Corey Lidle is locked in and Jermaine Dye is hot. That's all the A's needed to brush aside their AL Central foes the White Sox on Friday night.
Corey Lidle is so good right now you wonder how he could have been that bad earlier in the season. He has not been scored on in 22 consecutive innings.
The A's bullpen is also reaping the rewards of the starting pitching and finally falling into their expected rolls. Previously, the bullpen was either overworked or in flux due to inconsistency.
Saturday I said I'm Sorry
Lost in Saturday afternoon's back of the hand wake up to the White Sox was a few milestones. David Justice got his 1,000 RBI and first 3 RBI game as an Athletic (I'm not going to mention that it took Justice 82 games or that he left 6 on base-I'm not going to write that), Miggi got his 100th RBI-his third consecutive year with 100 RBI, Jim Mecir and Art Howe got tossed for retaliation and T Long continued his 0 for streak to 13 at-bats.
Miggi hasn't had much need for a shave latley as opposing pitchers have been using his head for an aiming point recently. To the credit of Miggi and the A's staff they haven't retaliated. Well, Miggi got hit in the head in the 3rd and then in the elbow where he now sports an elbow pad (in between the sleeve Jason Giambi wears and the Space Shuttle sized elbow pad Barry Bonds wear) in the 8th.
This is a smelly issue for the A's. They can't afford to give away their better judgement and start throwing at opposing batters. The A's strength is their pitching and their weakness is their inconsistent hitting. I don't foresee any of the A's partaking in spiking or late slides anytime soon, either. The best possible situation is for somebody to hit Olmedo Saenz. He's a powder keg waiting to go off. His left hip is as big as his ass right now from being nailed by pitches. Losing Olmedo for a game or even a few with a suspension would not be as costly as losing a starter or reliever to suspension.
The White Sox picked a very peculiar situation to nail Miggi. Billy Koch had pitched the previous games and would not be needed as the A's were firmly in control of the game. Would you rather be hit by Chad Bradford's frisbee or Koch's 98 mph cutter? Further, if the A's decided to retaliate in Sunday's game it would give the White Sox an advantage in trying to salvage a game in the series.
Art Howe came out to argue the fact that he knew he was going to get tossed. When both benches were warned it basically gave Art a chance to gather his things since he was leaving in the top of the 9th. Art basically went out ot get his money's worth.
The odd thing was the A's almost missed their chance to nail the ChiSox's SS. The A's missed a double play when John Crede ground into the fielder's choice. With Royce Clayton coming to bat Art was already standing in in the dugout.
``I wouldn't respect their guys if they didn't hit me.''-Royce Clayton after being hit with a pitch in the 9th
Sunday Came and Trashed Me Out Again
Barry Zito was wobbly but the A's bullpen picked up the slack and Terrence Long gave some sign that he's not devoid of hitting a baseball.
Zito was noticably upset when Art Howe came out to yank him only 2/3 of the way through the 6th. But, Barry was up to 92 pitches and the bullpen was fresh. This was a positive move for Howe. It affirms his confidence in the pen and sends a message to the starters that you're not going to be allowed to pitch very long if you aren't aggressive-even if you have a lead.
Long's two two-run homeruns make the second time this year he has produced two homeruns in a game. So, that makes 122 games with a total of 7 homeruns and 2 games with 4.
Long was his typical delusional self telling the print media he hadn't done anything different. During the game, all FOX Sports' Greg Pappa and Ray Fosse could talk about was the adjustments hitting coach Thad Bosley had made with Long earlier before batting practice. Pappa went on to glow about the BP Long had.
We don't care.
Just keep you hands back and adjust, T Long.
Both of Long's homeruns landed on the concrete steps in right center (not the bleachers as the print media suggested). This bodes well for Long who might finally be showing signs of being coachable.