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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rangers Game 37

May 10, 2011

10:54PM CDT: Game over. Rangers down the A’s 7-2. Colby Lewis with a crazy performance, just seven and a third innings but a 59 minute rain delay was in there. Ultimately the rain delay just delayed the inevitable, an A’s loss as the then-four run lead swelled to a six run lead though either are pretty much insurmountable for this light-hitting club. Big news of the night on the A’s side of the ledger really has to be Jackson getting two innings of work at third base as I think this could portend a shift in the makeup of the roster – we are reaching that crucial forty-game mark that represents a quarter of the season elapsing and this is the time when teams start to make moves to bolster spots of weakness. I hope the Billy Beane and Co realize that Kouz should be on his way out, Conor Jackson should be hitting everyday (third is a great place for him to do so) and that Jerry Blevins should be pitching for the River Cats, because those were two lessons learned for the umpteenth time in tonight’s ballgame. Brett Anderson‘s woes against the Rangers continue and he needs to figure them out because with 19 games against them a year you just can’t avoid them by moving around your rotation. Disappointing game, tomorrow’s day game getaway day gives the A’s an opportunity to win the series and break the stalemate as both teams again sport identical records and are tied for second place a sliver over .500 at 19-18.

10:52PM CDT: Conor Jackson was looking to cash in all four runs on the first pitch of this at-bat and had a pitch to do it with but swung thru. The second pitch works out better for him, fly out with allows Sweeney to score, A’s down to their final out but now trail just 7-2.

10:50PM CDT: A’s look to make it interesting? Bases loaded one-out care of Kurt Suzuki playing some “lawyer ball”.  Pitching mound visit to discuss wedding gifts taking place now.

10:45PM CDT: The error chased Oliver out, and in comes Neftali Feliz. I’m guessing just to get some work in as this is very clearly not  a save situation. Feliz has had just one appearance since returning from the disabled list when he pitched on Saturday and earned the save in an inning of work against the visiting New York Yankees.

10:43PM CDT: Ryan Sweeney gets on base care of  an Adrian Beltre error. For all the talk of Oakland’s poor defense it is the Rangers that lead MLB in errors this year this being their 34th of the 2011 campaign. Of course Oakland is not too far behind at second with 30.

10:33PM CDT: Craig Breslow comes to throw the eighth in this blowout soon-to-be loss. Seems Geren has little to no faith to him if this is the sort of situation he’s going to put him in, while sitting all the others. It always seems bullpens break down along two lines, the guys who play in games that are close or ahead, and the guys who play in blowouts. Breslow’s gotten himself onto that latter squad it seemed when he once was securely in the former.

10:26PM CDT: Cliff Pennington doubles and it looks like that will be the end of the road for Colby Lewis. He goes seven and a third allowing five hits (including the Pennington HR), while walking one and striking out none. Strange line. Especially for a guy who is a strikeout guy like Lewis is, he led the league in Japan and was seventh in the AL last year with 196. He will give way to veteran Darren Oliver.

10:22PM CDT: Still out for the eighth? Washington must have zero belief in that Rangers bullpen. I know it is weak. It isn’t that weak.

10:17PM CDT: Conor Jackson is playing at third! Great news! With a third of the way to go, Bob Geren bypasses his starting third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff in lieu of CoJax. I’m really happy to see this as I have advocated getting his bat into the lineup anyway you can and third base – which he played at Cal – seems an appropriate spot given the offensive struggles of Kouzmanoff. As per Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo he has been taking a lot of ground balls there though Geren demurs with that statement claiming he is just doing it in case of an emergency. I get why politically he might have to say that but hopefully Geren realizes winning baseball games and having an offense trumps keeping Kouz happy. This is professional baseball, it is put out or get out.

10:12PM CDT: I can’t believe Ron Washington is still leaving Colby Lewis out there to throw the seventh inning. He started the inning just at 99 pitches but it seems like an unnecessary injury risk in such a wide open game to have a guy throw like this after such a long lay off.

10:06PM CDT: Triple from Michael Young plates two. Rangers lead 7-1. Blevins isn’t relief, he is a catalyst, a catalyst for other team’s offenses.

10:03PM CDT: Another Blevins walk. Unreal. He is just lost out there. Absolutely lost.

9:59PM CDT: David Purcey did not survive the rain delay. Jerry Blevins is in. Let’s see how this works out for Oakland…

9:50PM CDT: And we’re back! Shockingly, Colby Lewis is still on the mound for Texas. I did not expect that. I know Nolan Ryan has his whole “pitch counts don’t matter thing” but 59 minute rain delays don’t matter?

8:50PM CDT: David DeJesus plays some “lawyer ball” and walks against Colby Lewis. But the groundscrew is running out and the tarp is coming on. We have a rain delay headed our way. With the game in the top of the sixth and the Rangers leading I believe this game is official and can be a final despite the fact the A’s haven’t had a chance to play a full inning. To go back to the “lawyer ball” comment, that is what yesterday’s starter C.J. Wilson said about the A’s. Here is his direct quote from this article on HardballTalk:

“It’s like obviously no one sets out there to go walk guys, and I haven’t been doing that lately. It’s just only against their team that I do that. They take everything close. If it’s not called a strike, then they walk. It’s lawyer ball. That’s how they roll.  That’s how they’re going to beat me. That’s how they have to beat me. I have to make a bunch of mistakes and walk a bunch of guys because they’re not that good of a hitting team. The whole game was frustrating.”

