Pitching and a Shortstop
Big surprise! The A's won a game with pitching! My comment yesterday about Mark Redman's effectiveness being in question was clearly used as bulletin-board fodder, since the pitcher threw eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just six hits and a walk, before turning the game over to Octavio Dotel (who should also be considered a question mark, by the way) for the save. The A's got just enough runs to win by staging a three-run rally in the fifth, started, as usual these days, by Mark Kotsay, who drew a walk ahead of an Eric Byrnes double. Meanwhile, Eric Chavez missed his second straight game with a tight back. These back injuries are like a plague on the A's. Just as Arthur Rhodes gets ready to come back to help out in a lower-pressure (than his closer spot, anyway) setup role, Eric Chavez goes back down with a much more worrisome owie than his broken hand was. Backs recur, backs sap power, and backs can nag. On the other hand, Scott Rolen's looking fine in St. Louis after dealing with back troubles for a few years in Philadelphia. If I had to play for Larry Bowa, I might have some back troubles, too.
The KidBobby Crosby's been struggling of late. His last multi-hit game came almost two weeks ago, and he's three for thirty-seven since that game, with no power and four walks, two of the walks coming last night. Let's look at the bright side, though. Crosby is showing some in-season development of major-league strike zone judgement. He'd shown the propensity to draw walks in the minor leagues, but he was not trotting to first with great frequency in the early part of this season. Crosby's plate-appearances per walk on the season have progressed like this: 13 in April, 13.6 in May, 11.1 in June, 7.7 in July, and back up to 10.8 in this half-month. I think it's no surprise that Crosby's slump has come with a regression in his walk rate, but even that 10.8 is still respectable and much better than his numbers in the first two months of the season. Crosby's had other protracted periods of trouble this season, so I fully expect him to break out and really earn the Rookie of the Year trophy over this next month and a half.
Beaneball by Jason Wojciechowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.