Slap Hitter: A's great start must be stopped


Taking three in a row from the Red Sox at home followed by a series against the pitiful Giants, a pitching staff that surprisingly leads the pack in the American league while hovering a handful of games over .500 throughout the season after a 2-4 start. Hey it's 2007 and it's 2008. It's déjà vu all over again. The Athletics must have only watched the first part of the last season's highlight reel and said "let's do that again" forgetting that they drove the season into a ditch by Flag Day and wound up sinking swiftly into the west. So how does Oakland elude the karma that so evidently wants to run a reprise on last season, and can one in fact escape the wheel of fate? Yes, you can! Karma can't throw out what it can't catch (or rather if it can, you'll already be crossing home plate by the time it finds out).

We know that ballplayers playing well above sea level will come back to earth by the All-Star break. What if we get rid of them before gravity does its thing? Last year it was Chad Gaudin and Lenny DiNardo being played this season by Greg Smith and Dana Eveland. Two journeymen pitching their tails off until a June swoon. It's going to happen again. Their second time through the league will be half as bad as the third or fourth time. The obscure lefties are hourglasses with a healthy amount of sand still in them. How about getting rid of them now?

Bring up the swing shift, do the Sacramento shuffle, someone else to mesmerize the league for a few fortnights until its time to go back to the day crew. Is that a nice way to treat those fine young pitchers? No. Won't that mess with their heads, possibly roil team chemistry? Fo sho. But Billy likes to keep the players on their toes, what better way than a pre-emptive strike while the iron's hot?

Emil Brown - your fifteen minutes will be up in five. If I'm Beane I don't wait. Starting tonight I'd bench him til August. How is the opposition supposed to get a read on a team that switches books every weekend?

I recognize that this game of Roster three-card monte leaves out the human element. It's the sort of rip people made all the time in early-Moneyball era, that the A's management is a bunch of soulless automatons who trust the computer and not the player. So fuck em. Now we'll ignore the computer too! Let's break up a winning thing. Better that the media reports that the A's have lost their heads today than the stories in August that say the A's have lost their chance for a .500 season. So now that it's not time to make the move, the A's should make the moves. It will save them a long fall and then a longer summer.— Kibby Kleiman