Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gettin' Ziggy with it

Looking back, I can remember the exact moment that the Oakland Athletics threw in the towel in the 2008 pennant race. On Sunday July 13th at 3:30pm (the last game before the All-Star break) the A's were on their way to being just four games behind the Angels. After two scoreless innings by Brad Ziegler, Huston Street blew a one-run lead in the top of the 9th inning and the A's ended up losing the game to drop six games back.

The A's have now faded 12 games behind the Angels and on their way to playing out the string in this 2008 season. One of their few bright spots has been rookie pitcher Brad Ziegler, who broke a major league record Sunday by throwing 27 scoreless innings to start his career. After 22 games in the majors, Brad's career ERA is 0.00.

Ziegler has been in the Athletics organization since 2004, and has been blogging at Athletics Nation since January 2007, so I was following his progress even before he was called up. He's kind of old for a MLB rookie (28), and has had a series of injuries and concussions on his way to the major leagues. He has a mathematics degree from Missouri State (yay MVC!), so he didn't turn pro until his mid-20s.

After changing to a sidearm delivery midway through the 2007 season, Ziegler suddenly became dominant, and reminds me a lot of this A's Hall Of Famer who became a dominant closer in his mid-30s. Ziegler has an Eck-like demeanor as well, so by this time next year, he's going to be a major league closer, hopefully with the A's.

But no matter what happens, Brad Ziegler already holds a major league pitching record after less than two months in the major leagues. And I "knew" him last year when he was just a minor league blogger!

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