By Jason Wojciechowski on April 17, 2012 at 12:05 AM
No pitcher is as good as the A's make him look, but: Hector Noesi is probably not as good as the A's made him look.
Trading shutouts is such an A's-Mariners thing to do, isn't it?
Tom Milone finished with what I'm pretty sure are going to be the type of numbers he puts up all year: half of his balls in play in the air, one homer in six innings, five whiffs and two walks. That's not great, but I was impressed with his nine swinging strikes in ninety pitches despite last cracking 90 mph the night before in MLB: The Show.
I have to say, also, that I'm a tad disappointed in the way he's pitched so far given his control-artist reputation. You don't see him missing in when the pitch is supposed to be out, sure, but he's also not popping the mitt exactly where the catcher puts it, the way everyone made it sound he was doing in spring training. He strikes me so far as more of a nibbler whose stuff doesn't entice people to make weak contact as much as he'll need them to in order to succeed. I'm having Dana Eveland flashbacks is what I'm saying.
Fautino De Los Santos is being used in suspiciously low-leverage situations so far. Suspicious, I say, in terms of being considered any type of closer of the future. Dare I say that Ryan Cook has surpassed him in that department?
Jesus Montero caught this game, and while his pitch-framing and receiving did not seem, say, Posada-ian, Josh Donaldson stole a base on him easily. His jump was fine, not amazing, and, as a former catcher, Donaldson hasn't impressed me with his speed, but Montero's "pop time" was so horrendous that the steal was completed easily. The throw was also off-line, but you wonder how much of that was a rush because Montero knows how slow his throwing mechanics are.
Still, Mike Piazza was terrible at caught-stealing, but it turns out that he might actually have been adding runs in other phases of the defensive game (or taking them off -- however you want to phrase it, he was good for his team) in ways that are harder to see and less easily quantifiable. Is it possible that Montero could be a 20% caught-stealing guy who, if given the chance to catch, could still produce massively for his team on offense while providing at least adequate defense? Certainly. I'm loath to quibble with Seattle's decision to use him as a DH and backup catcher, though. (Except insofar as the backup DH is Miguel Olivo, normally the starting catchr. What a waste.)
The A's had a run "taken away" in the eighth when Jemile Weeks ripped a ball to center with Cliff Pennington on first base. With Pennington running from the crack of the bat, he would have scored easily had the ball not hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double. Query also whether Weeks would have got to third, especially with Chone Figgins (and his less-impressive-than-Michael-Saunders arm) playing center.