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Don't ask us. We don't know what Art was thinking. Maybe he had some insight to start Randy Velarde at first base. Because the logic escapes us.

Randy hits right-handed. Okay, then WHY start David Justice? Why start Terrence Long? Why start Eric Chavez?

Here are some options for Art:

Jason Grabowski L OF/C/1B .294/.387/.536
Cody McKay L C/1B .288/.337/.439
Jose Flores R SS/3B/OF .306/.380/.397
Adam Piatt R OF/1B .295/.385/.462
Eric Byrnes R OF .253/.304/.422
John Mabry L OF/1B .286/.318/.549
Greg Myers L .231/.344/.403

Instead, Art started the game with three second basemen in the lineup for a team that has been struggling offensively. Olmedo Saenz, still bothered with a finger injury was unavailable.

How can you not give Jason Grabowski some at-bats? The A's haven't had a double in over a week and Grabowski is a slugging machine. Cody McKay couldn't do much worse than Ramon at the plate and he could have all the pitching signs called form the dugout. HELL, they used to do it with Terry Steinbach and he was a 12 year veteran.

When it came to take Mark Mulder out of the game after 115 pitches and nine shut out innings, what do you say? Probably something along the lines of, "we'll get you a run in the bottom of the 9th". How about, "can you go three more batters?".

Bringing in Billy Koch on consecutive nights without a save on the line is a disaster waiting to happen. Koch was not the best option out of the pen. Koch is a flyball pitcher. Mulder had gotten 12 groundballs and two in the top of the 9th. Bringing Jim Mecir or Chad Bradford out of the pen to pitch to the Angels makes a heck of a lot more sense than Billy Koch on zero days rest. But, the A's won Monday with the formula and Art can't be expected to use that lump three feet above his ass more than once in a week.

Now, do you bring out Billy Koch if there's a save to be had tonight? Probably not. So the closer is wasted because he was misused the last two nights.


The A's got three hits last night. Three damn hits. Two from Mark Ellis.

Jarrod Washburn got 17 flyball outs and none of them left the yard.

Facing a guy pitching on three days rest it looked like the A's had Washburn on the ropes as early as the 1st inning. The A's worked the count and fouled off a few pitches. Washburn had to throw 24 pitches to get out of the first.

Knowing that Washburn had a 100-pitch limit, four more innings of that patience and the A's could have knocked Washburn out by the fifth and gotten into the Angels bullpen that had been taxed. The bullpen for the Angels has been used a lot lately. The thinking would be to get to the bullpen early and put them away for the rest of the series, ensuring a four game sweep and a two game lead in the AL West.

Instead, the A's are a game back and in danger of being three back when the series is over and only nine games left in the season.

In the second, Jermaine Dye saw six pitches before singling to center. Then David Justice decided that he didn't need to be part of the team. They guy who went 1 for 15 (.067) against the Angels in the recent series in Anaheim and 2 for 20 (.100) on the road trip swung at the first pitch and flew out to right. Not only did he not take a strike, he didn't even take a pitch.

Randy Velarde, who is still with Oakland, seemingly because the A's don't want a 38 year old second baseman they are paying $1 million to be back watching the game in Texas, saw four pitches before flying out to right (the A's have four second baseman on their roster Frank Mennechino, Ray Durham, Mark Ellis and Velarde while Jose Flores could play at second, too...WHY?).

Then came Terrence Long. With a runner at first and two outs T Long swung at the first pitch and flew out to right.

Terrence Long went 2 for 15 (.133) in the recent series in Anaheim and still found himself in the lineup. He went 2 for 26 (.192) on the road trip. Yet, he gets to play everyday. WHY?

In the third, Ramon continued the pitch selection of, "if it's out of his hands I can swing at it". He swung at the first pitch from Washburn and fouled it back and flied to right on three pitches. The next three batters all took a strike looking before swinging at anything. Ellis singled after Durham grounded out and Miguel Tejada left him at first after driving a ball to the wall in deep left center for a long out, on two pitches.

And that pretty much was the story. Sure Washburn looked good. He threw mostly fastballs and when the A's saw breaking balls they buckled at the knees. But, he was not overpowering in the way that Mulder was. Mulder has one win in his last four starts despite lowering his ERA a full run in that time. Ridiculous. Until David Justice's at bat in the tenth, no A's batter had an at bat more than six pitches.

That's a corner stone for the A's. Getting on base in a 10 pitch at-bat garners a free dinner at FRANCESCO'S RESTAURANT courtesy of the A's coaching staff. That means something coming from guys who make a tenth of what the players do.

It was an ugly scene in Oakland last night and Art Howe had better start feeling the heat because Ken Macha is ready for a manager's job. Howe's nice guy media persona and relaxed and not worried attitude is showing up in the A's bats. They have no sense of urgency and are flinging at the ball willy-nilly and not staying with the game plane.

In short, they were losing games they were supposed to win and now are in a position of losing games they HAVE to win.

Let the call go out from this time and place: BENCH TERRENCE LONG.

If you don't gain anything from his replacement, it sure as hell isn't going to hurt you by not having him in the lineup.

If it's presented as punishment for poor play, lack of focus and an attitude that needs counseling, the team would understand.

As for now, the A's are lucky Seattle has fallen of the face of the earth.

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