Gutierrez: A's Cahill taken to school by Yanks early

May 31, 2011, 12:47 am
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May 30, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVEA's PAGE A's VIDEOPaul Gutierrez

OAKLAND -- He has a detached cool about him that belies the notion he ever gets rattled.A 23-year-old who warms up to the hypnotic strains of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit?" Too cool for school.Looking over into the opposing dugout and seeing Jeter and A-Rod and Posada (no, he did not beg out of the lineup) and Teixeira and the iconic interlocking "NY" adorning their caps? School, rather, is in session.And A's ace Trevor Cahill was taken there Monday by those marauding New York Yankees. Early, and often, in New York's eventual 5-0 defeat of Oakland that snapped the A's season-high four-game winning streak.RECAP: Yankees get to Cahill early, Athletics lose 5-0

"They've got quite a few of the best hitters in the game," Cahill said, in what will surely be in the running for understatement of the year."It kind of happened quick. I can't really remember what happened. You walk a guy, give up a base hit, next thing you know, it's a 3-0 game."And with Bartolo Colon and his magic-healing fat stem cells acting as a fountain of youth for the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner, that was essentially the ballgame.GUTIERREZ: A's Insider notes
A hard-hit single up the middle by Derek Jeter to lead off the game was followed by a Curtis Granderson fly out before Mark Teixeira took advantage of Cahill's anxiousness."He sure doesn't seem like it," A's manager Bob Geren said, when asked if Cahill was especially more amped up to face the Yankees. "On the outside."The way to tell, then, is by Cahill's pitch location. The less control he has, the more tightly-wound he is. And the higher his pitches sail.On a 1-and-2 count to Teixeira, Cahill tried to bury a curveball into the dirt. Instead, it hung. And Teixeira pounded the ball into the right-field stands for a two-run home run.Then Cahill walked Alex Rodriguez before Robinson Cano doubled into the right-center gap. Three-to-nothing, Yankees, and Cahill had yet to break a sweat."You just try to execute one pitch at a time," Cahill said.One batter at a time.Getting knocked around by the first five hitters he faced seemed to actually settle the youngster. Cahill allowed only one hit the rest of his afternoon, though he did walk four more batters, including two in the fateful seventh.Those figurative saucer-eyes that Cahill was sporting in the first inning? Long gone by the end of the sixth. He even appeared to twice buzz Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli with knockdown pitches under the chin after he stole second base in the second inning. But more impartial observers thought the balls just got away from Cahill, and that Cervelli is seen as a drama queen, of sorts, who hangs out over the plate and dives out of the way on anything close."Trevor is still very young and he continues to get better," Geren said.Except, Cahill has gotten progressively worse after starting out 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his first eight starts. Since then, he is 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA in four outings.His numbers against the Yankees in his career, though, are downright gruesome in going 0-3 with a 9.72 ERA in three starts against them.Weariness and related poor mechanics that resulted in a different arm slot did him in come the seventh."I paid for it," he said. "It's about getting comfortable and confident."Still think they're not in his head? At the risk of giving the Yankees and their bought-and-paid-for mystique too much credit, they most certainly should be.They have a 207-million payroll. Twenty-seven World Series championships. And, as one A's player told me he felt about the Yankees when he first came up to the bigs, "They're men."To his credit, Cahill settled down. But it was too late. Especially with the A's bats going back into hibernation.Now, if only the A's could inject some of Colon's fat stem cells into their bats.