If I only had one thing to say about this game, it would be this —
Please, please, please, let Ibanez defy expectations. Let my team win.
Overheard at the Ballpark, April 20th, 2004
“They can score a run with a sacrifice fly. Two, if it’s long enough.”
— with Winn on third and Bloomquist on second
If a sacrifice fly is long enough for someone to score from second, it’s called a home run.
Bonus Overhead at the Ballpark
“He’s turning into Cameron.”
— on Boone’s second strikeout, with a weird bitter twist on the Cameron
I don’t think people are neglecting baseball because they’ve lost faith in the team, but because it’s just not that nice. It gets chilly pretty fast, even with the roof closed, and when I’m seeing my breath in the seventh, and my back starts to stiffen up, I start to think “is this really worth it?”
The difference in temperature on clear and semi-clear nights is noticeable from inning to inning and especially from hour to hour. If the team was really concerned about turnout, they’d schedule early season games a little earlier — shave an hour off, even, start at six, that’s still prime time, and it’s not as if game-day traffic’s going to get any worse.
We managed to avoid extra innings tonight, which is good because staying up for last night’s game and then having to be at work at 6am today was pretty rough. Of course, I work an afternoon shift tomorrow so it didn’t matter too much, but still.
Rauuuuul. What more can you say? He showed no power at all the first ten games of the year, and now all of the sudden he’s Barry Bonds (well, except for the absurd walk totals). Will it continue? Of course not. But enjoy it while it lasts.
Very nice to see the pitching come around during this little streak. I was quite encouraged by Garcia’s performance yesterday — he still could be just teasing us, but 18 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 homer and a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings isn’t too shabby.
Raul Ibanez is on fire. Credit where its due, but he’s carrying the offense right now.
Great win. 4 straight, including two in a row over Oakland. Welcome to the actual baseball season, folks. Those first ten days were just a bad dream.
It isn’t often that a team will score 2 runs in 14 innings, half of them via a gift balk, and actually impress with their offensive output. While everyone else is jumping on the optimsim train at the Freddy Garcia station, last night’s game represents an improved offensive performance that should cause just as much reason for joy; the team drew eight base on balls and had eighteen baserunners. That only two of them scored doesn’t show a lack of clutchness or any such character weakness, but rather that the A’s pitchers are good, the M’s hitters are average, and things like that will happen in 162 games. Getting a dozen and a half baserunners against Oakland’s pitching, though, that’s cause for celebration.
Also overlooked in the reasons for hope category is the surprising start of Raul Ibanez, at least at the plate. He’s only hitting .238 and his OPS of .829 still wouldn’t be worthy of the contract the M’s bestowed upon him during the offseason, but he’s not performing like the Ibanez that Kansas City had the past three years, and that is actually a good thing. Last year, Ibanez drew one walk for every 12.4 at-bats he had, and 31 percent of his total hits were extra base knocks. This year, in a ridiculously small sample that isn’t significant enough to even predict that the sun will come up tomorrow, he’s walking once every 5 at-bats and 60 percent (6 out of 10) of his hits have been non-singles. Ibanez will likely revert to form, but right now, he’s at least displaying the skills that could possibly make him a useful hitter. Now, if we could just do something about his little league level defense.