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Live Blogging: A’s @ White Sox Game 12

April 13, 2011

4:32PM CDT: Three up three down. The bullpen faces sixteen hitters without allowing a hit and Fuentes earns himself the save his fifth on the year. The A’s win the series with the White Sox in their third straight ten inning game with the Pale Hose, two games to one. For the road trip they are 5-4 which absolutely has to be called a success. The A’s are back to .500 at 6-6, headed back to the Bay Area for a four-game homestand with the Detroit Tigers. Great win, so long Chicago.

4:24PM CDT: Brian Fuentes is in to get the save. I was very skeptical over Fuentes at the beginning of the year though he has allayed any fears by being outstanding as our closer in Andrew Bailey‘s absence. Can’t complain one iota about his work in this first two weeks of the season.

4:15PM CDT: Daric Barton singles and drives in two more runs for the A’s. The A’s take a 7-4 lead in the top of the tenth. So Thornton melts down again, seems like if he hasn’t lost the closer job yet, he officially has today.

4:12PM CDT: Coco Crisp singles and it scores Conor Jackson to give the A’s a 5-4 lead here in the top of the tenth.

4:01PM CDT: Pop up straight up the chute by Paul Konerko. Don’t like that Jackson, Balfour and Suzuki all converge and they leave it for Suzuki. Same problem happened Monday with Barton and Zook dropped it, leave it to the guys not using weird pillow gloves to catch them.

3:57PM CDT: So defensively, Sweeney goes to right, Jackson goes to third, Barton to first. This is Conor Jackson‘s 551st career game, and his first at third base. Grant Balfour is out on the mound to pitch.

3:51PM CDT: Cliff Pennington with a bloop! This game is tied! I’m real curious what this infield defense will look like now as it will be relevant. This has been a great series, as was the Minnesota one.

3:50PM CDT: Pathetic strikeout for Sweeney. Would’ve rather seen LaRoche bat.

3:45PM CDT: Ryan Sweeney in to pinch hit for Andy LaRoche. Not sure how this will work out defensively should the A’s tie it. Better news is that this move prompts the White Sox to pull out Jesse Crain and replace him with Matt Thornton.

3:44PM CDT: None of those pitches thrown to Zook were strikes. Could’ve had a run walked in. Missed opportunity. Still two outs to work with.

3:40PM CDT: Barton walks. Bases juiced no one out. Kurt Suzuki is up, remember Monday night he hit a home run off Crain to win it in extras.

3:38PM CDT: Daric Barton is in to pinch-hit for Kevin Kouzmanoff to face the right-handed Crain. Like the move, makes sense as LaRoche can shift to third.

3:35PM CDT: Hideki Matsui with a single to right. Definitely clear that Sale is tired or at the very least not on. Jesse Crain is being summoned from the bullpen with two men on and nobody out.

3:34PM CDT: So Conor Jackson leads off with a double then, Josh Willingham drives him in with a straight up the middle single. White Sox 4, A’s 2. Not easy to pitch two innings last night then come right back in the next day for an afternoon tilt, wonder if Sale, despite his youth is a bit tired?

3:31PM CDT: So it is Chris Sale. Seems like Matt Thornton may have lost the closer gig for the ChiSox?

3:29PM CDT: Sloppy inning for Ziegler. Really lucky to get out of that inning, Gordon Beckham swung at a pitch that was practically in Joliet. Terrible flail by Beckham, but it is to the A’s benefit. Chris Sale or Jesse Crain – both throwing in the pen – due to come in so either way a pretty tall order for the A’s to overcome this deficit.

3:24PM CDT: Kouzmanoff error prevents the A’s from getting out of the inning unscathed. Rios scores from third, White Sox lead 4-1. Kouzmanoff’s defense looked to regress, but he has been particularly shoddy at the hot corner this season thus far. As I stated earlier I wonder if LaRoche who is both hitting and passably fielding, could challenge Kouzmanoff for the starting third base job? How much longer does management tolerate this poor play? I like Kouz, I really want him to do well but for whatever reason things just aren’t clicking.

