By Jason Wojciechowski on April 21, 2004 at 6:54 PM
The Oakland offense let down a strong pitching performance last night. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Rich Harden became the latest guy to try to one-up the rest of the staff, throwing seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball. He did give up four walks, which has been his problem all along, but he also struck out nine. The walks and two of the hits didn't hurt him, though. His lone run was allowed on a seventh inning homer by Raul Ibanez, his first of two in the game. Ibanez's second homer was a game-winner in the ninth off of Jim Mecir.
You can't really begrudge Mecir the homer. He's been lights-out, and it happens. If the A's had scored more than one run against Ryan Franklin and Ron Villone, if they'd capitalized on their six walks with more than just a solo homer by Damian Miller, Mecir ... well, Mecir wouldn't even have been in the game. Arthur Rhodes would have been pitching the ninth for a save. As it happened, though, the middle seven in the order didn't manage a hit all night. Marco Scutaro got another double, his sixth of the year, and Mark Kotsay hit the A's only single, but nobody else could put a ball in. Walking is great for getting runners on, but it usually takes a hit or two to get them home.
I noticed that Bobby Crosby got only two at-bats, and that Esteban German actually batted, walking once in two trips, so I worried that Crosby had been injured. According to the recap, of course he was injured. He ran into Bobby Kielty and hurt his knee. This is the second Bobby Crosby collision to injure a player which makes me wonder if Crosby could use some "I got it" drills. This is also the second A's starting middle infielder to go down. Marco Scutaro is filling in nicely at second, but this slides him over to short and puts German at second full time (at least until Frankie Menechino and (ugh) Mark McLemore heal up), which is not so happy. I don't have a lot of faith in German, offensively or defensively, so all I can do is hope that the Crosby injury isn't more than a little boo-boo that'll keep him out with soreness for a few days.
All the mainstream buzz is on the Yankees getting Jose Vidro this summer, but don't count out the A's going hard after him. They've got more to offer than New York, you'd have to think. Omar Minaya might be a nice trade partner, too, because his value system is so different that he'd probably be happy with players Oakland is happy to give up.