Did you wake up this morning with sweaty palms? Darting eyes? Short, rapid breathing? Emotional priapism? Save your time and money, and don’t bother going to the doctor for a diagnosis. You’re just suffering from...
Warning: interleague fever may cause heart palpat...hey, wake up! This is serious business. We’re talking about the Oakland Athletics here -- our bitter geographic rivals! Every year, this torrent of emotion makes it hard to concent..zzzx...zzzz...mmszzzzz....yes ms. pemberton?....zzznzzzz....no, i....i...don’t have the assignment....zzzz...no, i...i..don’t know where my pants went...szzzzz...the principal’s office? but ms. pemberton....
Whoa. Sorry, I must have fallen asleep in mid-sentence. So, fine, I guess interleague play is pretty dull in spirit. But what about the A’s? Pretty dull in reality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan. Kind of. When there isn’t anything else on, including any "Kate and Allie" reruns on Nick at Nite, I’ll probably watch the A’s game and root for them against their AL opponent. My like of the A’s is akin to my appreciation of a well-written piece of film criticism on a movie I like. My love for the Giants is like watching and enjoying that movie, even though it always ends with the head of the detective’s wife in a box.
The A’s can pitch, but they can’t hit, kind of like a poor man’s Padres. Gee, but it’s been so long since we’ve been able to watch a series filled with one-run games and viral frustration.
Hitter to watch:
Daric Barton was a young hitter with a promising minor-league track record. He struggled in his initial exposure to the majors. Here’s where it gets weird, though. Instead of relying on an old ‘n’ busted veteran to relegate Barton to the bench or minors, the A’s decided to let Barton play! He has an OBP around .400, and he’s been one of their better hitters.
Note this isn’t a requiem for Travis Ishikawa, but more of a "Why didn’t Bowker or Schierholtz replace Winn last June?" jab, conveniently timed to appear after Bowker’s first or second good game of the year.
Pitcher to watch:
Oh, I can’t single out just one. Let’s take a look at the possible narratives:
- Trevor Cahill - Young, wildish pitcher who relies on teams to put the ball in play and swing at bad balls.
- Gio Gonzalez - Young, wild pitcher who can overpower at times if he can get teams to chase.
- Ben Sheets - Old veteran with some life left in his arm. He needs to make a start to build up his confidence, against a team that will chase breaking balls in the dirt or pop up fastballs after working a 2-0 count. If only there were a match out there....
If it seems like they’re all bad pitchers for the Giants to face, congratulations, you’ve seen through the matrix. The Giants don’t fare well against pitchers. Whenever the "pitcher to watch" is a pitcher, watch out: those guys give the Giants fits.
Flipping back and forth between the Giants and A’s broadcasts will make you think of Frank Stallone, Billy Ripken, and Roger Clinton.