Friday, September 28, 2012

Yesterday's Weird Connections

Yesterday was a bizarre "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" sort of day for the A's. The team dropped the last game of a four game set with the Rangers, while the hard-charging Angels lost to the Mariners preserving the A's two game lead for the second Wild Card spot. Really though, the interconnectedness is far greater.

Consider:
  • Three of yesterday's starters in these two games were: Travis Blackley (A's), Dan Haren (Angels) and Hisashi Iwakuma (Rangers)
  • Haren, of course, is a former A. 
  • Iwakuma, who the A's really needed to pitch well against the Angels was almost an A. Remember, Iwakuma -- a Japanese player -- entered into exclusive negotiations with the A's after they won his posting rights in the 2010 offseason. The two sides never reached an agreement, and the A's were accused by Iwakuma's agent, Don Nomura, of not showing any respect for the pitcher with their reported offer of four years/$15.5 million. Nomura said this about the A's, "Their offer was low and they weren't sincere." Some camps accused the A's of using the refundable posting system to block Iwakuma from a division rival like the Mariners.
  • Yesterday's starter for the A's would have been Brett Anderson had he not suffered an oblique strain in Detroit. Anderson was acquired in the trade that sent Haren to the Diamondbacks in 2007.
  • It's possible, although clearly not in any way measurable, that the game's momentum might have shifted had Chris Carter not ground into an inning-ending double play when two were on in the first. Carter was also acquired in the Haren trade.
  • The A's are battling to make the postseason for the first time since 2006. The last game for the A's in those the playoffs was started by Dan Haren.
Positives from Yesterday:

1) Josh Reddick's two home runs. 
2) Jesse Chavez and Pedro Figueroa pitched clean innings. 
3) The A's late rally forced the Rangers to use their closer Joe Nathan.
4) Balfour, Blevins, Cook, Doolittle and Scribner got the day off.

Attendance Woes -- Last night on the South Side of Chicago with the White Sox just a game behind the Detroit Tigers and clinging to their fading playoff hopes the team drew a mere 18,630 (45.9 percent of capacity). Not only was the game key for the Sox, it also featured one of baseball's hottest team in the Tampa Bay Rays. Meanwhile, across town the Cubs, currently 59-94, drew 33,354 (81 percent of capacity) at their most recent home game on September 23. How this makes sense is anyone's guess. Ben Strauss of the New York Times on August 26 explored the issue.

Stockton -- A's pitcher Dallas Braden gave an interview to KOVR-TV in Sacramento following expressing very vocally his concerns regarding the state of Stockton and its crime level at a public rally. At the end of the interview, the reporter notes that Braden -- one of the biggest champions of the 209 -- is moving to Sacramento.

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