Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Day, Another Walk Off

Tonight in Oakland, Brandon Moss laced a ball to right, scoring Yoenis Cespedes with the game winner, and earning the first baseman a dogpile of rowdy Athletics. It's my bizarre team's 10th walk off win of the year -- that leads the majors -- and Moss became the 10th different Athletic to take the happy abuse. Something's happening here, and I can't deny it: I'm getting totally sucked into this totally unexpected month of from nowhere fun. The A's are now 12-2 in July, the best team in MLB in the month, and if you saw any of this coming, you are a complete and utter liar.

Cespedes is now 6 for 8 in two games against the Yankees, showing the full arsenal of stinging bat work, a plus arm and genuine wheels; the tools are just off the charts right now. Josh Reddick went 3 for 5 and gunned down a man on the basepaths. Tommy Milone was Glavine-esque in his soft tossing lefty mastery, going 7 innings on 6 hits, no walks, and 10 whiffs (good grief). Only two Yankee long balls off the usually solid A's bullpen kept him from the win, and only a lot of RISP failure and Ivan Nova dancing kept this one close enough for Milone to lose the win. My team looked a lot better than the Bombers tonight, and just when it seemed like the Yanks were going to play their Old Jedi Mind Tricks to steal the win, the A's pulled out the ninth inning magic to take their second straight game. In the six game homestand against the best that the AL has to offer (Texas and NYY), in the games that will decide whether the A's will sell off assets or try to make the playoffs... well, they look freaking awesome. With rookie starting pitchers, with a bottom of the order that would not intimidate a Little League team, and with an offense that was historically awful earlier in the year. Oh, and it's the second straight one-run win against the Yanks. Fun!

How freaky is this? Even the mistakes are working out. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh and two out, A's manager Bob Melvin didn't bring in righty masher Chris Carter, the de facto platoon partner for Moss, to go against tough lefty Boone Logan. At the time, I thought it was a mistake; playing conservatively for defense against a team that's more likely to hit home runs than any other team in the majors. Logan got Moss to whiff looking, and made him look as bad as you might think in the process, and the Yankees went long twice to tie it after that. So it was, of course, Moss with the game winner in the bottom of the ninth. That kind of thing only happens when your team is ridiculously hot , and when everything is going your way.

Will it last? Hell if I know, and even if it does, the stretch run schedule is all kinds of road murderous; you'd have to think that there are better candidates to take the second wild-card berth, and with the club still 6.5 off the pace in the West, the fake playoff is the only hope for post-season ticket sales. The only logical move is to listen to both buy and sell offers, keeping in mind that True Contention is, as always with this franchise, 2-3 years away.

But what the hell fun is that?

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