An Occasion of Good Cheer: D’Backs 6 — A’s 4
Winning can happen when your pitching staff doesn’t give away the store. The good Claudio Vargas, the one who gets through the first inning unscathed, appeared at the Oakland Coliseum last night, and pitched shut out ball until the 6th. While he was being effective, so was the Arizona offense. The D’Backs scored three runs. Vargas started to wilt after the 90th pitch and the A’s tied the score in the 6th 3-3. But they only tied it. The roof did not cave in. (Maybe that’s because the Coliseum doesn’t have a roof!)
In the 7th, the D’Backs scored 3 more, putting them ahead for good. The rally was sparked by an infield hit by a certain ever-hustling outfielder the A’s mistakenly traded last year.
Reliever Brandon Medders, who pitched the 7th and 8th innings, gave up a run, BUT ONLY 1 RUN. That made the score 6-4 and that was how it ended. Jorge Julio, out to prove that the bad pitching virus he apparently came down with the night before was only a 24-hour bug, slammed the door on the A’s in the 9th. I was there and could feel his determination as he warmed up on the mound before closing out the Oaklanders.
Maybe this is the turnaround the Snakes need as they enter a new month and the second half of the season.
The Eric Byrnes line for the night: 1-4 and a walk, with 1 R, BA .289. He now has a little three-game hitting streak. No Ks tonight.
1-4 does not help Byrnesie’s batting average, which slipped a point this game; He left runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out when he lined to right in the 4th. I want to see Byrnesie’s clutchness get stronger, so I wanted those RBI. He hit some foul balls this game that showed his timing is still just a bit off. And he was stranded at 3rd after walking his second time up. Yeah, I’m picky. And good cheer doesn’t quite cut it for me anymore. I’ve grown addicted to true elation and was hoping for TE-12 this time.
Schadenfreude time. Byrnesie’s fate in Oakland was sealed last year when CF Mark Kotsay agreed to a three-year contract extension and LF Jay Payton, whom the A’s had wanted when he signed with San Diego, was made available by Boston. Kotsay went 0-5, including a fly out to Byrnes. Payton had a much better night, getting two singles and getting HBP. He scored after the HBP and the second single. He was kept off the bases once, when Eric Byrnes picked a fly ball off his shoe tops in the 4th. I didn’t see that. I was in the ladies room donning my Byrnesblog jersey under my Byrnes/D’Backs T-Shirt because it had started to get cold. But I heard it in the bathroom because the A’s broadcast in there so we know what’s going on.
I am still thinking that maybe I am in a phase in which Byrnesie does better when I am not watching in real time. If this is the case, he should be back to .300 soon. I have to work at the radio station during the games the next four days. Maybe I’ll not watch in real time until after the All-Star Break and then start up again and see what happens.