of course, it's one thing to have King Felix strike you out; it's another to make Mike MacDougal look unhittable.

Stuff That Probably Reflects Poorly on Me: So... backstory: Back in my college days, my pal Wrenn and I were tooling around San Francisco when we happened to come across a guy wearing a Boston Bruins jersey bearing Cam Neely's No. 8. Mr. Hockey Jersey was... well, we shall charitably say he did not cut the same dashing figure that Cam Neely did in his prime. Hey, few of us do. Nevertheless, Wrenn was moved to observe, his voice quavering with sincere concern, "Man, Cam Neely looks terrible." And in the ensuing 15 years, whenever I encounter a similar physical specimen, I imagine Wrenn saying that and enjoy a private chuckle.

Anyhoo... last night the Action 36 cameras are panning the stands, when they happen upon a silver-haired gentleman with a handlebar mustache looking as stricken over the goings-on as the rest of us.

"Hey, cheer up, Rollie Fingers," I said out loud to the TV. That this was probably my lone source of amusement all evening is not a good sign -- for the A's or for me.

You Stay Classy, Oakland: The boos that reign down on Ex-Athletic Jermaine Dye every time his name is announced confuse and irritate me. "Take that for breaking your leg in a playoff game," the idiot boobirds seem to be saying. "Take that for signing the ill-advised contract extension that Billy Beane offered you. And how dare you sign with another team when Oakland had no interest in retaining your services? Boo! Booooooo!"

Dye served the A's honorably and as best he could under the circumstances. He never acted like a jerk when he was on the team or after he left. If one cannot applaud politely, then the next best response is to sit silently. Booing Dye for no reason other than the fact that he's wearing a different colored shirt makes the rest of us look like chumps.

Now, A.J. Pierzynski you can boo.

All in All: It's still early yet -- I figure we can trot that chestnut out for another week -- but the current manifestation of the A's are doing the one thing that's worse than losing: being unspeakably boring while doing it. Scoring a run or two each night and hoping your pitchers can do prevent the other team from doing likewise is not only a poor recipe for success, it's also unlikely to leave the paying customers entertained.

Here's what Bob Geren told the Chronicle, post-drubbing: "You don't want to have a disappointing game, but these guys played hard. We just didn't get the big hit." The way things are looking right now, Geren ought to just type up that statement, Xerox it, and hand out copies to the press after each game -- it might save him a lot of time.

2007-04-10 21:26:11
1.   Scott Long
I love the "And With Two Gone, Here's Paul Konerko".

Having said this, maybe a blogger for the A's should not be the one ripping the Sox first 2 batters. Let's meet the A's top of the order.

Jason Kendall whose OPS for 2005 (the devilish 666) and 2006 (709).

Shannon Stewart loaded up with an OPS for 2005 (711) and 2006 (715).

For those of you unaware of what they are doing this season, the dynamic duo are both under 400 OPS.

Considering that the A's can't match the 3-6 of the White Sox lineup, this is criminal for a team that claims to follow sabermetrical principles.

I wish the White Sox would platoon Erstad and Brian Anderson, plus have Iguchi as their 2 hitter, but I can't say the A's look much better in these spots and Pods and Erstad aren't taking up 10% of the team's salary like Billy Beane's biggest albatross (kendall).

2007-04-10 21:35:27
2.   Philip Michaels
Do you hear me saying glowing things about Jason Kendall and Shannon Stewart? Ripping Kendall comes as naturally to me as breathing. He should be batting eighth or ninth or not at all.

Stewart, I think will pick things up sooner or later. And those 2005/2006 OPS numbers are years he was racked with foot injuries that are apparently resolved.

2007-04-10 21:42:54
3.   Scott Long
I do not hear you saying glowing things about Kendall. I haven't researched the top 2 hitters for each team in the MLB, but I've got to guess that the White Sox and A's have 2 of the worst duo's.
2007-04-10 21:56:12
4.   doppelganger
That sort of made up for it. I still can't believe Travis Buck was intentionally walked. What does that say about Mark Ellis?
2007-04-10 22:07:09
5.   Philip Michaels
4 It says that the White Sox had been paying attention during Ellis' earlier at-bats.

Less flippantly, I'm sure there was some thought given to the righty-vs.-righty matchup being more favorable for Jenks.

3 Your supposition about the worst 1-2 hitters in baseball intrigues me. I think you're probably right. But for argument's sake, I'd ask the jury to consider the Angels' duo of Gary Matthews Jr. (the non-2006 outlier version) and Orlando Cabrera (career OBP .317). And the Dodgers are going to need some pretty considerable talent in the 2 hole to compensate for Juan Pierre.

2007-04-10 22:23:58
6.   doppelganger
5 I can see the lefty-righty thing, but
1. Buck isn't a very good hitter yet (I know Ellis is worse)
2. A walk loses the game, so if Jenks fell behind he'd have to give Ellis a good pitch to hit. Watching Gamecast, I knew that would happen as soon as Jenks went to 2-1.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.