This is the least interested I’ve been in the trade deadline in years. I suppose it’s because I can’t figure anything that the A’s really need, there’s nobody on the market I’d really want, nor is there anyone obvious they need to get rid of. If the A’s make a move, it’ll be a surprise.
Bill King said last night on the radio broadcast that he dislikes the trade deadline, because it tends to distract attention away from the game on the field. Most years, I’d disagree, but this year, I’m on his side. And so, to the field:
I went to the game this afternoon (didn’t take my camera, sorry) with a bunch of families in our neighborhood. I missed a couple of innings escorting a group of kids to the Stomper Fun Zone. But no problem, I did manage to catch the only inning that mattered in this game.
Zito gave up three early runs, but he didn’t seem to be pitching poorly from where I sat. It was more a series of “these-things-happen” happenings: a two-run homer, and a bloop single, a steal, and a seeing-eye grounder.
* * *
Meanwhile, Nate Robertson pitched three perfect innings to start the game, throwing only 28 pitches. Two of the outs were rockets hit right at infielders, so I still held some hope.
In the bottom of the fourth, I figured we needed to change our luck, so I got everyone around me to start mentioning the fact that Robertson was throwing a perfect game.
“Did I mention that Robertson was throwing a perfect game?”
“No, but the Tigers’ pitcher is throwing a perfect game.”
Jason Kendall led off with a walk.
“Hey, there goes the perfect game. But he’s still throwing a no-hitter.”
“Really? Hey, and you know what else? Robertson is throwing a no-hitter.”
Mark Ellis singled.
“Did I mention that Robertson is throwing a shutout?”
“No, but the Tigers haven’t given up a run yet.”
A bloop single by Chavez loaded the bases, and then Jay Payton hit a screaming liner into the left-field stands for a grand slam. The crowd goes wild!
* * *
And after the crowd went wild, Ivan Rodriguez went wild. Bob Cluck visited the mound after Robertson went 2-0 on the next batter, Dan Johnson. When Rodriguez got back to the plate, he suddenly started yelling at the home plate ump, Ted Barrett.
Pudge threw a world-class tantrum. He got right in Barrett’s face and started shouting. Alan Trammell ran out and got in between them, but that didn’t stop Pudge. He continued to shout, needed two other Tigers to restrain him and escort him back to the dugout. When he got there, he threw a bag of balls onto the field. Then, as he took off his catcher’s gear, he threw that onto the field, too.
Man, that was good stuff. When Pudge retires, let’s make him a manager. He’d could be quite entertaining.
* * *
A couple batters later, Scott Hatteberg hit a two-run homer to make it 6-3. At this point, the out-of-town scoreboard suddenly changed to show the Angels’ 7-5 lead in the 9th had become a 8-7 Yankee victory.
Quite a turn of events. A few minutes earlier, the A’s were being no-hit, and the Angels were sending K-Rod to the mound in the 9th with a two-run lead. It looked like the A’s might fall to 4 1/2 games out, and suddenly it became 2 1/2. The momentum in the pennant race shifted just like that.
* * *
The rest of the game felt like going through the motions. I didn’t have much doubt about the eventual outcome, even though the Tigers threatened a few times to tie it up or take the lead.
The Witasick/Kennedy trades have made the bullpen complete. They could use Duchscherer and Calero for more than an inning, as they did last night, and still have Witasick available to pitch the 8th the next day. They have two longmen in Yabu and Kennedy, and two lefties in Kennedy and Rincon. And then there’s the reliable Huston Street to close things out.
Unless you count the back injuries to Kotsay and Kielty, this is a team without a single hole on its roster. I’m comfortable with everybody on the 25-man roster and the role they are on the roster to play.
Heck, Marco Scutaro played left field today in the absence of the “K’s”, and did a competent job. He played one ball off the wall and threw a perfect strike from the warning track to second base. He may have extended his career a year or two with his play today; there’s probably some Tony LaRussa out there who would love to make use of his versatility.
So that’s why I’m so bored by this deadline. Billy Beane doesn’t really need to do anything. He only has to make a trade that he would clearly win. I would certainly welcome that, but I’m not anticipating anything but the next game on the schedule.