Saturday, April 08, 2006

Win Some Lose Some

As predicted, we had a nice pitcher's duel going until Julio Mateo decided to see how many A's he could walk in one appearance. As the Guiness cartoon guys say, brilliant!

Many signs here are positive, though. We head into game three with the A's tied with them for first in the division, and although the Mariners hitters couldn't solve Joe Blanton yesterday, there is not yet reason to think that they're going to fold up their tents against Barry Zito today.

In fact, there's some hope. For whatever reason, Zito cannot conquer April. He opened the A's season earlier this week by coughing up seven runs while getting only four outs against a Yankees team that is no longer so scary as their mystique. To be sure, that will mean that he'll want to improve against the Mariners, but last April was rather a nightmare for him as well. In fact, since the beginning of the 2002 season (as far as the stats I have at hand go back; 2002 was his Cy Young campaign, while his career actually began in mid-2000), Zito has started 23 games in April, compiling a 5.46 ERA in 133 2/3 IP. That has produced a 7-12 record, for those who care about pitcher's W-L record.

That is to say, for whatever weird reason that produces this set of numbers (for his career, of course, Zito is slightly better than a 5.46 ERA pitcher), the Mariners might find him vulnerable.

Meanwhile, we send the Ancient Mariner back out to the hill. His first start was one of those about which you say "he kept us in the game," as he scattered nine hits while allowing but a single walk as he pitched into the seventh inning.

We have to win the next two games, because after tomorrow, the M's take a day off and then have a seven-day road trip to Cleveland and Boston. Those games don't promise to go very well, in large part because those stadiums and lineups are likely to expose Washburn and Moyer as extremely dependent on Safeco. The remainder of the month sees three more series at the Safe (Texas, Detroit, and the World Champs), and finally a visit to Camden Yards.

Go M's!


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