By Jason Wojciechowski on April 9, 2010 at 8:30 PM
I did watch the last two innings of Game 3, and thus saw the awesome Kurt Suzuki walkoff almost-homer, but I didn't see anythign before it, so I can't comment on Justin Duchscherer or anything really substantive. Except to say that Kurt Suzuki is my favorite Athletic these days, I think. There are guys who likely have brighter futures (Brett Anderson, although maybe I shouldn't say "guys" because Anderson's probably the only one), enormous slugging dudes at AAA just waiting for their shot (Chris Carter), "failed" top prospects looking for redemption (Daric Barton), and all-around lovable dudes (Rajai!), but for whatever reason that you latch onto players, I've latched on to Suzuki.
If I'm being honest with myself, I'm admitting that rumors of a Suzuki extension combined with the fact that there isn't a major catching prospect coming up aside from Max Stassi, who's a long distance away, are influencing me: I don't like when my favorite players leave the team. I got attached to Jack Cust when I should have known, especially after the nontender episode this winter, that his spot on the team was endangered (putting aside the fact that he was one of the team's most valuable players, defensive shortcomings and all, for the last three years, and figured to be so again this year, along with Anderson, Suzuki, and maybe Kouzmanoff).
Anyway, then there was game four, the third straight win over the Mariners, and the game that gave the A's the best record in the American League! (As Ken Arneson said on Twitter, hooray for small samples!) Brett Anderson was dominant -- from MLB.tv (which I've decided is marginally usable on my TV, even with choppiness -- I'll just live with it until I can either get a new CPU (hopefully fixing the problem) or until the Roku app proves to be totally awesome), it looked like his sweeping breaking ball was especially sharp, getting swings and misses despite having some of that same "wow, I bet I could hit that" factor as Barry Zito's curve has on its best days. (The great difference between Anderson and Zito, of course, is that Anderson throws in the low- to mid-90s and has very good control. He's more Mark Mulder, I think, which is why I like him so much -- I loved Mulder and am frankly heartbroken that his career came out the way it did.)
The offense has also seemed solid, and it's really fun to watch Rajai Davis when he's on base. He still swings at too much garbage, but he's been on base enough early in the season to wreak a little havoc, including inducing a balk. Add that to some steals and a homer and you've got yourself a nice four-game approximation of Rickey Henderson. Not to mention his still-excellent defense in center field, now with Extra Homer Robbing. (The tip of the cap by Milton Bradley after Rajai took away at least a double (I'm not 100% convinced the ball was carrying out, but it certainly was close) was the little on-field non-play of the year so far for me, and part of the reason why, for all his troubles, Milton is a player I continue to root for even though he's now played for both the Rangers and the Mariners after leaving the A's. Of course, the second he joins the Angels, he's off my list. I can't be rational about the Angels. Which is why I'm utterly delighted that the A's opened up a 3-0 lead in the first against Matt Palmer tonight. More on that tomorrow, hopefully!)