I always feel like I’m coming up with excuses as to why content has been lacking in both quality and appearance here lately. Work is usually my main (and best, and truthful) excuse, but today it’s allergies. Allergies. In the summer. I never used to get allergies, so I have not known what havoc they are capable of causing until just the last few years. I discovered the hard way that cottonwood and mold are absolute med-killers (the mold issue was discovered on a vacation to Australia, sadly), and today I have discovered that I am much more susceptible to grass/tree/weed pollen than I would either like to admit or want to believe. I haven’t truly understood the allergic response until recently, and now anyone I’ve ever told to “man up” has my most sincere apologies. I am, however, taking my own advice and still attending tonight’s AquaSox game, despite feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck in my sleep. Out in the moderate grass pollen count and surrounded by grass? Sign me up!
The sun was bright today in Oakland. So bright that Adam Kennedy was having a lot of trouble with the glare, and lost a few balls in the sun. One of them gave the A’s a run in the second inning. I wonder why ball players don’t wear glacier glasses, and instead opt for the Oakley sport glasses. Glacier glasses would severely limit the glare, and I would think that far fewer balls would be dropped or lost in the sun – I can actually look straight into the sun with mine and not see the resulting spots that inevitably occur under normal circumstances with such behavior…just sayin’. The pitcher’s duel between Brandon McCarthy and Michael Pineda continued with the score 1-0 in the A’s favor until Josh Bard hit a solo home run in the top of the 6th inning. In the top of the 7th, Brendan Ryan managed to get on base, and after Adam Kennedy flew out to center, Justin Smoak killed a double to drive Ryan in and put us ahead.
The A’s manager had seen enough of McCarthy after he walked Jack Cust, and replaced the pitcher with Brad Ziegler, much to my delight. Ziegler got Greg Halman out swinging; again, surprising to nobody. Aaron Laffey came into the game in the bottom of the 7th to give Pineda a break and hopefully preserve our lead. Ziegler didn’t last long in the game (curse you, short relief!) and Craig Breslow was given the top of the 8th to keep us runless. There was a two-out Ichiro single, but Brendan Ryan flew out to center to end it.
David Pauley was on the hill for the bottom of the 8th inning. Pauley’s inning wasn’t 1-2-3, but they never seem to be. He kept the A’s from scoring, though, and that is what matters. Brian Fuentes had a little bit more of a difficult time. He gave Adam Kennedy a walk, handed a single to Justin Smoak (Kennedy made it to third with this one), and got Brendan Ryan to pop up to shallow center. Jack Cust was struck out swinging, but in order to face Greg Halman, RHP Fauntino De Los Santos took Fuentes’ place on the mound. Based on Halman’s recent performances, I’m guessing that Fuentes would not have had any issue, but better safe than sorry for Oakland, I guess.
Brandon League was brought in for the save, his 23rd attempt. He walked Coco Crisp with one out, and had to deal to Hideki Matsui, sending the small Oakland crowd into a wee bit of a frenzy. Facing Matsui during the rest of the game is bad enough, but a home run could’ve been a walk off for the A’s today, and League was attempting to pitch anywhere but inside the strike zone, throwing a lot of balls. He got lucky as Crisp stole second, which seemed to distract Matsui into swinging for the out. Chris Carter took some pitches before a blocked swinging strike that he must have thought either that he tipped it, or that it was a wild pitch, because he took off running. Carter was tagged out at first, and Brandon League is still the save leader, well-deserving of his proposed slot on the All-Star Game roster.
As I post this, 6 fire trucks and one ambulance have driven past our house. I am going to be tech-free up in Everett; the allergy medications I took earlier today have rendered me far too groggy to load myself down with cameras or my laptop, and it’s been a while since I just went to a ball game to enjoy the ball game. Whatever all y’all do tonight, please stay safe, sane, and reasonably sober, and have a wonderful 4th of July.