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Gaining Perspective

June 1, 2011

I missed last night’s game between the A’s and the Yankees. I watched the highlights and there weren’t many highlights to them for A’s fans. Simply put the A’s got clobbered. Quite a change from this weekend, when A’s bats hit the O’s so hard that two of their pitchers were optioned down to the Rochester Red Wings following the series (Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman). So while that four game winning streak was nice, and while sweeping Baltimore in that streak was lovely as well – it really wasn’t much of anything. Realistically yes, a win against Baltimore is of equal value to a win against the Yankees. After all you don’t win 1.5 games for beating New York, you don’t even win 1.00001. But beating the Yankees right now says something whereas beating the Orioles says nothing. It isn’t just OK to beat up on the lesser teams, you need to be able to hang with the big boys and last night Oakland did anything but that en route to a 10-3 loss to the visiting New Yorkers.

Brett Anderson who took the hill for Oakland has his own issues with failing to hang with the big boys. His worst three outings this year have come against the Rangers (twice) and Yankees – definitely two big boys in the American League as they met in last year’s ALCS. He had a great outing over Boston (a team he habitually does well against) and another against Cleveland (though no one would have labeled Cleveland a legitimate contender prior to the season) but otherwise he hasn’t been his sharpest as the quality of the opponent rises. Interestingly, of Anderson’s twelve starts this year  ten have been against opponents with a better than .500 record and while opponents haven’t hit as well off of him in those games, he hasn’t mitigated damage well against tougher opponents.

Sub .500 .309 .333 .345 2.63 98
Over .500 .248 .322 .360 3.90 89

Last night he didn’t get much of anything done aside from really taking one for the team. He pitched five and a third innings throwing 103 pitches. Of those 103 pitches, two were deposited in the seats by Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. Another nine of them fell for hits, three of them resulted in walks and three resulted in strikeouts. All in all in his short time on the mound Anderson let in a scary season high ten runs with nine of them earned.  While Anderson struggled his bullpen mates shined, with Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow and Joey Devine holding the Yanks at bay for the remainder of the game, with only a hit allowed by Ziegler and a walk by Wuertz making blemishes on an otherwise mistake-free pitching set.

Offensively the A’s weren’t great, but weren’t terrible either. They hit a solid 2-for-5 with RISP, and David DeJesus hit his fifth home run of the season and his first to not come in a multi-home run game. But Yankees starter Freddy Garcia held the A’s to three runs in his seven innings which was more than enough as Luis Ayala and Lance Pendleton coming out of the Yankees bullpen matched the A’s by also being error free save for a lone walk from Pendleton.

What yesterday’s game is a reminder of however upsetting is that the A’s have a long way to go. Sure their record of 27-29 doesn’t portend a lost season, and the inability of any of their division foes to make a move still have the A’s just 2 1/2 games behind the West leading Rangers, but this is a clear signal that something needs to change. To be the best you need to beat the best, and the A’s have looked sorely mismatched so far against New York. Game three occurs this afternoon in a few minutes. I won’t be able to watch it live but will comment following the game.

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