The A's won with some home runs, a walk, a bunt and a clutch hit--a multidimensional attack that can satisfy both sabermetricians and traditionalists. The fact that they are capable of playing a crisp, tense, mistake-free playoff-caliber game in early April fills me with all kinds of hope. It finally feels like the season has begun. -Ken Arneson
I couldn't agree more. I also like his quip that, "Ken Macha and my wife outmanaged Joe Torre." It's very curious that Rivera wasn't pitching the ninth inning. As far as high-leverage innings go, tied in the bottom of the ninth has got to be right up there. You have to use your relief ace in that situation, right?
Well, I've found tangotiger's chart of Crucial Situations. Scroll down to the bottom of the ninth. And check out the various situations - depending on the score, the runners on base and the number of outs, the leverage of the situation varies from low (blank) to medium (gray) to high (blue) to very high (red). Let's walk through the A's 9th inning last night.
Start of the inning, tied: medium leverage
Bradley walks: still medium leverage
Kendall sacrifices Bradley to second: high leverage
IBB to Swisher: high leverage
Scutaro's single: game over
I guess the game never made it to a "Very high" leverage situation, but do you really want Scott Proctor out there in even High leverage spots? How is that excusable when you've got Mariano Rivera out in the bullpen? Beats me. But I'll take the win. Today, we've got youngsters Dan Haren and Chien-Ming Wang facing off.