|For What It's Worth|
|Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down|
|Written by Lawr Michaels|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012 00:00|
If you are old enough to remember the late 60's, then you remember the Buffalo Springfield tune, "For What It's Worth."
Well, to begin with the trivial, three of the principles of Buffalo Springfield were Neil Young, Steven Stills and Jim Messina, all of whom went on to pretty successful musical careers after their time in the legendary Canadian band.
But, equally important, "For What It's Worth" begins with the great lines:
"There's something happening here
Well, if you have been following the Oakland Athletics, let alone spending time at the O.co Coliseum, those words might strike you, for as of a few hours ago, when Oakland dispatched the Yankees for the second straight evening, beating the Bronx Bombers on consecutive days in their home for the first time since 2006.
In the process, Oakland also stopped the Yankees consecutive game streak wherein the New Yorkers had tallied at least three runs over 43 straight games by beating them 3-2, with a walk off single by Brandon Moss in the bottom of the ninth.
In truth it has indeed been a while since the Athletics fielded a team that merited a lot of interest, but with the win, which put the Oaklanders five games over .500 at 49-44, putting the squad at 12-2 for the month of July, six games behind the second place Angels, in what now may be the toughest division in the AL, let alone majors.
So far this year, Brandon Moss and Chris Carter are a combined .263-16-29 over 129 at-bats covering first base for the Athletics. Last year over 382 at-bats between Daric Barton and Brandon Allen manning first were .209-3-32 and a year earlier, with Barton playing first base for 159 games and 556 at-bats, .273-10-57 was the total.
That means the Moss/Carter tandem are essentially already better than anything Oakland has put at first for the past two years, in one-third of the time.
With center fielder Coco Crisp red-hot (.328-2-4 over his last 17 games, with nine runs and three swipes. Newbie Yoenis Cespedes is equally smoking (.333-5-14 over his last 21 games) while Josh Reddick, with three hits Friday, lifted his his season totals to .274-21-46.
As for their pitchers, Travis Blackley (2-2, 2.86), Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88), Jarrod Parker (6-4, 3.16), A.J. Griffin (2-0, 2.70), Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.54), and Tommy Milone (9-6, 3.38) are good, and getting better.
In fact on Friday Milone tossed seven shutout innings, limiting the Yanks to six hits while whiffing ten, walking none, and never throwing a pitch over 89 MPH. He threw first pitch strikes to 22 of the 25 hitters he faced, losing a win to homers to Russell Martin (allowed by Jerry Blevins in the eighth) and Robinson Cano (allowed by eventual winner Ryan Cook in the top of the ninth).
Still, it is hard to imagine the Athletics so successful with Brandon Inge (.207-7-38) holding third, Cliff Pennington (.197-3-16) at short, and Kurt Suzuki (.213-0-16) behind the dish, but somehow of late if not one of the above, then the likes of Seth Smith (.248-10-32) or Jonny Gomes (.250-10-28) provide the unlikely heroics.
Like Buffalo Springfield noted, whatever is happening is not clear. And, though it might not last, the extra playoff spot makes for some fun possibilities.
It also make going to the Oakland yard these days just about as much fun as hitting ATT. And that is not a bad thing.