The Oakland A’s won their league-leading 45th game on Thursday night against the Red Sox, and they did it in typical A’s fashion.
You know …
- Scott Kazmir, who two years ago was out of baseball entirely, pitching seven strong innings and making just one mistake all game, maintaining a 2.08 ERA and notching his ninth win, both of which rank in the top three in the American League.
- Luke Gregerson, who the Padres thought was washed-up, recording a hold and lowering his ERA to 1.86.
- Dan Otero, who was claimed off waivers from the Giants two years ago, notching his first career save.
- And the big man at the plate? Stephen Vogt, their third-string catcher playing right field who spent the majority of the season in the minors, delivering two RBIs on the night to lead the way.
Yeah, just the typical Oakland “who the hell are these guys” A’s getting the job done, this time with a 4-2 win over the defending champs. The Athletics have the best record in the majors, a six-game lead over the Angels in the division, and are on pace to win 100 games.
It’s ridiculous to think about how well the A’s can mix-and-match players. There are platoons, changes to the lineup order, and guys playing positions that they’ve never even played before. For example, Vogt playing right field or Alberto Callaspo playing second base, as well as third, first and DH. Yet, there are no complaints. No one is whining to the press about not getting enough at-bats, not hitting high enough in the lineup, or moving from position to position on the field. Bob Melvin makes the calls, the players buy in, everyone contributes. That’s why they’re so good, and that’s why they win games against the Yankees and the Red Sox of the world.
— Yoenis Cespedes hit a homer, and he nearly took one away. He gave the A’s a 2-0 lead with a towering shot to center in the third. In the sixth – and this was Kazmir’s lone blemish – he came within inches of robbing Dustin Pedroia of a two-run homer, but the ball bounced off his glove as he reached over the wall in left.
— Josh Donaldson is slowly but surely breaking out of his slump. He is still hitting below the Mendoza line for the month, but has hit safely in five straight games. Tonight, he went 1-for-4, hitting a screamer off the left field wall for a long single.
— You have to feel sorry for Jake Peavy, the Red Sox starter. He receives the second-lowest run support in the AL, and only got two runs tonight. He has won just one game on the year in 14 starts. Peavy’s frustration showed tonight when he started screaming at himself after throwing a bad pitch, a la Grant Balfour.
— Speaking of frustration, we can all revel in A.J. Pierzynski being robbed of a game-tying home run to end the game. In the bottom of the ninth with two out and a man on, the Red Sox catcher hit one very well to center, but just missed it and Coco Crisp tracked it down at the wall. Pierzynski’s reaction was exactly what you thought and hoped it would be: he took off his helmet and slammed it to the ground. I don’t like to laugh at other people’s misfortunes, but I’ll happily make an exception here.