A’S DOING THE “LITTLE THINGS” TO STAY IN THE RACE

The A’s clubhouse scene
after Sunday’s series-clinching win over Texas
was upbeat but not euphoric.  At one end
of the room, there’s
Trevor Cahill–the “Baby-faced
Assassin” as coined by GM
Billy Beane–surrounded
by Bay Area TV cameras and reporters.  A
young man in big demand.  That’s what a
12-4 record and 2.56  ERA will do for
you.  In another locker stall, there’s
interim closer
Michael Wuertz slipping on a
chartreuse dress shirt before joining
Kate Longworth
and her Comcast cameraman for a postgame interview.  In the manager’s office, the door is closed
as
Bob
Geren
and the A’s baseball braintrust
discuss whether there might roster moves to make, necessitated by a non
baseball-related injury (
Matt Watson,
kidney stones) or just a growing need to find more lethal bat. 

 

While this is a roster of
young and inexperienced players, it’s evident they know overhauling the Rangers
in the standings will not be easy.  And
it will be an uphill climb.  They also
know both teams are entering a pivotal time of the season.  We visit Seattle
and Minnesota, then return to host
suddenly-hot Toronto.  Texas,
now under stable ownership, faces perhaps its greatest challenge of the season
in facing the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in succession.

 

Yesterday was the kind of
game that you need to win to stay in a pennant race.  It’s not necessarily pretty, but all that
matters is that you find a way to
win.  The little things matter.  Early in the game, we failed to move runners
over or in some cases, failed to even make contact
with runners in scoring position.  But after
Cahill was undeservedly charged with two unearned runs in the seventh inning, our
boys finally extricated ourselves from an early-game funk and started
executing.  A
Coco Crisp stolen base. 
A
Landon Powell sacrifice
bunt.  A
Rajai Davis sacrifice fly. 
Another sac-fly, this one by Mr. Clutch,
Kurt Suzuki.  A
crash-in-the-wall catch by Coco that deprived
the Rangers of another run.  And a
textbook 6-4-3 double play by
Cliff Pennington and Mark Ellis on a Vladimir Guerrero ninth inning grounder, which helped Wuertz slam the
lid on the A’s 52nd win of the season.  More importantly, it clinched a series win
over the first-place Rangers and whittled their deficit to a more manageable 7
½ games with 52 games remaining.

 

If we’re going to make a
move, it will require more 3-2 wins and unheralded plays like Powell’s
bunt.  And, of course, our lights-out
pitching will need to bring its A game nightly. 
If all of this can transpire in the weeks ahead, the A’s may just
continue to hang around.  In fact, a good
week or two as we approach the backside of August, and who knows, we may
actually pull within striking distance of the formidable Rangers.  If that happens, A’s fans may be in for a
real treat come September.  We can only
hope.

1 Comment

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