It was a game in which the A’s came up short again, by almost as much as they did in game 1, but it seemed a lot closer with the potential winning run at the plate in the ninth inning in the person of Frank Thomas. And it was only that close because of the A’s outfielders, Milton Bradley, Mark Kotsay, and Jay Payton. Uncle Milton in put in one of the all-time great personal performances you’ll ever see in baseball, hitting homers from either side of the plate, and driving in 4 of the A’s 5 runs. And his fielding and throwing were great, as always. This man is an All-Star.
The infield sucked, however. They failed to hit, failed to make the big plays, and even failed to make the routine play on one occasion. Swisher has yet to put a batted ball in play, let alone hit safely against the Tigers. Jimenez flubs routine ground balls in every game, Scutaro can’t buy a hit, and Chavez looks like Mr. Mediocre. Kendall is doing what Kendall does, and the bullpen is sharp except for Street, but that’s nothing new. But poor infield play and poor starting pitching may not be the things holding the A’s back as much as poor managing and coaching. When you have a pitcher who’s fooling nobody in a playoff game, you need to pull him sooner rather than later.
But it’s not over. A couple of good starts in Detroit and the series is tied 2-2 and we have home field advantage again. And with Harden and Haren going up against Rogers and Bonderman, in the snow and ice, that could easily happen. Very easily.
So all these boys need to do is take a step back, shake off the cooties, and go at with relish, like Milton Bradley does. That stud is Oakland’s spiritual leader, and he’s a winner.