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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rangers Game 36

May 9, 2011

9:50PM CDT: Ballgame over. A’s win 7-2. The A’s for the first time in 2011 are two games above .500 at 19-17! Trevor Cahill looked great, lowered his AL leading ERA to 1.72 while improving to 6-0. While those are baseball card stats that I normally wouldn’t latch onto, those sorts of numbers could earn him a start in Phoenix this July if he keeps it up. The A’s won this game with walks, earning eight free passes from Rangers pitching tonight and cashing in when they had the chance. Good pitching and patient hitting will almost always lead to a win and it does again today. With the win, the A’s have sole possession of second place, presently in the middle of the fourth the Angels trail the White Sox 3-0 in Anaheim, but with that sketchy Pale Hose pen who knows if they can hold that lead. So a good start to the series, important to really take advantage of Texas when they are reeling right now with the losses of two big cogs in their lineup. Do it again tomorrow. Let’s go Oakland!

9:42PM CDT: New inning, new pitcher, Craig Breslow who promptly allows a hit to David Murphy. Breslow has yet to achieve a “shutdown” this year. Disappointing campaign so far though he has been much better and showed some signs of life as of late. It doesn’t seem like Geren has any faith in him and I wonder if he is someone who could end up being sent to Sacramento? Joey Devine is looking good in Sacramento (13.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9, 0.00 ERA, 1.04 FIP in 8 1/3 innings), Andrew Bailey is close to returning meaning potentially you could have two arms being sent down and my guess is one is obviously Blevins, could Breslow be the second?

9:30PM CDT: Michael Young with a single, Conor Jackson cuts it off quickly so that he can throw the throw to the cut off straight past Pennington and down the left field line. Run scores on the play. A’s lead narrows to 7-2.

9:26PM CDT: As said Blevins has been pretty bad and tonight wasn’t much different as he faces two batters, allowing a hit to one (Ian Kinsler) in his seven pitch outing before yielding to Brad Ziegler. I realize that things can go downhill quickly with Blevins, but in a 7-1 game you’re going to switch guys like this? Really? Yet you insert Brian Fuentes out to pitch to Miguel Cabrera? Help me to understanding the method to this madness Bob.

9:22PM CDT: Jerry Blevins now in to pitch for Oakland. He hasn’t pitched much lately. Pitched last on the 5th against Cleveland, and prior to that his last outing was April 30th. Frankly this is because he hasn’t been very good. In the last two weeks, he owns a 2.70 ERA but a 5.34 FIP, aided by a 10.8 BB/9 rate to a 5.4 K/9 rate (on the season he is at 8.7 for both K/9 and BB/9).

9:18PM CDT: Sac fly from Mark Ellis. That ball just died. It looked like it was gone or at the very least a double off the wall. But just as Ray Fosse had mentioned earlier in the game, when hitting balls to left field the wind will kill them and it’ll drop like a parachute. Definitely saw that at work right there. A’s add to their lead, 7-1.

9:13PM CDT: Andy LaRoche with a walk now too. Seventh of the game, second from Tucker. Former A’s pitcher Brett Tomko is coming in from the bullpen for the Rangers. In his career since which began in 1997 he averages 2.9 BB/9 – a very relevant stat now in this game. He comes into a real doozy of a situation. Bases are loaded, nobody is out, but fortunately for him at least of all the guys to have up, it is Mark Ellis who can gun for his fourth career grand slam here. With the bases loaded his career mark is .308/.320/.542.

9:11PM CDT: We got another reading from the Malia Meter, as Kurt Suzuki doubles down the left-field line plating Conor Jackson. So of the six walks, four came around to score. That is “manufacturing runs” if you ask me. A’s lead 6-1.

9:09PM CDT: All the offense comes from Josh Willingham who with a single plates two to expand Oakland’s lead to 5-1.

9:08PM CDT: Another walk, this one care of Tucker with the recipient being, Conor Jackson. Despite the lack of offense, these walks are great – sixth of the night. Walk is as good as a hit don’t forget it.

