Series win against the Orioles; bulls in a china shop

By Jason Wojciechowski on July 20, 2006 at 3:56 AM

Two more games, two more wins, one more East Coast series to the A's. I caught the end of today's afternoon matchup (morning matchup for those on the west coast) on Gameday whilst at "work."** It was obviously a very nice outcome, with Barry Zito getting through seven innings, allowing just one run, getting a bunch of double plays, and the offense putting up a slew (three) of home runs.

Milton Bradley's got nine hits in his last five games, and he's been batting third, which looks like a great idea with Bobby Crosby struggling to do anything but hit the occasional ground ball through the hole (though he added a homer in game two of the series), Mark Ellis struggling (though he also added a homer), Mark Kotsay having apparently lost all semblence of power, Eric Chavez hurt and apparently unable to really drive the ball, Jay Payton making as many outs as he ever does (but minus the power), and Bobby Kielty as inconsistent against right-handers as usual. In other words, the offense sucks, and it's up to Milton Bradley and Frank Thomas to carry the offense. That's a couple of china plates in the bull-infested shop that is Oakland these days, though, so there's certain to be a lot of worrying in A's fandom over the next few months.

For today, though, we can celebrate, because the two men with dual reputations for grumpiness and lumber-swinging went for five hits (two homers) in eight at-bats this afternoon, giving Zito all he needed to work with.

Plus, the Angels finally lost again, so the A's are up to a 1.5 game lead in the West. That feels like a veritable cushion after the last few days.