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Live Blogging: Mariners @ A’s Game 3

April 3, 2011

3:52PM PDT: A good outing from Jerry Blevins – gotta say it. I’d be happy to see lots more like that. A’s win 7-1! Gio Gonzalez was great, he will carry us. Mark my words.

3:42PM PDT: Tom Wilhelmsen makes his MLB debut now for the M’s (this was the soft bullpen I was referencing the past few days – only guy in the pen who I’m really impressed by is Brandon League, who I think is better than the injured David Aardsma – hence the M’s willingness to deal Aardsma perhaps?). Kind of cool story Wilhelmsen has, sort of like the Mariners version of Bobby Cramer. You can read all about it from the very good Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

3:31PM PDT: Kouz with a sac fly. Closes the book on Lueke. He gets what he deserves in his MLB debut with an ugly line: 0.2IP, 2H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K, OHR which adds up to a 54.00 ERA. Good work guys! A’s lead it 7-1.

3:29PM PDT: Mariners pitcher David Pauley, with no where to put ’em, walks Mark Ellis and another run home. 6-1 A’s. Pauley’s body language just says he doesn’t know where the zone is. Shaking his head a lot, rolling his eyes. This is a man who doesn’t believe in his ability to find the plate. Hate that when it is your reliever, love that quality in the opposition.

3:26PM PDT: Bruise for an RBI seems a fair trade. Kurt Suzuki drives in the run with a HBP.

3:22PM PDT: Put it where they ain’t! Good job for Matsui driving in the run on that strange single. Run scores, everyone is safe and Lueke is being pulled.

3:20PM PDT: Given the prior reference to Josh Lueke‘s past, I really would love for Willingham to knock in some runs and ruin this kid’s debut.

3:08PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez just got out of that jam. What a great job. First good job looking the runner back on that soft tapper from Ichiro, then the huge K of Figgins. Great work. As I have felt all winter long this is Gio’s year. He is the pitcher we will be riding into contention. Let’s hope that now Geren sits Blevins and gets Grant Balfour up in the pen. If it were me I’d do Michael Wuertz as set-up, Balfour to close, but given that Geren insists on having Brian Fuentes close things out, let’s get Balfour ready. I just don’t want to see Blevins. He does not inspire any confidence in me.

3:02PM PDT: Gio is running into a little trouble here – control problems. Why is Jerry Blevins warming up? We have discussed this ad nauseum about how he is a LOOGY. Not the kind of guy you want to put in for more than just getting the one-out against a left-handed hitter. Frustrates me to no words…

2:50PM PDT: Kouz comes thru with a hit, that chases Doug Fister from the game. Good to see the A’s getting to the Mariners pen early today. Josh Lueke is coming in to make his MLB debut. He has a somewhat colorful history.

2:48PM PDT: Good job by Mark Ellis scoring Willingham from second on that base hit to pad the lead to 3-1. We’ve done a good job starting innings with baserunners but a bad job of capitalizing on it. Good to have that extra run there as the pen has been shaky. Let’s see if Kouz can really build a rally.

2:41PM PDT: Great inning of work from Gio Gonzalez. He is really sharp good to see that he wasn’t rattled by the Langerhans home run. He’s made a few great defensive plays this game too. Meanwhile they showed a better view of the shift on Cust from the first base side. I don’t get why teams don’t try to neutralize these shifts by bunting or working on slapping balls to the left side. If Cust – or any other hitter facing an extreme shift – gets it just past the pitcher on the left side, he should be at first before the third baseman or left fielder (who may be even closer) can field it and even think of throwing him out. But so long as he doesn’t do that, let him hit into the shift.

2:18PM PDT: Kinda cool feature they just talked about on the broadcast: “Name that Pitch” where there’s a catcher cam and Trevor Cahill throws a pitch and you try and identify it. Here is the link, I am proud to say I correctly guessed it. But I have to say it was the slow-mo version that allowed me to track the movement best. Neat feature.

