Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Welcome to Thunderdome

Hi. Thanks for stopping by my humble baseball blog. I have been advised by my team of legal experts to refrain from using the 'P' word ("Black Ops will snatch you out of bed before you can wipe the drool from your mouth, Funny Boy"), so we're going to focus on the playoffs today. Though, it bears mentioning that if I WERE to play okerpay on aradisePay last night, I would have found a similar size field in the ecialSpay e-buy-Ray, and, if you can believe it, the play was even more manic than usual, as if everyone was spending their last day on Earth.

So, the A's head into Minny today facing a steep test. My boys made it this far mostly on pitching and defense, two areas in which the Twins are more than capable. Throw in the Dome and the Macha Factor and I'd set the line at -160 Twins for the series. Oh, there's our first shot of Macha today, wearing that perpetual expression that looks like he's recently been pithed.

Usually I'm highly stressed this time of year and the A's last four trips to the playoffs have ended in humiliation and disbelief. People talk about the unusual events that have surrounded Red Sox collapses in the past (Bucky Fucking Dent, Billy Buck), but I'd put the A's misfortunes right up there with 'em. My heart can't take listing them all here, but the bottom line is their 0-9 record those four years when they had a chance to clinch a series. That is Epic Failure. Only one of those years can you even make a reasonable case that the A's weren't the better team. It's sickening.

This year, however, I don't think they have the horses and this first round matchup is the worst they could have drawn. (I'd like to give a big shout out at this point to the fantastic Gag Job by your Detroit Tigers. 19-31 to finish up, capped by a sweep at the hands of the Royals. Excellent work, guys. Has anyone checked Leyland for a pulse lately?) So I'm just gonna try and sit back and enjoy some post-season baseball and root only for my boys to give it their best effort. If it's not good enough, them's the breaks.

Well, so much for relaxation. Macha has decided to sit Bobby Kielty today, despite his nearly 1.000 OPS v. lefties. Sure, Santana is no ordinary lefty and we're better defensively with Kotsay in there, but !#%$^&*$$. Bad Decision #1.

I was thinking of live-blogging the game, but I don't think that'll be entertaining for anyone, so instead I'll tell you about how I had sex with Jeri Ryan this morning. In my head, of course. When I emerged from the subway, I was smack in the middle of a shoot and had to reverse field from my normal path to the office. It was an elaborate set-up, encompassing about two blocks. I was held for a moment, then I, and others, were allowed to walk through the scene while they finished setting up and that's when I marked Ms. Ryan. I played it cool (that's how I roll) and gave her a quick appraisal behind my sunglasses. Hawt. She was dressed in some type of military uniform, but the wardrobe department still made it fetching on her. Not sure about the hat, though.

One thing that always strikes me about celebrities is that they're always smaller in person (except for Wheaton who is 8-feet tall and built like a Mack Truck made of granite). I had a few inches on Jeri (can I call you Jeri?) who always seems Amazonian on the screen.

Easy first for Santana and Zito walks the lead-off hitter. Here we go. Now seems like a good time to point out that whoever secures Zito's services this off-season is going to be grossly over-paying. With Oswalt's $75 million extension, that will be the starting point, now that Barry has hired Scott Boras as an agent. Zito's only advantage over Oswalt is his durability, but even that might become an issue soon as Barry has been at, or near, the top of Pitcher Abuse Points for several years now, which is what happens when you constantly nibble. To Zito's credit, he has adapted, relying less on his curveball now that nobody ever swings at it, perfeccting his change (which is a very underrated pitch) and adding a cutter. But he's less an Ace than he is an innings eater who can dominate every once in a while.

BOOOOOOM! Head Shot!

There's your X-Factor. Big Hurt has nice career numbers against Santana and he absolutely carried the A's in September (before slumping a bit toward the end). The team feeds off him and he's more than capable of putting them on his broad back.

