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Live Blogging: A’s @ Giants Game 47

May 22, 2011

5:00PM PDT: We got Brian Fuentesed – verb – for a needless loss brought upon you. Brian Fuentes, earned his seventh meltdown and sixth loss on the season today as Burriss singles to right that despite a very strong Sweeney throw resulted in Ford scoring and a 5-4 Giants win. Last place is ours, and no one elses. Back to Brian Fuentes, he has six losses already – yet still hasn’t lost the most important thing he could lose – his closer job. With six losses in forty-seven games it puts him on pace to lose twenty games this year. He is beyond terrible in this role, yet like a person who continues to touch a burner after discovering it is hot, Geren continually trots him out there. He somehow felt the burn from Breslow – whom he never uses in clutch situations anymore. He felt the burn from LaRoche – continually starting Kouzmanoff, yet with Fuentes the fire can seemingly not get hot enough. Sucks to get swept. Sucks to be in last place. Sucks to have a manager who thinks that Brian Fuentes is a real-life closer.

4:57PM PDT: Ford steals second. I love that Kuiper said “he is Peter Bourjous fast”. Now Posey will get the IBB to face Burriss.

4:56PM PDT: Darren Ford with a base hit, thankfully Sweeney gets to it quickly and he is limited to a single. Need to watch out for the stolen base. Posey is up now. Bob Geren and his love affair with Brian Fuentes strikes again… heart palpitations resume.

4:51PM PDT: With Brian Fuentes in to face Torres (S), Darren Ford (R) and Posey (R) it must be mentioned again that if the A’s lose this game, they get sole possession of last place.

4:45PM PDT: Weird pop up from Barton that Huff eventually fields but Posey was running after too. CoJax was in the on deck circle and sort of in the way. Does he have an obligation (other than not getting conked in the head) to get out of the way? Can he just stand there and let Huff and Posey get around him? Don’t know the rules on that one…

4:38PM PDT: Cedar Rapids’ favorite native son Ryan Sweeney pinch-hits for Breslow and gets a leadoff hit off of Sergio Romo to start the top of the eleventh. What makes the one-inning per reliever strategy I so deride a bit different in this game, is that the A’s currently are working with a nine man bullpen so they still have five guys they can go to.

4:29PM PDT: Breslow it is. Bob Geren, you are so painfully predictable.

4:26PM PDT: Sergio Romo gets Pennington to chase, so through nine and a half still tied. Fuentes and Craig Breslow are warming in the pen. Please let it be Craig Breslow who comes in. (I sadly think it might be not because he is the better choice, or because I want him to be but because Bob “Manage By the Book” Geren is saving Fuentes for the save – yikes) The stakes are high because the Rangers, Angels and Mariners all won their respective games today which means, if the A’s falter, they will be two out of the division – but they will be in sole position of last place.

4:18PM PDT: Again, just how deep is Willingham? But wow Pennington ran hard and made that catch in the place where a left fielder normally would be. Great play by Pennington. We have free baseball, extra innings – 25.5% of A’s games in 2011 have been extra inning affairs – not sure what that really demonstrates. Good outing by Joey Devine again. Great to have him back, really think he could be a big part of this bullpen.

4:15PM PDT: Fosse is commenting on how deep Conor Jackson is playing, is it just me or do they have the outfielders playing way too deep too often when in the no-doubles defense? I think they do.

4:13PM PDT: Joey Devine! Posey-Burriss-Ross due up.

4:11PM PDT: Bottom of the ninth still tied. Geren had Joey Devine and Brian Fuentes warming in the bullpen. I want Joey Devine

4:02PM PDT: Bruce Bochy puts in Brian Wilson for the ninth, a good move as the save is out of the question for them so if he’s your best in the late innings put him in now and promptly Daric Barton gets a hit off of him so hopefully the A’s can get something done against him. He has twelve shutdowns to three meltdowns this year, great ratio.

3:58PM PDT: Nate Schierholtz pinch-hitting for Dan Runzler was just a few feet shy of a splash hit, but that doesn’t matter because it is gone nonetheless to deep right field and it ties this one up. Bad pitch there from Grant Balfour put it right in Schierholtz’ wheelhouse. The guys on CSNCalifornia always say he is an A’s killer and they are right, coming into today he has two home runs against Oakland (now 3) the only other team he has hit more than one home run against are the Rockies granted he has 45 games against the Rockies to now 14 against Oakland. But yes, it is true, he hits Oakland well: .346/.346/.577. That one hurts. Tied at four again. Please, oh please, oh please do not put in Brian Fuentes.

3:45PM PDT: Matsui flies out to left, great throw by Emmanuel Burriss nearly gets Ellis at home but doesn’t. A’s get an insurance run and lead 4-2.Very good point by Ray Fosse that there is no excuse for Pennington not to have tagged up and gotten to second. All 41K or so people in AT&T Park knew that that throw was going home.

3:42PM PDT: Men on the corners. One out. Chance to get some insurance runs. Hideki Matsui pinch-hitting for Wuertz, Dan Runzler coming in to make it a lefty on lefty. No indication yet that Bob Geren is going to needlessly blow Matsui and put in a RH-hitter. Anything but a GIDP.