2:14PM PDT: Good to see Kouzmanoff not swinging at the first pitch so often this season. Last year he did it to the tune of 43% of the time. So far he hasn’t swung first pitch at all today and on the year is just 2-for-9 (22%). Still, he grounds out. A’s end the inning up 2-1.

2:10PM PDT: Milton Bradley loses a ball in the sun. I guess bad things do happen to bad people?

1:56PM PDT: So Coco Crisp‘s triple scores Kouz. Why did Bob Geren have Pennington bunt? While sure hindsight is 20/20 but Pennington isn’t a particularly high GIDP threat. Perhaps we would have a bigger inning. Barton doesn’t seem comfortable with Fister’s arsenal. He kept fighting off a lot of pitches before finally lining out. But that Pennington bunt… just doesn’t make sense so early in the ballgame. Pennington isn’t a terrible hitter, though with how Geren is substituting for him and having him bunt you have to wonder if Geren shares that sentiment.

1:39PM PDT: Inning over as Mark Ellis grounds out but to go back Matsui wasn’t particularly smart testing Ichiro’s arm like that. He made it way closer than one might think it would be, and Chone Figgins‘ bad tag made it look closer than it should have been to, but really not sure if it was Mike Gallego who told him to tag u, didn’t seem like a worthwhile risk from the get go.

1:36PM PDT: Kinda cool that on Japanese Heritage Day Hideki Matsui gets his 2,500th professional hit (1,110 of them being in America) – a double to left. I wonder how (if at all) the Hall of Fame will look at this sort of thing. Will they give any credit to Matsui for things he did in Japan? Ichiro I think will have good enough numbers in America alone to get him in, but Matsui is a bit more borderline.

1:30PM PDT: Ryan Langerhans launched that pitch. Gio knew it instantly, you could see it. The key here is to see how Gio reacts. In the past he has had meltdowns on the mound following mistakes like that. The key to his success is nipping that, and just pushing on. This’ll be a telling inning.

1:24PM PDT: Whether or not Josh Willingham foul tipped it or not, it is clear that Doug Fister is fooling the A’s with that curve. First Daric Barton was frozen on that perfect pitch at the knees, then Willingham went fishing but seemingly held up (though they allege he tipped it) as it darted below the zone. I saw Fister pitch last season up at Safeco in a game against the Angels. He is a strong pitcher, the split pre and post injury last year was quite wide, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does if he is healthy. When you think about it the M’s have the potential to have a pretty good rotation this season. Erik Bedard as the number four, then Michael Pineda with a ton of potential in the five spot.

1:15PM PDT: Good looking first for Gio. Really liked the smart heads up play by Cliff Pennington to cover third. Jack Cust hit a broken bat hit just over the head of Kevin Kouzmanoff (who was essentially playing shortstop with the shift) and Ichiro Suzuki could have had third a la Johnny Damon in the 2009 World Series but Pennington raced over to cover the bag. Wouldn’t have made a difference with how the inning played out but still a smart move by Pennington. It is little things like that – not in the box score or UZR – that are just heads up baseball.

1:05PM PDT: Perfect weather 66 degrees. It is Japanese Heritage Day so hopefully Hideki Matsui has a good day. Also I think today is a big game as I think Gio Gonzalez is really the linchpin for the A’s to do well this season and he takes the mound for his first start of 2011.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dangerous Dean permalink
    April 4, 2011 11:42 am

    Much better effort for Oakland all around. The A’s look solid on the mound, but the first two games of the series call the offense into question.

    Texas’ offense was firing on all cylinders, though.

    • April 4, 2011 12:07 pm

      I’m not too worried about the offense – yet. The offense, especially in the Coliseum will always be muted. The important thing they did yesterday (though often they failed to capitalize on it) was get the lead hitter on. Continuing to do that and the runs will come. I think the first two games the problem really was being too aggressive as both Hernandez and Vargas kept their pitch counts very low. The bullpen is to me the graver concern early on, or more to the point the method in which Geren is using the bullpen.

      Texas looked very good over the weekend. If someone told me we’d be a game better than Boston all season long I’d normally take that!

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