There's your Y-Factor. You can't stop Marco Scutaro. He's from Venezuela, too. He just might go crazy on you for no reason, call you a "devil." There's this misconception that he's "clutch," because he's had several game-winning hits in his A's tenure, but he's really not. Solid bench player, not so much the guy you want playing every game at short in the playoffs.

Hear that? That's the sound of drizz's and Bloody P's testicles rising into their stomachs.


Postscript: Whew.

Tight, tense, playoff baseball. Twenty minutes after the final out and my breathing is finally regulated. Some thoughts:

Mr. Gardenhire, the check is in the mail. Thank you for pitching to Frank Thomas in the 9th. Yes, I know you never really wanna put the lead-off man on in a tight game, but this particular lead-off man can't run, so it would take three hits to score him and if the A's pinch-run for him then he's out of the game if you tie it up. Please give 10% to Jesse Crain for trying to sneak a fastball in on the Big Fella.

The Huston Street Experience is more frightening every day. He's not healthy, that much is obvious by the lack of finish on his pitches. He escaped today thanks to hard-hit balls right at people. It would be an unprecedented move, but serious consideration should be given to putting Duchscherer into the closer role. Duke's been the better pitcher all year anyway. We're the A's, right? The unconventional thinkers? So do it already.

Give it up for Barry Zito. Knowing he had to be nearly perfect against Santana, he was. The A's were a clear underdog on paper and played better baseball today. As much as the result gives them a momentary advantage, we A's fans know that Fresh Hell awaits around every playoff corner. So good on ya, boys. And don't fuck up tomorrow.


At 11:27 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Just because you have your own place these days doesn't mean you should grow your hair long, drive a crappy looking motorcycle, and call yourself "Max".

Just sayin'.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woulda loved the live blog, especially since your A's are kicking ass.

Love having a TV sitting on my desk at work. Just watched the Big Hurt send one deeeep.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Bill Frist is an AL fan too. Just sayin'.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger April said...

You will be happy to know that I have added the A's to my list of teams I will now root for since the Astros are out of it all (dammit). It's a prestigous list, including the Mets and the Dodgers, which means my bases are pretty well covered.

Also, this made me laugh -

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Heavy Critters said...

Hey, I thought this was a poker blog. When did this suddenly become an A's blog?

OK, you're guys played well. Thomas showed his early/mid-nineties form, and Zito pitched well.

Whatever. We've still got four more games and a guy named "Boof" pitching for us.

Next time, we'll pop that Zito...

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great start Joe beating Santana in Mpls. but as you know you've been in this situation before. Close the fucking door this time man.

Hopefully my Cards can make it through the weak NL and face the A's in the WS.

I still have great connections for tickets in St. Louis, might have to put it on your destination list if both our teams can get lucky enough to make it that far.

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Whatever said...

Cardinals fan here too. Suddenly they look like contenders. Isn't playoff baseball awesome? I'm usually too stressed to enjoy but this year I'm not expecting much from my boys. Much more enjoyable that way.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Why didn't he keep Neshek or bring in I don't know maybe the best current closer in the game?

As soon as I saw Crain was pitching I gave Thomas an automatic home run. The guy has a lively fastball, but no moment.

Predictions today... Boof gives up 2 home runs but Twins manage a 5-4 win.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Randy G said...

Randy G said...
Well, speaking of daytime, playoff baseball, your boy Big Hurt has picked up in the post season where he left off in the regular season with a first at-bat bomb off of sure Cy Young winner Santana! Nice start, but I'm sure you're more concerned with the end and being the ever-most skeptic like myself being a Cubs fan the end is always in doubt:)

10:38 AM

Randy G said...
Now the Big Ouchy man has done it again. I guess he wants to make up for missing out on playing for the ring last year in Chi-town. This guy is for real.

12:27 PM

You didn't have the baseball blog up yet, so I had to go back to the last mention of America's pastime to throw my comments in there. That Sizeable Hurt man you guys have on your team is pretty good BTW.


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