3:21PM CDT: Don’t get why Rios didn’t go on contact on that play. Even if he doesn’t score the White Sox have a two run lead and it potentially keeps the inning alive and provides even more potential insurance runs.

3:15PM CDT: Brad Ziegler comes in to face Rios, Ramirez and Castro which make sense as all three are right-handed.

3:08PM CDT: Great at-bat from Cliff Pennington. Twelve pitches for a walk. Strange approach if we trust the Pitch f/x to Pennington.

  1. 90mph – 4-seam fastball
  2. 92mph – 2-seam fastball
  3. 91mph – 2-seam fastball
  4. 91mph – 4-seam fastball
  5. 92mph – 2-seam fastball
  6. 92mph – 4-seam fastball
  7. 93mph – 4-seam fastball
  8. 93mph – 4-seam fastball
  9. 93mph – 4-seam fastball
  10. 92mph – 2-seam fastball
  11. 93mph – 2-seam fastball
  12. 93mph – 4-seam fastball

3:05PM CDT: John Danks still in to start the eighth. I wonder if Guillen will tempt fate and go to Thornton in the ninth?

3:02PM CDT: Craig Breslow has looked good as it has been four up and four down for him in his inning and a third of work. Perhaps that is what I need to do, be overly concerned about a relief pitcher (as I had been with Jerry Blevins) and then they will put up numbers?

2:49PM CDT: Breslow gets out of it, inducing a Beckham pop out to Pennington. Just don’t like putting him into these anything but low-leverage situations yet (this was a 1.11 if you were curious – or a moderate level of leverage).

2:45PM CDT: Geren has seen enough of Brett Anderson whose day is now through. Situation: men on the corners, close game, trailing 3-1. Solution: Putting in Craig Breslow? Really? He has struggled thus far and right now until he can prove himself I’d like to see him just in mop-up type roles. Seems Geren is doing what Ozzie Guillen did on Monday with Matt Thornton, the whole, “you’ve struggled but let’s get you back in there as soon as possible to shake it off” type mentality. See how it worked for the White Sox… (hint: it didn’t).

2:43PM CDT: A squeeze is on, Brent Morel does it perfectly, Rios scores, White Sox 3-1.

2:41PM CDT: I appreciate the aggressiveness but it didn’t seem smart on the Ramon Castro grounder for Kevin Kouzmanoff to throw home. Quentin was moving on contact and even though his throw was high it seems that even a perfect throw wouldn’t have beat him so the White Sox now are staked to a 2-1 lead.

2:37PM CDT: An Alex Rios double, gets Carlos Quentin to third, no one is out. The curve is apparently not working for him today, as the White Sox hitters are really able to get solid contact on it. A’s killer Alexei Ramirez is up now… it’ll be tough holding this to a tie in this sort of a pickle.

2:22PM CDT: Fielding miscue comes back to haunt Anderson. Gordon Beckham with a double to left-center allows the speedy Pierre to score from first and tie the game at one. While it is easy to talk about the holes in ERA, this is one to me is the funniest. Given that Anderson had an error that allowed Juan Pierre to get to first, the run is an unearned run. What is silly about it is, the concept is meant to shield the pitcher from things presumably beyond their fault (this ignores the line of thinking that I subscribe to that anything short of a walk, strikeout or home run are beyond the pitcher’s control and hence cannot be their fault) and while this makes sense for an error by a shortstop or outfielder or whatever, when you the pitcher make the error yourself, you only have yourself to blame. Always seemed funny to me that it still goes as an unearned run.

2:19PM CDT: Pretty ugly play by Brett Anderson there. The way he comes off the mound really puts him in a terrible position to field, particularly if it is up the middle or just to the first base side of the mound as he falls off the third base side of the mound quite dramatically. I wonder if that leaves him vulnerable to bunts on the right side by guys like Pierre who can really run.

2:10PM CDT: LaRoche singles. His hot Cactus League schedule has crossed into the regular season. I really have to think if he keeps it up he could pressure Geren into having him take over on a more regular basis at third base for Kouzmanoff.

