The A's won their sixth game last night, and fourth in a row. Barry Zito gave
up only a solo homer to Rafael Palmeiro (who's drawing every closer to 500), and
the A's offense got just enough out of their fourteen base runners to squeeze
two runs across.
It is getting a little tiresome watching the offense do this "ten hits, four
walks, two runs" thing over and over again. It's probably not as bad as it
seems, but it seems like it happens all the time.
There are a ton of positives, though:
Eric Chavez saw a ton of pitches
in drawing two walks (one intentional) and having long at-bats before outs in
his other two times up;
Mark Ellis had three hits, including his fifth
double of the year;
John Thomson, the starter for the Rangers, had to throw
20 pitches per inning (and so qualified for, I think, the first borderline
abusive start of the year, as he threw 120 pitches);
Keith Foulke threw a
good inning and a third for his second save, thereby showing that Ken Macha
isn't afraid to bring Foulke on a little earlier than the ninth;
Durazo got on base three more times;
Even Chris Singleton hit a double late
in the game.
Terrence Long and Ramon Hernandez seemed to be back to their old tricks, though,
combining to go 0-8 with seven runners left on base and one GIDP (for Long).
Long playing left makes him all that much more replaceable, as Ron Gant, Jason
Grabowski, Eric Byrnes, and Billy McMillon (at least) are all waiting. There
shouldn't be as much of a margin for error, though by most reports, he does play
the best defense of any of those guys, so for pitchers like Zito, it may be
worth the offensive hit to have him out there.
If he's not hitting 280/340/450 by the end of the month, I predict that he'll
become the spot starter and defensive replacement for Eric Byrnes. Long is at
200/360/350 right now. He's walked four times, but has just one extra base hit.
I'll start a daily Long watch and see if he picks it up or is benched.
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