Frequent commenter Craig (aka West Coast Tiger) attended the Oakland series and sat near some scouts. Craig engaged them in some conversation and had the following report. This is from the Tuesday game.
I feel like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. This is the same thing over and over and over again.
I have to begin by, Oakland fans have to be the most lame fans in all of baseball. I used to think it was confined to Pac 10 college football crowds. (I married a UCLA Bruin). The A’s fans have set a new benchmark. Even when they had the bases loaded, they were quiet, distracted and seemingly disinterested.
I hope for all of you that it was less painful watching it at home. Here were my observations. And those of the scouts sitting in front of me.
1. Clete Thomas and Running the bases. He was like a deer in headlights when the ball was hit. He stood there 10 feet off 2nd, when it was clear to everyone that it was going to drop, then he hesitated it seemed at third. He should have scored standing up. That was my take. I made a comment regarding the ability of Gene Lamont to do his job. At that point one scout turned to me and said you got that right, and said. “You know there are reasons teams lose”. He went on to say in his opinion Thomas made two errors and Lamont one. Thomas’ first and most costly was not getting to third on Granderson’s line drive to left. And the second being frozen on Polanco’s single. Lamont’s obvious error was once Thomas hesitated, not holding him at third. He added “and that’s a pinch runner.
2. ON WILLIS. He felt he had pretty effective stuff and thought his best was after the injury time out when he seemed to be really just letting it go. Feels he can still be an effective pitcher who can get inside hitters heads.
3. On CABRERRA. Both scouts had the same opinion. The question around the league has always been his motivation. In their opinion handing him 150mm before he’s had a single RBI for your team has it’s risks. Especially a 25 year old. On the upside he’s one of the most explosive hitters in all of baseball. Who will make Tiger fans happy in the long run.
4. ON THE TEAM AS A WHOLE . Fundamentals are killing them. They feel they are in the bottom three of worst base running teams in baseball. They will continue to to flounder until the bullpen issues are resolved. Most salient comment was “look at their body language”. “This is a great team that is struggling in every aspect of the game right now.” “To many moving pieces” “A different lineup evey day” “ Inge is a 275 BA away from being incredible” “Zumaya and Rodney not being healthy have put a strangle hold on Leyland.
Lastly. I’d like to leave this out because I love his offense. General consensus was Guillen should have had the Ball hit by Ellis in the 11th. They all felt Inge makes that play.
And to all the Renteria haters. He was absolutely robbed on his line drive. Crosby made a great play.