Daily Archives: July 6, 2009

The Curse of the Wash!

ron-washington

With the A’s clearly on their way to another losing season, I’ve tried to figure out what is wrong with them for awhile now, but nothing seems to make sense. This has been one of the least fun A’s teams to watch, especially since they are constructed to win now, as far back as I can remember. Their defense is horrendous kicking around 56 errors so far this season. This definitely isn’t helping the confidence of the plethora of under 24 year old pitchers they are throwing out there on a nightly basis. It got me wondering how we got to the point where we just keep tallying the loss column. This year I blamed it on the signing of players that are past their prime and “the trade” (Holliday) which hasn’t panned out so far. So now, I have to boil it down to where everything started going wrong. Aside from their last playoff run under Bob Geren, he hasn’t kept the team competitive. 00I watched the Macha era, and he is about as boring of an interview as you’ll hear, but it seemed like the team was having fun playing for him. Maybe they overachieved for some of those division title years, but they always looked like they were having fun and were battling every game. This year’s team doesn’t have that same feel, they have the feel of the Bonds era Giants clubhouse, and rarely give me the feeling that they will come back when they are faced with any adversity in a game. I’ll attribute their downfall on two areas that sunk them: the fun and loose clubhouse, and the loss Ron Washington 2006!

Ron Washington resided with the A’s from 1997-2006 as their 3rd base and infield coach. He was credited for transforming many players, including six time gold glover Eric Chavez, into the defensive players that you expect to make every play. 040328_ron_washington_vmed_3p.widecHe was well documented in Moneyball for the role he played in transforming Scott Hatteburg into a serviceable first baseman. He’s an old school type coach, that preaches his philosophies with many examples and details. Wash wasn’t just the infield coach to the players, he was a mentor and the soul of the team that kept them loose all the time. In years past I didn’t worry about defense, because I expected them to make every play, even the tough ones! Instead of getting hired as the head coach, which I lobbied for heavily, he was picked up by the Rangers, and we hired Bob Geren. bgerenWhen you lose a coach of Washington’s status from a leadership standpoint,  it doesn’t matter who you sign in the offseason, or what savvy decisions you made to get some young prospects if there’s nobody helpful coaching them.

His time with the Rangers started rocky, but he has changed the culture there, as they are now in a tie with the Angels for first and on a five game winning streak replacing the lackluster A’s squad in the perennial  divisional battle with the Angels. It was either the A’s or Angels who has won the division since 2002, but this year Texas looks to change that. The Rangers have never lacked talent, they just lacked a guy like Wash to make them realize that they could win! The Rangers look like a loose team having fun, and playing well every night. Sound familiar A’s fans? It should! We gave away the most constant thing we had over our run of six winning seasons making the playoffs most of those years.

When the season mercifully comes to a close, I hope the A’s first order of business is to find a new Manager. If it isn’t, then I hope it’s because they are finalizing our new stadium deal. Since that second scenario will never happen, I’m praying for the first. If it isn’t then this will not be the last you will hear about the The Curse of the Wash!

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Big Night In Boston!

This is the night I’ve been waiting for!

Nomar Garciaparra made his long-awaited return to Fenway Park tonight.  But while the ovation he received from the fans was fantastic and well-deserved, that’s not what this is about.

What’s that you say?  It was also John Smoltz Fenway debut?  This definitely isn’t about that!

No, this is about the Athletics 21-year old pitcher, Brett Anderson, finally doing what we’ve all been hearing he was capable of.  Coming over from the Diamondbacks in the huge haul that was the Danny Haren deal, Anderson was widely regarded as the second best prospect of the bunch.  Once Carlos Gonzalez showed his ceiling as a lifetime quadruple-A player, Anderson emerged as the top prospect in the A’s system.  Working for the A’s triple-A club in Sacramento, and being 45 minutes from the single-A affiliate, has given me plenty of opportunities to check out the A’s young players.  Brett Anderson, along with other prized pitcher Trevor Cahill, however, spent all of last season in AA-Midland.  That’s in Texas, not really within driving distance.  So, that left me following box scores, and reading updates from Baseball America and Athletics Nation.

That was, until Anderson was moved up to AAA in time for the PCL playoffs last year.  I would finally get an up close look at the next great Oakland pitcher.  I won’t lie, it was sort of a letdown.  He had a great outing, don’t get me wrong.  If I recall, he threw 2 or 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 or 2 hits.  But nothing really stood out.  Not one dominant pitch, no crazy velocity, or filthy strikeouts.  I guess he was just a placement pitcher – not flashy, but efficient.  Fine by me, I guess.

But this year, since starting the season in Oakland, Anderson had yet to impress (5-7, 5.45 ERA).  Is he just another Gio Gonzalez? (I’m not ready to write him off, but I’m close)  Anyway, Cahill was the one looking like the future ace of the staff.

UNTIL TODAY.  Against the best team in the AL with the best home record in the major leagues at the most famed stadium in baseball, Brett Anderson threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout.  It wasn’t just the outcome though, he looked filthy doing it.  He struck out nine batters, and he did it with nasty curveballs, sliders, changeups, and oh yeah, a 97 mph fastball.  I don’t expect him to duplicate this performance every time out, but he finally showed what he’s capable of – on the game’s biggest stage no less.  All of a sudden, Anderson-Cahill-Mazzaro sounds a lot more like it’ll have the same ring to it for years to come that Hudson-Mulder-Zito did.


Matt Forte Bonanza

For some reason, searches about Matt Forte are off the charts.  More people end up at Doin Work after searching for Matt Forte than any other topic, BY A LANDSLIDE.  Can someone leave a comment and explain what the fascination with Matt Forte is?  I thought maybe the guy himself is searching himself every day to see what people are writing about him, but why would he click on our fantasy football mock draft over and over again?