By Jason Wojciechowski on June 27, 2004 at 5:55 PM
Oakland beat the Giants yesterday, 8-7 in 10 innings, evening the series at 1-1, but they paid a price for it.
First, Octavio Dotel appears to have caught the Oakland bullpen disease, since he allowed four runs in the ninth inning to blow his first American League save opportunity. He vultured the win, though, by pitching a scoreless tenth, then celebrating as Marco Scutaro brought Bobby Kielty home with the winning run in the bottom half of the inning.
Second, Rich Harden hurt himself in the game, separating his non-pitching shoulder (the same shoulder he's had trouble with in the past) on a defensive play at first base. Scott Hatteberg apparently made a bad throw that caused the whole thing, so I'm sure he feels terrible. I won't pile on him, as I'm sure other bloggers are. More to the point, it's unknown what the effect of the injury will be, how much time Harden will miss (if any), and so on.
Finally, Tim Hudson was placed on the DL yesterday, meaning no one had to be sent down for Octavio Dotel to join the team. Hudson has a strained stomach (boy, do I know how that one feels) muscle of some kind, and should apparently miss two starts. He claims he could pitch through it if he has to, but the A's would rather have him miss a little time and get himself to 100% health rather than pitch ineffectively and risk hurting himself further.
This is pretty awful timing, considering that the A's just traded Mike Wood to Kansas City, who could have come up and probably done a decent job for a few starts. On the other hand, Justin Duchscherer is already in the majors and doing good work in the bullpen (though not nearly as excellent as he started the year), and he's a very recent convert to the pen, so it's not as if he's forgotten how to start. Meanwhile, if Harden has to miss any time, Kirk Saarloos is still waiting in Sacramento. All of this is assuming the A's don't want to call up Joe Blanton until it's time to call him up permanently, which makes sense: why start his free-agency clock earlier than they have to?
The A's had a pretty good day offensively, pounding out fifteen hits for their eight runs, including four doubles and a homer, with only Eric Byrnes among the starters not earning his way on base at least once.
Bobby Crosby seems to be "hot" again, with two of the four Oakland doubles being his (he also added a single). By RARP and VORP, Crosby has been the sixth most valuable shortstop in baseball so far; the A's have to be pretty happy with that performance for their $300,000. Among rookies (or guys who I assume are rookies based on their AB totals), only Victor Martinez and Lew Ford rank ahead of Crosby in VORP so far. Unfortunately, both of those guys are in the AL, and Ford has received good press for his outstanding play after the Twins's injury situations, so I don't know if Crosby can be considered a front-runner for hardware at this point.