Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kouz and Braden

Dallas Braden's perfect game for the A's today prompted a few quick thoughts:

* Kevin Kouzmanoff backed Braden with excellent defense, making a wide variety of plays.

* My favorite play was Kouzmanoff catching a popup as he went into the third-base dugout. Chasing a popup into the dugout six years ago, Kouzmanoff suffered a career-threatening back injury in the Arizona Fall League. He worked tirelessly to come back from that injury. He told me last spring that the back still requires a lot of maintenance and still lets him know it's been injured. Point being, Kouz has to block out back issues. I doubt that's easy, but he did it again today.

* Padres pitcher Wade LeBlanc should watch Braden's performance in its entirety. The two left-handers have similar pitches. Like LeBlanc, Braden will throw his changeup at any time. Braden has only a little more speed on his fastball. Their cut fastballs are similar.

* Seeing Kouz at Angel Stadium last month, I told him he looks strange in green. "Green brings out the color in my eyes," he said, laughing. He likes the A's vibe, say it's a good group of teammates.

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