9:02PM CDT: Hit batsman (Crisp) and another walk (Barton) and C.J. Wilson‘s night is done in favor of righty Ryan Tucker.

9:00PM CDT: Coco Crisp with his ninth stolen base of the year. The running game is becoming so much more important as pitching takes center-stage and as home run numbers reduce with the end of the steroids era. It’ll be interesting to see the game evolve, I imagine it will be much more similar to the game I grew up watching in the mid-to-late 1980s.

8:55PM CDT: Moreland goes down, seventh of the game, fourth in a row.

8:53PM CDT: Cahill gets Yorvit Torrealba to strike out, his sixth of the game, and third in a row.

8:46PM CDT: Walks, walks, walks. This game has featured two run scoring plays both home runs. Willingham’s was a three-run shot because two guys were walked. Moreland’s was a solo shot. Walks are important, if not for walks this game is tied. When you can’t hit, you can create offense by walking. Boring as sin to watch but wins are better to watch than losses any day.

8:22PM CDT: They’re playing the Natural soundtrack because first pitch of the fifth inning and Cahill hangs a change and Mitch Moreland deposits it in the upper deck in right-field. A’s 3, Rangers 1.

8:19PM CDT: Capitalizing on errors is a key way to win ballgames. Cliff Pennington gets following  a poor throw from third baseman Chris Davis that Michael Young couldn’t come down with, but then two batters later Barton cancels it out by hitting into an inning ending double play. This sort of thing is irritating and happens far too often with this club. It was nice watching the A’s capitalize on the Royals error yesterday and plate some runs. It separates good teams from average teams.

8:15PM CDT: Sort of a slow game just meandering along. Cahill has been sharp thus far through four he has allowed three hits and one walk while K’ing three on 62 pitches. Compare that to C.J. Wilson who has been less sharp allowing two hits including the Willingham home run, which accounted for three earned runs, while walking three and striking out two on 69 pitches. Patience has paid off for the A’s but the hits still aren’t dropping or coming.

7:51PM CDT: Josh Willingham to MLB Baseball: SUSPEND THIS! Three-run jack to left-center field. Daric Barton walked, Conor Jackson walked, walk is as good as a hit, you bet! A’s take a 3-0 lead over the Rangers.

7:39PM CDT: Trevor Cahill K’s Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis back-to-back. Good outing so far, 29 pitches in two innings with the two K’s. It’d be nice to see the A’s offense string together a few hits and give Cahill a lead to work with.

7:06PM CDT: Looks pretty miserable in Texas, hazy, gray. Winds are swirling, I think that benefits the A’s who sport warning track power, while Cahill’s sinker if it is on should keep Ranger hits to the ground. We shall see. First pitch is to Coco Crisp is a ball.

6:51PM CDT: A’s are in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex tonight to take on the Texas Rangers with both clubs sporting identical 18-17 records. The A’s have yet to be two games above .500 this season and are looking to Trevor Cahill to be the one to help them break through that barrier. The Rangers counter with C.J. Wilson. Josh Willingham will be in the lineup today – he was handed a one-game suspension for bumping the home plate umpire following a (very bad) strike three call in Kansas City on Saturday. He has appealed the decision and will play on until it is handed down. John Shea wrote about tonight’s lineup in the A’s Drumbeat saying,

Bob Geren‘s lineup is without Kevin Kouzmanoff, who finally started hitting yesterday, collecting a homer and single. Also missing for the second straight day: Hideki Matsui, who doubled twice in his last appearance, Saturday in KC.

Geren said he’s going with matchups. But while Matsui is hitting .154 (2-for-13) off lefty C.J. Wilson, Kouzmanoff is at .429 (3-for-7). The third baseman is Andy LaRoche, who has never faced Wilson. But against lefties this year, he’s hitting .421 (8-for-19).”

Go figure.

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