What an asinine comment. I love the “if it’s not called a strike, then they walk” like the A’s are supposed to swing for the sake of swinging? How about if you can’t find the plate its a walk? Pitchers making mistakes is how teams win. Hanging breaking pitches, lack of control, wild pitches, these are things teams capitalize on. I suppose Wilson is not a fan of defense-independent pitching statistics because apparently walks are beyond pitchers’ control as well. What a moron, I hope walk around the bases again when we see him next. I suppose the Rangers played “lawyer ball” tonight?  What a joke.

8:46PM CDT: Home run by Cliff Pennington, after nine pitches they say advantage hitter and he took advantage taking it deep to right-field. So he tags Colby Lewis (who leads MLB in HR’s allowed this is his 11th allowed this year – came in allowing 2.6 HR/9). Like Jed Lowrie did to the A’s in April, Pennington’s home run opens up the clouds as it begins to rain in Arlington. A’s still trail but it is 5-1 now.

8:38PM CDT: Not much relief. A single to Murphy and now a Napoli double scores him. Rangers extend the lead to 5.

8:32PM CDT: Two-run home run by Adrian Beltre to left-center field. You can’t keep getting yourself in messes and expect to get out of them. Rangers 4, A’s 0. And that is all from Brett Anderson. 97 pitches, 4 2/3 innings. Purcey to take the hill as the A’s try and cobble together the last half of this game.

8:19PM CDT: Daric Barton throws home on the chopper from Julio Borbon and an amazing play by Kurt Suzuki to get the low throw to ensure the force out at home even while David Murphy takes him out from behind sliding into home. Suzuki’s defense is underrated. There aren’t good defensive stats yet really for catchers but he has been really good. Its one of those things, you don’t notice it until you see bad catching defense but he’s been great.

8:17PM CDT: Gentry has a single to left. Scores Moreland from third. Rangers up the lead to 2-0. Anderson just looks to be a mess. Can’t see this going too much longer – not sure what it is about these Rangers that puts Anderson in such fits. Pitch count is 83.

8:14PM CDT: Fourth walk on the night with nowhere to put him. Napoli “drives in” Young and the Rangers lead 1-0 with the bases still juiced and one out. David Purcey is throwing in the pen. This could be a very long night if we need to go to the bullpen this early. Pitch count is at 78.

8:12PM CDT: Third walk on the night for Anderson loads up the bases for Mike Napoli. Pitch count is 73, he isn’t locating the curveball. This spells trouble. With just one out, needs a GIDP here from Napoli.

8:07PM CDT: More first two batter trouble for Anderson with back to back singles to start the fourth by Young and Mitch Moreland. Pitch count at 62…

7:45PM CDT: Is Lewis throwing at Andy LaRoche following the HBP of Beltre? Have to think it got away from him – it was up by the head.

7:42PM CDT: So Anderson lets the first two guys get on base then strikes out three in a row (David Murphy, Mike Napoli and Craig Gentry) to get out of trouble. Not the easiest method of doing things but it works out in the end. Very inefficient though as the pitch count climbs to 46 (27 for strikes) in just two innings of work. Without a true longman in the bullpen short outings become dangerous for this club.

7:36PM CDT: Adrian Beltre, that’s what you get for not signing in Oakland. XOXO, Brett Anderson. HBP puts Beltre on. Anderson still not looking so great. His history against the Rangers is not an impressive one. He has a career 6.44 ERA coming into this game against the Rangers in 29 1/3 innings (six starts). They hit a cool .314/.390/.479 against him – not a recipe for a ton of wins.

7:24PM CDT: Nice strikeout of Michael Young on the breaking pitch in the dirt there. One inning in and Anderson doesn’t look super-sharp with a laborious 22 pitch first with 12 strikes.

6:56PM CDT: Brett Anderson leads the A’s into battle against the Texas Rangers tonight. With a win the A’s will assure they leave Arlington with at least second place in their hands. Anderson struggled in his one outing versus the Rangers this year when on the final day of April he pitched just five innings, while surrendering seven (earned) runs, walking four and striking out just three en route to a career worst -.474 WPA. On the mound for Texas is Colby Lewis. Lewis who was a reliever for the A’s in 2007 before going to Japan, faced Anderson that last day of April but with a much different outcome pitching eight innings of two (earned) run ball, while walking one and K’ing six. The A’s have a bit of a different lineup in today, David DeJesus leads off, Ryan Sweeney is in playing center field and hitting third, Hideki Matsui returns after several nights off and Andy LaRoche gets the start at third. Inexplicably Mark Ellis is hitting seventh in the lineup – which is where he has hit for most of the season – but one has to think his lack of production should have him moved to the 8-spot if not off the starting roster entirely.

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