3:30PM PDT: Two straight walks means Gio Gonzalez‘ day is done. A strong outing, six and two-thirds, allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits, walking two and striking out eight on 113 pitches. He goes to Michael Wuertz. Geren either reads the blog and is now aware of Huff’s reverse platoon or he is freaked out that he didn’t have Brian Fuentes warming in the bullpen to face Huff.

3:25PM PDT: Josh Willingham had some great throws to get runners in spring training, but here Freddy Sanchez is trying to be a bit too aggressive, and a great throw from Willingham and tag by Ellis gets Freddy Sanchez out at second as he tries to tag from first. Great play.

3:18PM PDT: Great lead by Barton, easy stolen base even had Buster Posey come up with it cleanly Barton really beat Ramon Ramirez, he could’ve crawled to second by the time Posey got the pitch. Good job of taking a pitcher who is pretty solid and having a good outing (two K’s already) and taking advantage of his focus being solely on the hitter.

3:09PM PDT: Daric Barton pokes one through the left side of the infield, Coco hustling from second scores. A’s lead 3-2! That ends Affeldt’s day. Geren’s leaving Gio in pays dividends but also means Gio is in line for the victory.

3:08PM PDT: Coco Crisp with a double to left field, scores Cliff Pennington from second and ties this game. So the offense is so terrible that the pitchers are largely responsible for generating it for the A’s (Cahill’s run-scoring GIDP, Gio’s key sacrifice). We will take it. Tie ballgame at two!

3:06PM PDT: I am happy to see that Geren left Gonzalez in there. Didn’t expect that. But what a perfect sacrifice bunt he put down – which instantly moves him into the role of best Athletics hitting pitcher.

3:00PM PDT: Aaron Rowand is in to pinch-hit meaning that Jonathan Sanchez‘ afternoon is done. He goes six allowing one earned run on five hits (including the Willingham home run), with two walks and six strikeouts. Jeremy Affeldt will come in to pitch the top of the seventh. While you always want to get into the bullpen the Giants have one of MLB’s tougher ones featuring a team bullpen ERA of 3.17 and FIP indicating they’re even better than that at 2.81. Second only to the Atlanta Braves with 2.3 WAR.

2:56PM PDT: Sanchez strikes out LaRoche. Now LaRoche looks mad and for good reason.

2:55PM PDT: Sanchez looks mad – and for good reason. Mark Ellis went to steal second and was easily picked off, a terrible throw from Aubrey Huff goes into the outfield and Ellis gets to third safely instead. Like the A’s the Giants have terrible defense which is strange for teams that have such good pitchers who get good results. Need a big hit from Andy LaRoche here tie this thing up. Two outs, 1-1 count, Ellis on third…

2:48PM PDT: Josh Willingham scrapes the back of the left-center field fence, but in the box score it’ll look like a moonshot tomorrow! First A’s home run in a week! A’s cut the lead in half 2-1.

2:41PM PDT: Said it the last two games but AT&T Park is not friendly to home run hitters, good thing for the A’s on this hanging curve by Gio that got halfway up the dead centerfield wall instead of out for Cody Ross.

2:36PM PDT: That 4-6-3 GIDP by Daric Barton was huge – obviously not in a good way. Had he been able to hold out for a walk the bases would’ve been loaded for Conor Jackson who is hitting .500/.500/.850 off Jonathan Sanchez including two home runs. Good chance for the A’s to get back into this game and it is blown again. I am starting to question keeping Barton in the lineup, as anyone knows I am a big fan of his but it gets to the point where you need to question whether or not it is detrimental to the ultimate goal: winning. Barton is hitting very poorly, and despite his OBP which is relatively high on this club, is he really the best to be hitting second still? His .278 wOBA is below the team’s abysmal average of .290.

2:29PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez is on board after Mike Fontenot flubs the infield grounder. Gio was burning down the line wow. I wonder if he could steal a base? Out of curiosity looked it up. There have been a total of one stolen bases by pitchers so far in 2011. That single stolen base was by Cliff Lee.

2:22PM PDT: Gio gets out of a bases loaded mess unharmed. A’s still trail 2-0, could’ve been a lot worse. Despite the earlier commentary that we shouldn’t worry about pitch counts, Gio is a 74 pitches in just four frames, so we could have another outing from one of our top three pitchers of six or fewer innings.

2:18PM PDT: Nice hit by Jonathan Sanchez there. Was looking to bunt, pulled it back and hit it past Andy LaRoche. Nice play. Still doesn’t mean pitchers should ever hit.

2:00PM PDT: Terrible play. Terrible, terrible, terrible. Andy LaRoche had Pat Burrell as a sitting duck available to tag he didn’t. He threw it to first which is fine, but throws it wildly and Daric Barton has to lunge to try and get Cody Ross – its unclear if he did or didn’t – it was a close play. Regardless, Giants 2, Athletics 0 thanks to yet another defensive lapse. It was this time last year that the Rangers got separation from the A’s, largely care of interleague play. This division, where everyone is playing so terribly hasn’t allowed anyone to separate yet – despite a 22-24 record the A’s started today just one game behind the Rangers. The Rangers beat Philadelphia today so the presently are just one game a head. But you can’t keep making defensive miscues like this day in, day out, you can’t keep hitting this poorly with RISP day in, day out – and now especially with 40% of our starting rotation missing – expect to win and compete. Pretty bad stuff.

