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Live Blogging: Indians @ A’s Game 31

May 4, 2011

9:30PM PDT: This ballgame is over. Grant Balfour gets the save (who do you think should be our closer while Andrew Bailey is out?) as the A’s on the back of David DeJesus beat the streaking Tribe 3-1 and return to a game above .500 at 16-15. Good game for Oakland, would’ve obviously liked more offense but we got enough. Bullpen use didn’t drive me absolutely crazy – also a plus. The series finishes off tomorrow with the 12:35 start at the Coliseum and the A’s look to get 2-of-3 from the visiting Clevelanders. The A’s are just 3-7 in series openers but are 8-1 in series closers thus far so let’s hope that trend continues. Trevor Cahill gets the win to improve to 5-0 on the year, even if he doesn’t have the talent to be an ace (I think it is debatable either way) he certainly has the moxie as he just goes out there – gets it done – and acts as a real stopper to any skids. No one will do it but the headline for this game in the paper should read: “DEJESUS SAVES!”

9:28PM PDT: Gets Sizemore looking straight down Broadway. Down to own out. Asdrubal Cabrera is the Indians’ last hope.

9:26PM PDT: Let the expletives begin. Balfour walks Hannahan so Grady Sizemore comes up as the tying run.

9:20PM PDT: Pennington gets himself picked off of second. Really pretty unacceptable – especially to be picked off by a lefty-specialist reliever in a close game? I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt Oakland. The Australian comes in for the ninth, shield your children’s ears.

9:17PM PDT: Coco Crisp takes the first pitch and while Pennington nearly decapitated Tomlin, Crisp nearly castrates Sipp hitting it “through the wickets” and into center field to score Ellis and give the A’s a 3-1 lead.

9:14PM PDT: So the ABD (anybody but DeJesus) no-hitter is over as Cliff Pennington nearly decapitates Josh Tomlin with a single over the mound which advances Ellis to third. This is prompting Acta to remove Tomlin so I anticipate southpaw Tony Sipp who has been throwing in the bullpen is due in. Can’t stress the importance of an insurance run enough. Come on. This anemic offense is killing us. Such a night and day difference (literally – we can’t hit at night) from this weekend and Monday to now.

9:06PM PDT: See, here I would have pinch-hit Mark Ellis with Daric Barton try and get an extra run, then move Jackson to third, LaRoche to second when the top of the ninth comes up. Ellis is on due to the Jack Hannahan error at third. Let’s see if Oakland can do anything here and push another run across.

9:05PM PDT: My prayers have been answered! Grant Balfour is warming in the pen, presumably to be put in for the ninth to earn the save. On that hit by Landon Powell though, great play by Shin-Soo Choo as he went back and leaped to snag what even for Powell should’ve been a double.

9:02PM PDT: Ziggy gets it done as Brantley turns over on it grounding out to Conor Jackson at first. Don’t see why Tomlin won’t be out for the eighth inning, A’s need to try and score an insurance run here. If not for DeJesus, the A’s not only don’t have any runs, they don’t have any hits either (and with no walks that’d be a Tomlin perfecto with three outs to go if not for DeJesus). Great outing for this kid.

9:00PM PDT: With the right-handed hitter Orlando Cabrera up following the single by Travis Hafner, Geren goes to his pen and gets Brad Ziegler out there and he promptly allows a single to Cabrera. So tying run is on second in scoring position, and the leading run is on first and Ziegler (a ROOGY) is being left out there to face the left-handed Michael Brantley. Geren sure likes playing with fire.

8:47PM PDT: Interesting. Hideki Matsui just grounded out to the left side again and it seems Manny Acta and the Indian infield have scrapped the shift following the two infield hits last night. Didn’t notice it prior to now, not sure if they stopped employing it midway through yesterday’s game either but that is what I like to see. Good work from Godzilla there.

8:41PM PDT: Real quick seventh inning for Cahill, think this has to be the end of the road for him with David Purcey throwing in the pen (doesn’t fit the bill of the typical Grant Balfour to Brian Fuentes formula – a good sign, because Fuentes is spent, as was demonstrated yesterday). If it is he finishes with a solid seven inning outing, allowing one run (earned) with three walks and five strikeouts on 116 pitches. Offense needs to get a few insurance runs. The A’s only have two hits in this game and thankfully both are home runs but we need to generate a bit more offense than this.

8:30PM PDT: Matt LaPorta just swung at a pitch that was in a different zip code from the plate, leaves Michael Brantley stranded at second. Seems Cahill has settled down a little bit but I wonder if his day is through being at 105 pitches.

