Friday, July 2, 2010

Slap Hitters: A's Win with Bad Look

By Kibby Kleiman
Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Major league baseball in its endless quest to fatten the goose who lays the golden eggs insists on the big leaguers outfitting themselves in patriotic red, white and blue caps. The A's version is particularly unfortunate. Announcer Ray Fosse described a look that probably is its best on the radio. Red, white and blue hat, green tops and grey road pants.. No wonder Gio Gonzalez looks testy.

Of course, the A's road trip is about more than fashion faux pas. The Athletics are completing their tour of last place teams, putting a beating on the Cleveland Indians after dispatching the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the Baltimore Orioles. That means that objects in front of Oakland in the standings are farther than they appear to be. Once the A's finish up the tour de cellar, they come back home to host the elite; welcome New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels.

As a result, it's hard to get excited about the stay of execution that saw the A's start June in first place and begin July considerably closer to last place. Still it's nice to be pointing in the right direction midway through the season. There seem to be a few more things to cheer about at the end of the days. Tonight featured right fielder Ryan Sweeney throwing out a hitter on a single. Fun! The 2010 season has been seasoned with a number of such moments and being a mere game below .500 provides a small statistical thrill.

What I am looking forward to is not the tedious debate about which Athletic will be our sole rep in the All-Star game (always interests the journalists way more than the All-Star game), nor the ups and downs of the faceless middle relief crew. Instead, let's focus on the perverse magic that has made whatever guy stands in as the A's number 5 and reputedly least skilled starter into the star. Tonight's shutout stud, Gio Gonzales (seven wins) would lead the squad were it not for the newest last guy, Trevor Cahill (eight wins). Bottom's up!

At least the latest streak ensures that the A's will be worth watching until the mid-summer classic and after this weekend's trial with three colors that belong nowhere near the Oakland squad, they'll be easier to watch as well.

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