1:43PM PDT: Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse are having an interesting conversation regarding pitch count. I agree with them, that the pitch count is too big of an issue. Yesterday Brett Anderson should not have been lifted after just 91 pitches, he was doing great, likewise Lincecum was left in for 133 pitches, and did fine. There is an over reliance on this arbitrary number. Of course Bob Geren with his “manage by flashcard” method won’t let anyone stay in a game if the “basic tenets of baseball management” don’t say to, so we’ll see our bullpen needlessly used and blow games until his tenure in Oakland comes to a close.

1:36PM PDT: Sanchez strikes out Gio Gonzalez who does a pirouette while swinging and in what will be a daily comment every time the A’s play in a National League park: people think this somehow makes for better baseball. I suppose there are people who still think the sun revolves around the earth too, or that you can in fact dig a hole to China, and that the Easter bunny is real.

1:21PM PDT: More stupid news from the Oakland Athletics – though not entirely surprising stupid news. Tomorrow’s start (Brandon McCarthy‘s spot in the rotation) in Anaheim will belong to Josh Outman reports Paul Gutierrez of CSNCalifornia. I say stupid not because he gets tomorrow’s start, I don’t know how he and Guillermo Moscoso lineup in the rotation, I say stupid because he gets a start period. He has a 5.83 FIP at Sacramento, which I am certain is aided by his awful 6.5 BB/9. I’d have appreciated some lineup creativity and maybe an attempt at passing Sean Doolittle (who certainly does little) or Pedro Figueroa through waivers and getting Travis Banwart into the picture. (Bobby Cramer – the more obvious choice is sidelined with a sore back)

1:18PM PDT: The trend does continue. A double down the left-field line by Freddy Sanchez scores Torres from first. Willingham just didn’t really play that well. It seems like he slowed down getting to it. Granted it was by the wall so you cant maybe run full-speed like you normally would, but that ball and where it was hit doesn’t seem like you should be to score from first unless you are Peter Bourjos and run faster than high speed maglev trains. Torres isn’t that fast. San Francisco 1, Oakland 0.

1:16PM PDT: Third straight game that Andres Torres gets on base to begin the game – this time care of a HBP on an 0-2 count. Each of the other two games he has scored and that is a trend the A’s do not want to continue today. Not the way Gio Gonzalez wanted to start this one.

1:13PM PDT: A’s put together a hit and a walk but strand two. Yesterday they made Tim Lincecum labor through the first inning but he plowed through the rest of the game. I think a key in this game is really making Sanchez pitch to you and make him throw a ton of pitches. If they can get to Sanchez early I think they stand a shot, but he isn’t by any means a pushover, he is a very good pitcher.

1:06PM PDT: Three pitch strikeout of Coco Crisp before CSNCalifornia can even give us the lineup – that my friends is not a good start.

12:57PM PDT: One deal to remark on first before we get to today’s ballgame as I failed to mention it in the Game 46 coverage. The A’s signed former Athletic Lenny DiNardo to a minor-league contract and assigned him to the Sacramento River Cats roster to help Sacramento have a few more starting arms as the A’s rotation has taken three hits now reports DiNardo has not pitched in the Majors since 2009 when he pitched 21 1/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals. His best season (and only full-time season) came with Oakland in 2007 when he went 8-10 with a 4.11 ERA (4.84 FIP) in 35 games (20 starts) while posting some weak peripherals: 4.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. For his career he has in 257 MLB innings a 5.36 ERA and a 4.91 FIP with 4.6 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 with a total 1.4 WAR. This guy is basically a replacement level pitcher. But it is of note they signed him and I wanted to mention it.

Jonathan Sanchez is taking on the A’s today and with an offense where things clearly are not working (only run comes off of Trevor Cahill‘s GIDP in this series) Geren doesn’t really do anything remarkable to try and solve things, electing to still bench Hideki Matsui and also David DeJesus in favor of Josh Willingham and Conor Jackson in the corner outfield positions. Kevin Kouzmanoff who was sidelined with a groin strain in yesterday’s ballgame is replaced by Andy LaRoche at the hot corner. Gio Gonzalez takes the hill trying to end the A’s now eight game skid at AT&T Park. Sanchez and Gonzalez are very similar pitchers, they rack up a lot of K’s are a bit wild, looking side-to-side at their careers here’s how they matchup,

Gonzalez 8.5 4.6 1.0 4.15 4.19
Sanchez 9.5 4.6 0.9 4.21 4.04

A’s need to end this series with a win and salvage something from their trip across the Bay.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2011 6:40 pm

    Shocked Geren went the RHP to face Huff. You beat me to the punchline but someone on the A’s must be reading the blog.

    • May 22, 2011 6:44 pm

      I know first they leave in Gio, then they become aware of the reverse platoon, next they won’t use Fuentes!

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