This sucks. For Strasburg and pure enjoyment reasons, I was really hoping to see Rich Harden face us. Oh well, it's been awhile since we've faced the A's so lets do a recap on the four pitchers that we are actually facing, now with more sample size!
Dana Eveland looks like a decent pitcher on the surface, but closer examination reveals some potentially big problems. For one, he's wild. Miguel Batista wild. 41% of his pitches thrown end up as balls (Miguel's at 41.7%). That's a recipe for big time walk rates in the future. Furthermore his swinging strike rate is under 6%, a poor sign for future K rates. He's survived so well this far because of a microscopic homerun rate, partly due to a low flyball rate, but it's not all roses there and many of those missing flyballs are biting him in the form of line drives.
.224 is what Duchscherer's BABIP currently stands at which gives you a primary indication why his ERA is around 3. Nevertheless, he manages to run a fairly average pitch profile. He's also benefited from a homerun rate about half what it should be so going forward, he seems like a roughly average AL SP to me.
Blanton has regressed quite a bit this year, missing bats now just 5.5% of the time, seeing his percentage of balls thrown jump two points and his groundballs falter a bit. It adds up to a 4.58 tRA over the 4.16 from last year.
Greg Smith is sort of Dana Eveland-lite. He's quite wild as well at 39.7%, but at least it's under 40% and he can actually miss bats 7.4% of the time. Smith represents the best stuff the Ms will have to face this series. The AL average SP misses bats 7.6% of the time. Oakland has built a pitching staff succeeding a lot thanks to a league best BABIP (good fielders) and a league lowest 8% HR/FB rate. That they have a staff striking out over 7 batters per game when these are four of their starters speaks to how insane Rich Harden is (nearly 30% K rate).
To be honest, I have no clue what they're going to do with the outfield and DH. I tried to piece together something based on their recent lineups and moves, but yeesh. The A's have had a reputation for poor offense this year, but in reality it was mostly just one bad month, May.
The A's scored 4.66 runs per game up May 1st and have scored 4.52 runs per game since June 1st, neither bad numbers. It's just that awful stretch in May, also their only losing month so far, when they scored under 4 runs a game. Bottom line, though strikeout prone, this is not a total pushover offense.
Jeff Clement nearly single-handedly wins a game and is rewarded with a day off that would have held if it hadn't gone 15 innings.
Erik Bedard, with a meaningless season stretching in front of him and the All Star Break nears, feels that trying to pitch through shoulder soreness would be stupid. In response, several people question his toughness.
There were several stupid things about this weekend. There were some awesome parts as well. The aforementioned Clement homeruns. Brandon Morrow being his 2008 self. Another couple days marked off the Sean Green Arm Explosion Office Pool (tough luck BrianL), and, oh yeah:
THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Anchor Brewing Company. San Francisco, CA
Amber color with large frothy head and vanilla tones. Finished very smoothly. Not much of an aroma but a solid taste and finish. Not the greatest beer ever, but one of my favorites on summer days.