The M's lose two games in a row to an Oakland team that, upon inspection, is playing as if they deserve to go 38-12 or something. They are taking pitchers' pitches to right field, the pitchers are sequencing with purpose and intent, and the confidence is sky-high. Right now Oakland has a collection of 25 average-solid players who are all playing at the very tops of their games.
I ground my teeth through game one and had that feeling like the Blazers were going up against Houston. Will candidly admit that I checked the score, fearfully, before scanning the DVR on game two. Alas, even a James Paxton start was not enough to stop the Billy Beane tsunami. So in lieu of the usual shtick, a little reading if you're up to it:
The official game recap explains that Paxton was tweaked on a comeback line drive to the forearm with only one out in the first. No structural damage, just a bruise. This is the type of injury that Dr. D goes round and round with a few Denizens about :- ) on the issue of whether he's "doomed" to suffer random lightning strikes against him like this.
We'll politely say that we don't believe in luck, LOL, and leave it at that. He's listed as day-to-day.
The guy who came in, long relief? The King, who posted a 5.2 5 2 2 2 2 line. Intriguing. Perhaps Felix, chastened now and with a fear of failure restored, has something left to show us?
Dr. D is a huge believer in the power of "fear of failure" and believes that often it restores the edge that a too-comfortable veteran can lack. We'll follow Felix' career with great interest, young Padowan, at least for the next two appearances.
My Northwest has a decent read on Robinson Cano's return. Interestingly, he went 1-for-4 in the #2 hole behind Mitch Haniger. I love the look of Servais' new lineup. Looking forward to a .370 and .385 OBP up top with power, followed by two All-Stars behind them and let's build the bottom half as well.
He did play first and the scoop is,
“I had a chance to sit down with Robbie earlier today and talk through some things with him and what the plan is going forward,” Servais said. “Nothing is set in stone. Just trying to give him a heads up. He’s willing to do whatever’s asked of him.”
Changing positions has been an adjustment, Canó acknowledged.
“I don’t want to say difficult. I just want to say I’m not used to it,” Canó said of playing first base. “It’s good with me. It’s not about myself. It’s about the team. It’s about help the team to keep winning games and help the team to make it to the playoffs. No matter where they need me, I’ll be ready for (it).”
Also at My Northwest there is an article with quotes from James Paxton as to why Edwin Diaz is a 60-save closer. :- ) Pax sez, the fastball is 97-98 but there's another element to it. Verrrrrry readable quotes.
That's the great challenge of sports, or of rooting sports there babe, to hang tough and show your mettle when things are not going so easy. Not only is it the "right thing to do" toughness-wise, but it makes the winning more fun.
If the M's poach the series finale on Wednesday -- and the M's are 16-8 in Mike Leake starts -- then they limit the damage and are -2.5 back leaving Oakland. If the Seahawks were -3.5 back with 8 to go we'd be counting off the games, so nothing wrong with doing it when there are 42 games left. Hey, that's what y'come here for, the pep talks, right?
DaddyO wants to know what if Houston misses the playoffs entirely. For one thing it's a lot of egg on the faces of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus, who have had them at 99% all year. It's a lot less than that now.