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Thursday, October 02, 2003

 
A's-Sox thoughts: "The A's don't bunt, the A's don't steal."

This was me as Eric Byrnes stepped up to the plate with a runner on first and no outs in the 11th inning. If I could find the relevant passage in Moneyball, I would, but it's really, REALLY late. So how do the A's score in the twelfth? Walk, fielder's choice (Chavez running), groundout, walk (Chavez steals third), Walk to Terrence Long (more on that in a sec), SAFETY SQUEEZE by Ramon Hernandez. The last thing anyone would expect, and in fact, I highly doubt Ken Macha called it, upon fear of death by Billy Beane.

Of course, there is one man who should fear death by Billy Beane, and that's Terrence Long. The .245/.293/.395 hitter this season pinch-hit for Jose Guillen in the 8th (the lefty long vs. the righty Timlin). And struck out. Then in the 10th, he came up with a runner on first and one out against the righty Williamson. And struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch, then, since he thought he'd walked (a rarity, for him), he stepped in front of Varitek who was trying to throw out Hatteberg running with the pitch. 2 AB, 3 outs responsible for. And so with 2 on and 2 outs in the twelfth, you walk him? To get to Hernandez, who's 1 for 3 with two walks on the day and has a .273/.331/.438 line for the year? Chavez is going to score on anything hit in the outfield anyway, and if you can hold him on third on an infield hit, that's all the better. I understand the force out deal and everything, but that's a significant BA and OBP difference right there. I take my chances with Long, and maybe bring in Sauerbeck (631. OPS vs. Lowe's .769 OPS) to face him.

Second-guessing. It's what makes the playoffs fun. And that these two go at it 12 hours from now. That too.

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