King Football and the sinking A’s

Before I start this morning, just wanted to mention that it took 13 minutes for ESPN’s SportsCenter to mention even a single word about baseball on Sunday. Such is the curse of football season, where all the athletes are as pure as freshly fallen snow. Just something to chew on.

As for the Giants and the A’s, well, the offseason can’t get here soon enough. I’ll blog about the A’s this morning, though, because there are a couple of issues facing them as they embark on the final three weeks.

1) What has happened to Dan Haren?:

Obviously, there’s rarely a black-and-white answer when a pitcher hits a slide the way Haren has recently. But from watching him both in person and on television in recent weeks, it appears a) his split-fingered pitch has lost its bite and too often hangs in the zone, and b) he and catcher Kurt Suzuki don’t appear to be as at ease with each other as Haren and Jason Kendall were, and to a degree that’s to be extended. Keep in mind, too, that Haren was bound to hit a relatively rough bump in the road after spending most of the first four months with an ERA under 2.00 and and opponents average under .200. He’s good, but he ain’t Bob Gibson good.

2) Should they shut down Chad Gaudin?:
It’s an issue the powers that be should be exploring. Gaudin has never ome close to pitchingd this many innings at the major-league level, and his total dwarfs last season’s. It’s been apparent to those who follow the team closely that he’s had very little for about the past month. With the team going nowhere, it might not be a bad idea to sit down Gaudin, or at least skip him for a start. You don’t want the physical toll of 2007 to carry over into 2008.

3) Will we see Daric Barton?:

Yes, it appears. Even though Sacramento’s season is not done, the A’s will bring him up. Barton, of course, has been their most high-profile prospect since coming over with Haren in the trade for Mark Mulder in December 2004. Still, such a short exposure will make it difficult to gauge just what Barton may be able to give the A’s next season, or just as important, what he might bring in a trade.

Anyway, not much else going on with regard to the local baseball teams. It was a little bit sweet, personally, to see the Rangers cap off that sweep on Sunday. Ron Washington is starting to make a difference with that team, and he was always great to me during his time with the A’s. So I’ve “adopted” the Rangers as a team I’d like to see do well.

By the way, did want to mention that I saw a little more than a half of the Raiders-Lions game, and my wholly amateuristic analysis: They still stink. Josh McCown looks promising, and the offense may be able to dink and dunk and score some points. So they might not be 2-14 bad anymore, but then again, what does that say? Their supposedly strong defense didn’t impress me, and somebody should let Al Davis know that it’s criminal to force his customers to stomach anymore of Sebastian Janikowski.