In case you missed it, the Oakland-Toronto series on the weekend wasn't the only one that featured great pitching. (Well, two-thirds of it anyway...)
The Arizona-San Francisco series was awesome.
Every game ended 2-0, with the Giants winning the first and third contests while the D-Backs taking the middle game.
Poor Dan Haren. The D-Backs right-hander lost the first game, and is now 0-3 despite a 1.89 ERA. Arizona was shut out in his first start of the year (3-0), and he's also lost a 3-1 decision.
Haren couldn't have pitched any better, walking none and allowing just five hits with six strikeouts in six innings against the Giants. Jonathan Sanchez, however, was that much better, allowing just two hits to Arizona and pitching into the seventh.
In the second game, both Tim Lincecum and Doug Davis pitched shutout ball for eight innings, before the D-Backs broke through against the Giants' bullpen in the ninth.
Then Sunday...Randy Johnson time.
The Big Unit took a no-hitter into the seventh, and picked up his 296th career win. Johnson ended up allowing just one hit in his seven innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks, and lowered his ERA from an unsightly 11.42 to 6.32.
And what was with all these no-hit bids in the Bay Area of late?
Apparently the Big Unit's performance was the third time in eight days that a pitcher took a no-no into the seventh. The others were the A's Trevor Cahill (who lost 1-0 to the Mariners and Erik Bedard the previous Sunday) and the Red Sox's Tim Wakefield (who defeated the A's).
Anyway, this Arizona-San Fran series kind of reminded me about the Boston-Toronto series at what was formerly called "SkyDome", oh, 19 years ago.
Toronto had just beat the Red Sox 4-3 to gain ground and was just a single game behind Boston for first in the East.
Then the Boston pitching took over, as the BoSox won 2-0, 1-0, and 1-0 in the final three games, capping off the series with a remarkable run of stellar pitching.
Of course, the D-Backs and Giants were nothing like those Sox and Jays. After all, it's still early in the year, it's not a pennant race, and those two teams are struggling (5-8 and 4-8, respectively).
Still, a weekend of great pitching!
Speaking of Dan Haren and tough luck, what about A's rookie right-hander Trevor Cahill?
However, Cahill has nothing to show for his efforts thus far, as he is only 0-1 in those three outings. The A's lost two of those, including Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, 4-2 in 12 innings.
Prior to that, Cahill took a no-hitter into the seventh inning—in just his second major-league start—before Adrian Beltre broke it up with a single.
Not only that, Cahill ended up with the loss when Beltre scored on Mike Sweeney's double later in the inning. The M's Erik Bedard didn't allow a run in his eight-and-one-third innings, giving Cahill the hard-luck defeat.
On Saturday against the Blue Jays, the A's rookie finally had some runs (two, to be precise) to work with, but it wasn't meant to be. Oakland gave Cahill two one-run leads, but he was chased in the sixth inning after surrendering a double to Lyle Overbay and Travis Snider's game-tying RBI single.
Unfortunately for Cahill, the A's used up all their runs the night before (Oakland defeated the Blue Jays 8-5 on Friday night).
It was the same story prior to the 1-0, near no-hit game as well. The A's had plated three runs in the second inning—and five overall—against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez the night before, which was the same game where Jason Giambi asked to be lifted because of tired legs.
Will Cahill get some run support this season? I mean, he's been pitching well, so we'll see...