A's beat Seattle again - Rich Harden = wee!

By Jason Wojciechowski on April 11, 2006 at 11:17 PM

The A's turned in another impressive win against Seattle on Sunday. The Mariners' scoreless streak was extended into the eighth courtesy of Rich Harden, who wound up with a seven-inning, eight-strikeout, one-run line. Kirk Saarloos then got charged with some garbage runs in the ninth, but he was helped out by some shaky defense and pitching by Huston Street as well as a couple of "fielder's indifference" runner advancements and an Ichiro! stolen base. Street took advantage by getting his second save of the year without getting charged with a run. Saarloos's ERA shoots up to 13.50 as a result, while Justin Duchscherer, Joe Kennedy, and Street remain un-scored-upon.

On the offensive side, Joel Pineiro, Jeff Harris, and Jake Woods did a good job avoiding the walk (just one allowed), so the A's had to get their offense by swinging the bat, which they did just fine: twelve hits, three for extra bases, including Eric Chavez's third homer of the year. Everyone contributed but newbies Frank Thomas (who's not off to a great start despite his Opening Day homer) and Milton Bradley, who each hit 0-4.

It's hard to say anything else because it's so early in the season: you can't really draw any conclusions from anything that's happened so far. Is it nice that the A's are 5-2? Sure. Does it mean they'll win five out of every seven games all year? Of course not. Is it nice that Bobby Crosby's annual injury only kept him out a few days? Sure. Does it mean he won't go cruising into Frank Thomas at some point and break a rib? Of course not.

Let me express one anxiety anyway. There was near-unanimous approval of the Frank Thomas signing on the theory that he'd hit while healthy, and if he wasn't healthy, then it didn't cost much for Oakland to take the risk anyway. But what if he doesn't hit? What if his batting average is in the low-.200's again? I'll be honest and say that I'm actually a little worried about his performance in these first few games and what it means going forward. Again, it's probably irrational, and the A's are likely a very good team either way, but it does give me a little chill to see Thomas hitting .091.

Dan Haren goes against Brad Radke tonight. The Twins are not off to a good start, but they're not a bad team. I think they're an 85-win team in a division with two better teams. That means that somewhere along the way, they'll sweep a team that's better than them simply by outplaying them, without that better team necessarily having to shoot itself in the foot in the process. You just have to hope it happens to the Yankees or Indians instead of the A's.