By Jason Wojciechowski on April 8, 2014 at 1:06 AM
I got home late and therefore was unable to watch the entire baseball game, but I did catch a few innings. Notes!
I'm told that the average instant replay league-wide is about a minute and a half. I feel unlucky because it seems every A's replay I catch has gone multiple minutes, especially when you factor in the manager dicking around and the umpires all chatting before the review even gets underway. If the mean league-wide really is 90 seconds or so, then I withhold criticism and chalk my experience up to small-sample bad luck. I would like to know where that number begins, though. Again, from the moment the manager's foot hits the dirt, what delay are we talking about?
That's also aside from the question of managers chatting with umps for long enough to find out whether they should challenge. Solutions abound. Every trip onto the field is a challenge, say, though that's unfair because sometimes a manager needs an explanation of what was called before he can know whether to challenge. We've all seen plays where the big man comes charging out less angry than genuinely confused about what's happening. I'm not giving up the fight on scrapping the challenge system and having a replay ump send a "hold on a sec" signal. This horse ain't dead yet.
Can the A's face Kevin Correia every game? He threw a couple of meatballs that the A's walloped and lined and did all sorts of ugly things to. Even Derek Norris got a hit. Against a righty! It can happen!
I didn't see Scott Kazmir's first start and, as you know by now, I don't really dig spring training, so this was my first look. I understand that his opening start was a little more impressive. His stuff looked good, better than my mind's eye had him, but his control wasn't really at its top rank, much less his command. There were a few hard-hit balls, though as with Jim Johnson, there was a fair amount of stuff hit on the ground. A single early on that got past Jed Lowrie jumps out, mainly because I think other shortstops, even those short of Andrelton Simmons in the #rig department, would have gotten to the ball. It just didn't look that deep in the hole! though it was, as I said, well-struck. But such is measuring defense by the eyes, especially as a nonexpert.
Kazmir did dominate Joe Mauer, so that's nice. Also Kazmir is handsome. Who's more handsome, Sam Fuld or Kazmir? Maybe it's Gentry? Also Kazmir got better as I was typing this post, moving the ball in the zone and controlling at-bats, getting a couple of bad swings from the Twins. Feh, look now, I'm starting to get optimistic.
I understand it's maddening to watch a guy hit directly into the teeth of the shift, but is there much more fun than watching someone hit into the teeth of the shift and beat it anyway? Brandon Moss smashed a hard ground single in this game that did just that, and it delighted me. I'm not worried, long term. He's done some bunting, he'll still have his power on flies ... I'm okay with Moss' shift approach is what I'm saying.
I do not like watching Jed Lowrie play defense. It pains me. Every play is nerve-wracking. Every ball he runs around and one-hands or throws on the run or backhands, gah. I'd love to have him back for 2015-17 to play second base, but I can't see that happening. Someone has to play short for the Yankees, after all, and they've long since forgotten good defense, so Addison Russell will have to team with someone else in the middle infield.