By Joe Stiglich
Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 at 1:05 pm in Uncategorized.
Today’s lineups, as the A’s go for a four-game sweep of the Mariners and a .500 record for the season …
A’s — Davis CF, Ellis 2B, Cust DH, Suzuki C, Kouzmanoff 3B, Carter LF, Donaldson 1B, Hermida RF, Pennington SS; Braden LHP.
Mariners — Ichiro RF, Figgins 2B, Gutierrez DH, Smoak 1B, Bard C, Saunders LF, Halman CF, Mangini 3B, Wilson SS; Rowland-Smith LHP.
–Daric Barton’s strained quadriceps is still bothering him, though he’s available to pinch-hit. Josh Donaldson draws a rare start at first base, where he’s played plenty in the minors.
–Michael Wuertz won’t be available in the bullpen as he hasn’t thrown in a few days because of right thumb tendinitis. Wuertz said an offseason of rest should allow his thumb to heal, and he won’t require surgery.
–Holy cow, this season has flown by fast, but they all do. Here’s a few quick-hit observations/thoughts as the season draws to a close. Feel free to sound off on any of them.
***The A’s 2010 MVP: I think Trevor Cahill is a pretty obvious pick. Normally I’d go with a position player here, but Cahill’s mostly excellent work every fifth day is too much to ignore. He developed an effective curve ball and learned to locate his sinker and throw it to both sides of the plate. There’s no reason to think he won’t continue to get better.
While Cahill’s emergence was the biggest success story on the pitching staff, I’d say Gio Gonzalez’s season was the most surprising. I think the A’s envisioned Cahill someday being able to produce as he did this year. But based on Gonzalez’s inconsistency for much of 2008 and 2009, did anyone expect him to be a 15-game winner so soon? Not me …
**Dallas Braden’s perfect game was the biggest highlight of the A’s season, I think we’d all agree. But that unfolded in a gradual manner, with excitement building with each 1-2-3 inning Braden delivered. If I had to pick the best single play of the season, I’d go with Gabe Gross’ over-the-wall grab that robbed Detroit’s Gerald Laird of a homer May 29 at Comerica Park. Pretty amazing effort, and it sticks out in my mind more than any other play. You can watch a clip of it here. Coco Crisp turned in a couple of highlight-reel grabs that are strong runners-up.
–Mark Ellis certainly made his push for his 2011 option to be picked up based on his torrid September, when he hit .413 and set an Oakland record with 43 hits. But just as scouts caution that you can’t read too much into a young player who tears it up in September, I think the A’s should only lend so much weight to Ellis’ incredible month when they decide on his $6 million option. That’s a hefty investment for a team that needs to find a power hitter or two and typically isn’t a big spender in the offseason. However, I’ve got my own selfish reasons for wanting Ellis back. He’s money when it comes to a good quote and is one of the most likable and cooperative guys in the clubhouse from a media standpoint. I still think the most sensible move is for the A’s to decline his option and see if he’s willing to negotiate a new deal with a lower base salary. That might depend on what kind of interest Ellis thinks he could get from other teams, though he’s stressed how much he wants to return to Oakland.
–Gotta give a special tip of the cap to David Feldman, an A’s historian who’s been a huge help finding stats every time that I’ve hit him up with a request. Talk about a beat writer’s best friend …
And thanks to everyone for reading the blog and taking time to share your thoughts this season. Spring training will be here before you know it! …