8:05PM PDT: Make it two! David DeJesus goes deep again! A little bit more to center than the other one, maybe about 390 out or so? Just to the left of where the wall goes from tall to short again. A’s take a 2-1 lead. Interestingly, this is his 903rd career game, yet his first multi-home run game. Good for him, because I really like DeJesus, he plays the game right, and I don’t mean that in some weird stupid “I hate sabermetrics” way because obviously I am a stat head but I mean it in the fact that he never looks beat out there. He always looks like he’s having a good time and smiling and I think that sort of attitude is just so much better than these players who either brood or just look flustered out there when dealing with adversity.

7:57PM PDT: Another 1-2-3 inning for Josh Tomlin. These low scoring games where the starter has a high pitch count make me nervous. Oakland’s bullpen has been good this year with a 2.88 ERA that is 2nd best in the American League though their FIP is a more pedestrian 6th in the AL at 3.87. But what makes me nervous is Geren’s management of it – especially if you need multiple innings of bullpen pitching – more so than the pitchers themselves.

7:48PM PDT: Seems that the outfield was playing deeper than necessary and on that bloop to center field Travis Hafner puts it where they ain’t and Grady Sizemore scores from second with the tying run capitalizing on the DeJesus fielding misplay in right that put him aboard. The play wasn’t an error but DeJesus played the ball poorly allowing it to bounce of the wall and get Sizemore to second and now Hafner is able to cash in for the Tribe. This offense is a tough one, didn’t look that way going into the year but now that people are healthy and playing closer to their abilities (Hafner, Sizemore) its pretty remarkable because frankly the two hitters everyone anticipated being scariest have had down years (Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo) so this offense is legit. Game tied at 1-1. Cahill is not looking his sharpest up to 59 pitches in three innings, we get to nitpick over Geren’s bullpen choices it seems.

7:36PM PDT: Ken Korach is reporting that the A’s expect Adam Rosales to possibly be going on a rehab assignment following his doctor’s appointment on the 18th. That’s a bit different than the news we last heard from Jane Lee which didn’t sound as optimistic when she reported on April 18th that,

“a May return seems unlikely for utility player Adam Rosales, who confirmed on Sunday afternoon that he still hasn’t been cleared for full baseball activity and likely won’t be for at least another four weeks.”

A Rosales return really shakes up this roster and I think could spell the departure of Kevin Kouzmanoff. Andy LaRoche is hitting, Adam Rosales is versatile, Kouzmanoff isn’t hitting, isn’t fielding and only plays third. It’ll be interesting to see what happens upon his return, but this discussion at least now is quite premature.

7:32PM PDT: Cahill battles a bit of adversity there in the second and his pitch count is already up to thirty-seven pitches in the ballgame. Higher than you’d like after two – but he can be a very efficient pitcher so he can make up for it with some strong innings much like Fausto Carmona did yesterday for Cleveland.

7:25PM PDT: The A’s employ the shift and Travis Hafner hits into it with Mark Ellis playing a shallow right field basically. I don’t advocate the shift ever but Hafner is the sort of guy if you’re going to use it, that you use it against. The Tribe used it on Hideki Matsui last night but he is both a more versatile hitter and a better baserunner than is the lumbering and largely one-dimensional Hafner.

7:18PM PDT: Home run David DeJesus! Hopefully this jump starts his season a bit. Tomlin just left that down and in, no doubt about it. The warm weather may have added it but A’s fans and DeJesus himself will surely take it. A’s jump out to the early 1-0 lead.

7:04PM PDT: In order to win today, Trevor Cahill will need to go deep into this game lest he allow Bob Geren to snatch defeat from the hands of victory again. OK, so that is a bit of an exaggeration, but still Geren’s decision making the past few games with respect to the bullpen has been maddening and severely lacking in sound strategic thought. Cahill enters today’s game 3rd in ERA (1.88) and 8th in FIP (2.86), he needs to keep up the pace with his higher than we’ve seen at the MLB level in the past 7.8 K/9 and that really is the key for him to continue to keep that FIP low and prove last year was not an aberration. Josh Tomlin, hurling for the Tribe today, has had an interesting season full of good luck as evidenced by his 2.45 ERA that is paired with a 4.66 FIP. He has really benefited from an unsustainable .179 BABIP because his peripherals are very unimpressive (4.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9). Landon Powell gets the start behind the plate – I know I’ve said I want Kurt Suzuki getting more rest but with how hot he has been since the birth of his daughter I had no qualms about pushing him a bit, in other lineup differences of note, Andy LaRoche is again starting at third base having started every game at the hot corner since the calendar rolled over into May. Conor Jackson gets the start at first, like the idea of getting him in the lineup but don’t like to see Daric Barton sitting.

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