By Jason Wojciechowski on April 7, 2004 at 3:25 PM
Oakland matched its start from last year by beating Texas again last night, and there's, as is usual when your team wins, more good than bad to point out from the box score.
Bobby Kielty had two more hits, one of them a triple, so he continued his very solid start. Mark Kotsay got his first hit as an Athletic, though he didn't really see very many pitches last night (11), especially considering he's Oakland's leadoff hitter.
Bobby Crosby finally got his first major league hit, a single, and he also walked his first time up. He was let down by Damian Miller each time, though, as Miller hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice his first time, and a 5-4-3 double play the second time Crosby was on base. This is, of course, in line with what we're expecting out of Miller. He's started the year 0-6, with a strikeout and a double play. One thing I hadn't noticed about Miller's statistical profile is that he does see a fair number of pitches. He didn't get enough AB's to qualify last year (and he shouldn't have), but his Pit/PA would have ranked him in the mid-30's in all of baseball, right around Jorge Posada-Raul Ibanez-Richie Sexson territory.
The other thing A's fans are expecting out of Miller is good defense, and while he allowed two stolen bases yesterday, he also threw out two runners trying to steal. I'll take a 50% caught-stealing rate any day of the week.
Last offensive note: Jermaine Dye hit a home run that the AP recap called "towering." Maybe he's back. On the other hand, Oakland was facing Kenny Rogers yesterday, a decent pitcher, but not ace material at this point in his career, and Chan Ho Park today. What Dye does in two games against a barrel-scraping staff can't really be called an indication of what he'll do all year. That said, he's already 20% of the way to matching his number of extra-base hits from last year.
Mark Mulder also appears to be back, and shutting down Texas's offense is more impressive than slamming their pitching. Even without Alex Rodriguez, and even with a pretty weak outfield, it's a decent offense that managed just six baserunners against Mulder all day and none against the bullpen (Jim Mecir and Arthur Rhodes pitched the eighth and ninth in perfect fashion). Mulder wasn't as pitch-efficient as he sometimes is, but 94 in seven innings is a lot better than we saw out of Tim Hudson yesterday.
Any negatives to point out come from the fact that Oakland managed only three runs, and only made Park throw 93 pitches in seven and two-thirds innings. At least this time around, it's the guys not expected to mash the ball (Scutaro, Miller, Hatteberg, Crosby) who aren't, while the hitters who are supposed to be hitting actually are.