2:05PM CDT: The White Sox seem to just be getting these sort of cheap hits off of Brett Anderson, latest entry an Alexei Ramirez single to center. But in his nearly four innings of work he has allowed six hits which normally would look gaudy but a lot of these are of the “dying quail” and “groundball with eyes” variety.

1:57PM CDT: Kevin Kouzmanoff nearly makes it back-to-back.

1:55PM CDT: Hideki Matsui with a home run to center field! Godzilla! It seems he is starting to get into a rhythm and hit a bit which is great news. A’s 1, Pale Hose 0.

1:50PM CDT: Juan Pierre is caught stealing. He is the active leader in stolen bases at 531. He is now 531-for-707 (75.1%) which put him barely above the threshold for where the cost-benefit of the stolen base falls into the more of a cost than benefit area.

1:43PM CDT: Yesterday the A’s went 1-for-16 with RISP which is bad and a quick way to lose a game. Today we are thus far at 0-for-4 with represents another inauspicious start. I am not exactly sure how you solve this particular problem from a coaching standpoint. I would assume that the better you hit overall, the better you will hit with RISP so that this here is more a reflection of all round lackluster hitting not any particular problem with RISP, but it has to be said that presently the A’s are 18-for-101 (.178) with RISP and 89-for-385 (.231) overall. It seems that is a relatively wide gap, and it is particularly alarming that we do so little with RISP when these at bats have comprised over a quarter of all at-bats.

1:38PM CDT: So Cliff Pennington is in to face John Danks (with whom I share a birthday, although mine is four years earlier than his). I am bit surprised to see Pennington in the lineup. He has been terrible this year, coming in with a .160/.154/.160 slash line which adds up to an anemic .127 wOBA and a -0.3 WAR. It is alarming that he has struck out 28% of the time yet has not walked once in his twenty-eight plate appearances in 2011. He gets a single to left, advancing to second on a Juan Pierre misplay. But with Pennington facing an infected sweat gland and allegedly feeling pain while swinging the bat he seemed an odd choice to be in the lineup, particularly when Geren is benching Daric Barton who is being replaced by a guy who can play shortstop in LaRoche.

1:28PM CDT: A’s escape any damage as Alex Rios leaves the bases loaded in the bottom of the first. Not the sort of opening frame you’d like to see from Brett as he throws 23 pitches but no harm no foul in the end.

1:11PM CDT: Mark Ellis is hitting second today which is a first on the year. Barton has a day off which is uncommon, so Bob Geren must be serious about the getting Andy LaRoche into the lineup anyway he can. Just this past Friday Susan Slusser reported in the A’s Drumbeat that,

Andy LaRoche, who started at shortstop, third base and second base the past three games [Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday], jokingly asked first baseman Daric Barton if he really wanted to play today [Friday game at Minnesota].”

Last year Barton’s days off were few and far between as he played in 159 of the 162 games.

1:01PM CDT: Brett Anderson and John Danks, two big lefties in the rubber match of the series. The two games have been heartbreakers, the first for White Sox fans, the second for A’s fans. Looks like a nice sunny day on the South Side of Chicago and the A’s have done better in daytime contests (4-1) than in nighttime contests (1-5) thus far this season. The offense has been scuttling, but a huge part is the BABIP is remarkably low (maybe this has something to do with the colder weather, not hitting balls as hard? Maybe it has nothing to do with that…) the team leaders among regulars are Daric Barton (.355) and then everyone is below average (around .300 typically) with Josh Willingham (.286) and Coco Crisp (.278) rounding out the top three. So it seems the offense is bound to organically improve even without actually doing anything to improve. Pitching meanwhile has been lights-out and hopefully that continues with Anderson on the hill today, he comes in sporting a 1.93/1.84/2.71 ERA/FIP/xFIP line and despite being 0-1 has been the most valuable member of the A’s at 0.6 WAR.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2011 6:21 pm

    I was in lab for the game and did not get to watch it or listen to it but followed the live blog a bit late. Great commentary and the new underlined scores were perfect to follow.

    • April 13, 2011 11:03 pm

      JK – Glad I could be insightful. Was a great game, as I said during it didn’t expect us to be able to pull this off.

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