By Joe Stiglich
Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 at 7:33 pm in Uncategorized.
The A’s are flying high right now, having won nine straight, but you can’t overlook the fact that all but two of these victories have come against some pretty bad competition. The Cleveland Indians were 55-72 when the A’s rolled into Progressive Field last week, and their bumbling play showed how they attained that record. Boston arrived into Oakland with a 62-70 record, and in three straight losses at the Coliseum, they showed what a mess they are.
So with the A’s having swept both series from those teams, we take away two things:
1) The A’s know how to take care of business against the teams they should handle
2) The road is going to get much tougher as September unfolds.
That challenge should start over the next three days, as the Los Angeles Angels had won five straight before losing Sunday at Seattle. The Angels are 3 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the A.L.’s second wild card spot, and they know that time is running out, so they’ve got a lot to play for. The A’s will face the Angels four more times in Anaheim on their next road trip, then come home for three games against Baltimore and head right back to the road for a 10-game road trip against the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Yikes … But the A’s have risen to the occasion against the high-caliber teams all season, and recently they’ve pounded the low-caliber ones too.
–Brett Anderson impressed once again Sunday afternoon, allowing just one run over six innings against Boston. What a boost he has been to an A’s rotation that lost veteran Bartolo Colon to suspension for the rest of the regular season. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Anderson relied on his breaking ball more than usual because the velocity was a bit down on his fastball, “which is pretty typical for a guy going through extended spring training right now,” Melvin said in reference to Anderson having recently returned from reconstructive elbow surgery. “To give us three games with that kind of performance and the magnitude of the games, it’s really impressive.”
–I thought Josh Donaldson made a couple of real nice plays at third base Sunday. He made a diving stop to his left on Dustin Pedroia’s infield single in the sixth. Donaldson’s throw to second arrived a tad late to get Scott Podsednik on a force play. Then he leapt high to snare Ryan Lavarnway’s liner in the seventh. Aside from a couple of obvious mistakes that I’ve touched on before, Donaldson has been solid defensively at third since Brandon Inge went down with a shoulder injury. It’s crazy to think that when Donaldson arrived at spring training, he was still a full-time catcher stuck behind Kurt Suzuki. A lot changes over the course of a season …