The Oakland A’s pulled off one of the shockers of the offseason when they signed free agent pitcher Ben Sheets to a one-year, $10 million deal. While many thought the A’s overpaid for the talented (yet oft-injured) pitcher who missed all of 2009, there were also some good feelings that a small-market club could outbid its richer competitors for a notable talent.
After today, those good feelings flew right out the window, as Sheets allowed 10 runs without getting an out in a 13-5 loss to the Reds. Sheets allowed eight hits and a walk, and also committed an error. “It was a bad one,” Sheets understated.
The “good” news is Sheets said he felt good, and that an earlier spring start in which he allowed six runs against the White Sox was, in his mind, actually worse.
A’s manager Bob Geren maintained a positive attitude after the game. And why wouldn’t he? After all, it’s not his $10 million.
“He definitely threw the ball better this time,” Geren said. “The results weren’t there. It’s the best he’s thrown since he’s been here. I’ll stay encouraged that way. This guy’s an All-Star. He didn’t like his performance. I’m not worried about his ego.”
Geren also said that he thinks Britney Spears’ music is getting better with every album, and that he’s encouraged by the signs he sees in California’s economy.
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The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.
With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.
Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.
It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.