Documenting the Athletics – From Philadelphia, to Kansas City, to Oakland and Finally to Fremont
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Rich Harden did this morning what Huston Street couldn’t seem to do the preceding day – Â pitch. Harden pitched six solid innings and only saw 24 batters in that time, and struck out nine in Oakland’s 5-1 victory this morning in Japan. In fact, the only Red Sox run was a solo home-run by Manny Ramirez in the sixth inning, and the team was unable to gain momentum from it. The Athletics continued to change the lineup by relieving the pitcher once an inning, putting Santiago Casilla, Keith Foulke, and Alan Embree in. The three collectively gave up a total of two hits.
On the flip side, Oakland presented a strong offense as well. The team had a total of nine hits, including a three-shot homerun by Emil Brown.
This game showsÂ a lot about the resilience of the team. Their ability to bounce back from the previous night’s tough loss shows that the A’sÂ can come together when they need to. ThisÂ I’m sure we’ll see this mindset nextÂ TuesdayÂ when the team faces Boston again, this time to a hometown crowd, at McAfeeÂ Coliseum.
Oakland was playing well, and trying to defend a 4-3 lead over the World Champion Red Sox. However, things fell apart for the A’s in the latter innings this morning in Japan.
Reliever Huston Street was credited with the loss, and rightfully so. With a one-run lead, Street gave up a single shot home-run to Brandon Moss in the 9th, pushing the game into extra innings. Then, in the 10th, with two runners on base, Manny Ramirez doubled off the center field wall, creating a two-run lead for Boston. Finally, Lenny DiNardo relieved Street and was able to wrap up the inning. Daric Barton scored in the bottom of the 10th for the A’s, but all hope was lost when Kurt Suzuki grounded out with two runners on base to end the game.
It’s the principle that goes back to Little League, the team with the most hits will probably win. And in this case, Oakland’s seven hits were no match for Boston’s 11.
Don’t worry, Oakland will have another shot against Boston, again, in Japan at 3:05 AM Wednesday. This time with A’s Rich Harden as the starting pitcher against the Red Sox’s Jon Lester.
After losing two of their last three training games, the A’s were able to pull out a 5-2 win over the Cubs Wednesday. This was largely due Oakland’s ability to capitalize off of Chicago’s struggling bullpen. Down 0-2 in the eighth inning, Chicago pitchersÂ Carlos Marmol and Kevin Hart both walked in batters with bases loaded and gave up a combined three hits in the inning. Oakland scored again in the ninth.
Despite the losses, Oakland (16-7) remains on top of the Cactus League so far this season, closely followed by the LA Angels (14-7). Only one spring training game remains until the season opener on Tuesday.
With exactly one week til the first game if Oakland’s 2008 season, the question asked is are they ready? Or, more precisely, are they healthy? It’s no doubt that they have made an impression during spring training, going 15-5 and 5-4 on the road. It’s great that that the team is off to such a good start, including the seven game winning streak that may only grow.
There’s no doubt about the talent of the team, only their stamina. Can the team bounce back from 2007′s losing season? I don’t think that season opener against Boston (7-10) will be a good indication. The answer can only be determined as theÂ season plays out. Some of the team’s key players, including Joey Devine, Fernando Hernandez, Chad Gaudine, Eric Chavez, and Carlos Gonzalez have all reported various injuries that may or may not impact the future of the team.
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