By Jason Wojciechowski on April 14, 2006 at 12:40 AM
Billy Beane let us down on Wednesday night. Well, that's not entirely true. Beane let us down this winter when he signed Esteban Loaiza, who then, as Beane's agent, let us down Wednesday night. Five runs, given most of the A's starting pitchers and the bullpen, should be enough to win a lot of nights. With Loaiza on the hill, though, it's not. His six runs in four innings lost the game, and the fact that he gave up six hits, four walks, and two homers while not striking anyone out imply that he's likely to lose many more going forward, especially when we see that nine of his eleven outs (minus one double play) were in the air. What was so bad about Kirk Saarloos, again?
"Not a good outing again for Esteban. We need more out of him. ... We need him to get us (deeper) into games. That's what we need and that's why we signed him."
That's all you've got, Ken? No explanations of what's going wrong? No, "Damn that Billy - I liked Saarloos just fine" comments? Stir somethin' up, Ken!
Nick Swisher carried the offense, hitting two homers and a double to drive in four runs. There were no baserunners coming from the top of the order, though, as Marks Ellis and Kotsay went 0-4 each. Dan Johnson continued his hitless streak with another 0-4.
And because I'm getting to this writeup so late, I'm robbed of the opportunity to preview the next game, a game the A's already lost to Minnesota. As you might notice, that means the Twins swept the A's. As you'll recall, I mentioned that the Twins will sweep some team or two that are better than them this year. I also expressed a hope that this wouldn't occur on the A's watch.
The starting pitching let the A's down for the third straight day today, but the culprit this time was Joe Blanton, who gave up seven runs in six innings. Four of the eleven hits he gave up went for extra bases, but things don't look nearly as dire for Blanton as they do for Loaiza despite similar results: he managed four strikeouts, with prorates to six per nine innings, a perfectly viable number; he also got seven ground balls compared to six flyouts, which isn't great, but isn't a flyfest, either.
The A's just got dominated, since the offense managed just two runs against Kyle Lohse and two bullpenners. There were some highlights, though, including Frank Thomas knocking two hits and Nick Swisher knocking two more.
Ken Macha juggled the lineup, hitting Marco Scutaro leadoff (and playing him at second base), Swisher second, and Jay Payton seventh, playing center field. Scutaro leading off is terrible idea. Macha falls in love with the "hot hand" idea but fails to realize that Scutaro just isn't that great a hitter: a guy with a career .307 OBP doesn't belong in the leadoff hole. Whether he belongs in the lineup at all is a further question, but I'll lay off on that one: Mark Ellis has to get a day off sometimes, right?
Given the players who started today, I'd hit them like this: