This afternoon beneath overcast skies at McAfee Coliseum, the 2006 Oakland Athletics continued to defy expectations by smacking the Minnesota Twins 8-3 in a fashion befitting a potential World Series team. The entire game was a literal composite of the A’s season: solid pitching, timely defense and amazing clutch hitting.
The claim must be made now that Marco Scutaro is one of the best clutch hitters the A's have had in many years. He continues to shock everyone with his uncanny ability to slap doubles to the opposite field at the most critical time. But today's game was about destroying any further reference about their previous lapses in nine playoff clinching games.
Eric Chavez, one of the few remaining links from those October flameouts, was an absolute grown man this afternoon. Sporting a 1 for 30-plus quandary in recent playoff games, mashed a homerun off Twins starter Brad Radke to get the A's rolling early. He was on base all day, stellar in the field and set the pace for others like Bradley and Scutaro to get off. Something also must be said about the A’s pitching-- it is very good! Danny Haren controlled the Twins vaunted lineup for six innings before turning it over to Justin Duchscherer and Huston Street to put the final sleeper hold on them the rest of the way.
A's fans should really relish this moment. They’ve been worn down listening to all the garbage about their team closing. Next you ask? Every self-respecting A's fan wants the Evil Empire to come to town-- The Mighty (and bloated) New York Yankees. Whoever it is, they will have their hands full with the scrappiest team in baseball.
By SFist Kevin, contributing