Derek Lowe's sinker sank and Barry Zito's curve ball didn't break. In a single line, that sums up the game last night in Boston. Sure the A's won the series, but missed a chance to move a half game behind the tailspinning Anaheim Angels.
Instead Boston got a boost of confidence and moved up a full game in the Wild Card standings. Oakland moves on to face New York for a three game series this weekend. The A's travel coordinator could not have picked a worse time to face New York. Mariano Riverareturned from his stint on the DL yesterday and notched the save as the Yankees beat the Royals 6-3. Just what the A's don't need, a confident Yankees team.
Sure, Giambi's back is hurting him, Jeter is being roasted in the press, Raul Mondesi is being rather, ugh, Raul Mondesi-like and Jeff Weaver looks more like a punch drunk pitcher than a pitcher ready to get punch outs.
But, they're the Yankees and with Roger Clemens and Rivera back they can afford for Mike Mussina to be lost and Rondell White to be play Magellan in the outfield.
Zito in Trouble?
Barry Zito doesn't look like Barry Zito. His walk totals are up in his last five games and his curve ball doesn't look like Lord Charles. Earlier in the year when the Yankees (damn Yankees, again) came calling they were effective in laying off on the curve ball. Then Zito started wandering around with its location. It got up, which made it's bend less severe and a few people teed off on it. He went to his change up and he got hammered with that when he started throwing it on the first pitch instead of the curve ball.
Zito has been a work in progress this season, having to make more adjustments than he has in the past to what hitters are doing. Last season, during the second half, Zito was just playing catch. All of his pitches were working. It became just a matter of how the outs were going to come. By ground out or strike out, but they were going to come.
This season, Zito has had to work hard to get his outs.
This year has been a year of serious double play action for Zito and he got two last night to get Manny Ramirez in the 8th and Floyd in the 3rd. Of course, Floyd came up in the 8th and jack hammered a changeup into the right field stands to give the BoSox an insurance run.