Inside Pitch for the week of July 26 - Oakland A's

The A's finished off an up and down week, which saw them drop two games to last place Seattle and then win two of three over first place Texas. Find out who is hot, who has been struggling and other updates on the roster in this edition of <i>Inside Pitch</i>.


What looked like a feel-good story turned into a "oh no, not-again" story for Mark Redman, Bobby Crosby and the A's on Thursday (July 22).

Crosby had three hits, including a game-tying home run, and took away two hits with great defensive plays through seven innings in the first game Redman started since an incident last weekend -- when Crosby didn't turn a double play and didn't appreciate Redman's body language on the field.

But with the game tied at 2-all, Crosby booted a grounder with one out in the eighth inning and Bret Boone followed with a two-run home run, the difference in a 4-2 loss to Seattle.

Crosby and Redman hashed out whatever hard feelings existed on the day after their incident, issuing mutual apologies, and Crosby had done a little of everything in the five games after that.

He made all the routine plays, one or two spectacular plays a night, hit three home runs, legged out an infield single and stole second to get in position to score of a tie game.

"The score would have been a lot higher if he didn't make all those plays," Redman said. "Not just tonight, but this whole series and really since my last start when we had that incident. I'll give anything to pick him up. He sure picked me up all night.

"I just don't want him to hang his head all night, and I know the team doesn't want him to, either. He's been playing outstanding."

Crosby is such a perfectionist, however, that he spent the flight back to Oakland thinking about the error more than his home run and two great plays.

"I take errors hard anyway," Crosby said. "I'll get more upset over an error than anything else. When something happens after it, that makes it even more tough. If I make an error and no runs score, I can relax and say it happens. But when I make an error and somebody hits a big home run, it's extra tough."

After the inning, Redman came over to Crosby on the bench and told him, "You're all right."

The previous incident was on Crosby's mind, and the rookie said, "It was a pretty classy move and I appreciated it."


--LHP Barry Zito received a rare visit on the mound from A's manager Ken Macha on Wednesday (July 21). Usually, Macha only makes pitching changes. But after watching the leadoff batter reach base in five straight innings, Macha had seen enough. Macha and Zito both would say later the meeting was a pep talk, but it was clear from the video cameras it was a rare heated moment by the manager directed at a player in public.

--LF Eric Byrnes has hit a home run in each game that former A's infielder Carney Lansford was in the broadcasting booth. The link is Byrnes attended St. Francis High School in Mountain View, and Lansford is now a volunteer coach there to assist his two sons. Byrnes considers that "awesome."


.432 -- Career batting average by Mark Kotsay against the Texas Rangers, including 14-for-31 this year.


PITCHING TRENDS: The A's bullpen has taken a beaten, mostly deserved, this season for its poor performance. But they have been pitching arguably their best collectively since the all-star break. As of Sunday (July 25), the 'pen had allowed two runs in its previous 20 1/3 innings. A rested Justin Duchscherer and dominant Octavio Dotel are making everybody else's job more defined and improving the performance.


--RHP Chad Bradford is starting to pitch like the dominant setup reliever from the past two years. Bradford worked two scoreless innings Sunday (July 25) and July 21 and has five straight scoreless innings. Bradford is getting quick groundballs, a sign the submariner is on his game.

--RHP Rich Harden will have his pitch count monitored closely his next two starts. The hard-throwing Harden is throwing the best of his young career -- four runs in three starts since the All-Star break -- but threw 125 and 119 pitches in consecutive starts. He probably won't make a side session or throw as long between his next start. Expect Harden to stay under 110 pitches his next two outings as well.


--SS Bobby Crosby seems to play his best after something bad happens. That was the case early in the year after each of his costly errors and again after he didn't turn a crucial double play. Crosby went on a five-game tear at the plate and continued to play above-average defense.

--CF Mark Kotsay saw his average plummet to .228 on May 25 but has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball ever since. Kotsay banged out his team-leading 33rd multi-hit game Sunday (July 25) and raised his average to a season-high .324.

--C Damian Miller is logging a lot of innings behind the plate, and A's fans hope they don't catch up with him in September. So far, it hasn't. Miller broke up a perfect game by Dave Bush in the eighth inning on July 20, later won the game in the 14th, started the next night and hit a home run. He's hitting so well, A's manager Ken Macha is reluctant to take him out of the lineup.

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