It's the critical weekend of the season for the Oakland A's. Four for Texas starting with a doubleheader this afternoon. The Green and Gold take on the first place Rangers in a ballpark that serves as the A's own haunted house during the best of seasons. Called "The Ballpark in Arlington", its cursed quality begins with that bizarre moniker and continues as a place where 7-0 leads go to die. The A's are eight games out and can't fall any further back without becoming completely irrelevant by summer. And the Ranger's pad chews up pitchers like they're going out of style (and we don't have very stylish pitchers to begin with).
In the upside down world of A's baseball, our number five starter, Josh Outman (awesome name!) has evolved into our ace. The Athletics brain-trust entrusted the slender portsider to be the first hurler of the twin-bill (Wow, if Grantland Rice could blog....) due to his ability to be an innings eater and not chew up the bullpen. Too bad that three innings into the game the Outman has needed nearly fifty pitches to get nine outs. And no worries that our one semi-slugger, Jack Cust has been taken out of the game in the third inning with more balky back problems, to be replaced by the kind of guy you'd actually want to use a designated hitter for, Bobby Crosby. At least that means Crosby won't be making any errors out in the field.
So, it's started off looking bad for the locals but there's a lot of baseball left to play, and I'm saying that like it's a good thing. If the A's leave Texas worse than they arrived, it wouldn't be the first time; but for 2009, it might be the last time we'll be paying any attention.— Kibby Kleiman