Firstbaseman's Defense Puts The A's 4 Back Of Angels
The A's anemic offense did as most anemic offenses do; it stalled. While something peculiar was happening down the road in Anaheim with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays firstbasemen, Travis Lee.
In no way can you discount the A's inability to win a must game tonight versus Texas, as the key factor in the A's now life support status in the American League West, but the Angels comeback tonight ran directly through Tampa's firstbaseman.
In the seventh inning, the Angels scored a run to come within a run of the Devil Rays on Darin Erstad's single to right. During the play, the speedy Chone Figgins rounded third as the Devil Rays rightfielder, Aubrey Huff, threw the ball to Lee at first. Lee misplayed the throw, but in a odd exhibition of fielding, looked to have scooped the errant ball and, in the process, inexplicably launched it another ten feet up the rightfield line allowing Figgins to score the tying run.
Then in the eighth, with two runners on, pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman knocked a single to right to give the Angels the decisive 7-5 lead. On this play, Lee appeared to make little effort in fielding the ball that was hit between him and secondbaseman, Jorge Cantu.
This sort of controversy has existed for decades when contending teams battle for the pennant while opposing ballclubs out of contention. The integrity of the pennant race is usually the term used, but rarely in reference to the actions of one player.
Tampa Bay's manager, Lou Piniella, sent out his regular everyday lineup, tonight. It was his firstbaseman who looked to be on the take.