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Live Blogging: A’s @ Red Sox Game 58

June 3, 2011

10:47PM EDT: Game over. Red Sox win after coming back twice first down 4-0, then down 7-6. Four straight losses and the A’s fall to 27-31 and fall four and a half behind the AL West leading Rangers who beat up on Cleveland 11-2 today in Ohio. Many will want to find a way to blame Bob Geren for this and though I felt he had a few curious moves – taking Guillermo Moscoso out so early, having Josh Outman even start this game in the first place (LHP’s tend to struggle in Fenway), the move that has been an easy criticism in the past (timing of putting Fuentes into the game) really isn’t a criticism today. Fuentes dug his own grave in being behind that entire at bat that he had little leeway to really throw his pitch to Crawford, but ultimately Crawford’s broken bat bloop was pure luck. It fell where no one was, it wasn’t a streaking liner or something indicative of Fuentes leaving one where he shoudln’t. Nine times out of ten a hit like that would’ve found someone’s glove for a harmless out. So Fuentes doesn’t take the loss but will be the fall guy (Devine takes the loss – also this ends his scoreless innings streak) but the decision to put him in was a reasonable one, especially given how poorly Crawford was hitting LHPs. Nonetheless even if it is bad luck, you never want to see bad luck not break your way and this loss is absurdly disappointing. Particular points of annoyance are the error in the first by Kouzmanoff that allowed a run in and then Wuertz’ hanging slider that allowed the Red Sox an insurance run that they would ultimately not need but still was a particularly psychologically defeating shot. A’s and Red Sox do it again tomorrow afternoon in Boston.

10:40PM EDT: 

Easily one of my least favorite MLBers. Jonathan Papelbon comes into the game for the Red Sox. A’s put up DeJesus, Willingham and Matsui needing two runs to tie.

10:36PM EDT: #60 is warming in the pen for the A’s… not sure why. Maybe for if the A’s tie this thing in the ninth? Or is it because we worry about Wuertz just letting this game get out of control in the eighth? Oh yeah, #60 of course is Fautino De Los Santos. I’d really love to see him pitch, but I just don’t think this is the correct time for his debut.

10:33PM EDT: Michael Wuertz in to face Jarrod Saltalamacchia and his second pitch is a hanging slider. Hanging sliders in Fenway do not go unpunished. Home run to right center. Red Sox add the insurance run it’s 8-6.

10:26PM EDT: Daniel Bard on the mound, Kouzmanoff is set down and Ryan Sweeney in to pinch hit with one out. He is 4-for-8 with a triple as a pinch-hitter this year. Nice to see him adapt to that role (granted, small sample size) because many players just aren’t able to get hits off the bench like that and contribute when starting as well.

10:19PM EDT: Broken bat bloop up the middle for Crawford. Carl Crawford who coming in to the at bat was 7-for-68 against lefties (.104) has the ball drop in no man’s land just behind second base, two runs (Gonzalez and Youkilis) score. Red Sox take a 7-6 lead. Fuentes’ struggles in non-save situations continue, as he earns meltdown number eight on the year…

10:14PM EDT: Big out for Devine, getting Lowrie to pop up to shallow left. Bases still juiced and with the left-handed Carl Crawford coming up Geren is opting to use Brian Fuentes out of the pen. Crawford is 1-for-5 with a double in his career against Fuentes. Big moment.

10:11PM EDT: Ortiz walks leaving the bases full for Jed Lowrie. Eek. For those curious the leverage index is 4.79.

10:08PM EDT: New A’s pitcher Joey Devine looking less than sharp with Gonzalez getting a long double about halfway up the Green Monster then a tailing ball into Youkilis. So men on second and first just one out. Ortiz is due up, Devine’s scoreless inning streak on the line here as is the A’s lead.

9:59PM EDT: … or ground into an inning-ending double play… same difference. Ugh.

9:58PM EDT: Jenks walks Zuk. Willingham is on third care of a double then balk. Barton is up. He’s been big today, it’d be great to see him get that insurance run home. Jenks looks pretty bad so I suspect Barton will take a lot of pitches, but he is throwing slop, poke one into that gap on the right side of the infield.

9:47PM EDT: Breslow gets through it, lead preserved. A’s need to get some insurance runs and Bobby Jenks who is coming in is a good guy to try and do it against. He has only pitched nine and two thirds innings this year and has struggled mightily, with 9.3 K/9, and 8.4 BB/9 with a .455 BABIP (ouch). His ERA is 8.38 (identical to his 8.38 BB/9 don’t see that too often, especially that high) and his FIP a bit more down to earth at 3.67. Heart of the order 3-4-5 due up for the A’s and Jenks is recently back from the disabled list. Time to disable his confidence.

9:37PM EDT: Not sure I understand the move but Geren is removing Moscoso (after having him warm for the bottom of the sixth, because this game isn’t long enough already) and putting in Craig Breslow. A few lefties are due up in pinch-hitter J.D. Drew and Ellsbury with the switching hitting Saltalamacchia between them, but still it seems early to go to Breslow. Moscoso has fared well thus far, he is rested, I’d rather save the bullpen for the rest of the series knowing this Red Sox lineup can really chew through pitching. Interesting also is this split for Breslow this year:

OAK Ahead 11 .345 .424 .379
OAK Trailing 13 .209 .244 .372

9:30PM EDT: Terry Francona out to make a move for the “play every game like it is a playoff game” Boston Red Sox. The new pitcher is Tommy Hottovy and he is making his MLB debut (let’s rough him up – welcome to the bigs kid!). Hottovy is making his MLB debut despite being a few weeks shy of 30, so good for him, nice to see that sort of perseverance in chasing your dream. He was drafted in 2004 in the fourth round and has split his time between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket sporting a combined 1.67 ERA, with 10.8 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. The career numbers for the southpaw aren’t particularly impressive, in eight minor league seasons he has a combined ERA of 4.17 while allowing 3.2 BB/9 and getting 7.0 K/9.

9:25PM EDT: Good job by Moscoso to get out of a very sticky situation. Good outing thus far for the Venezuelan who has thrown forty pitches in his two and a third innings of work while getting three K’s.

9:21PM EDT: Great changeup from Moscoso to K Ortiz. You could tell Ortiz was sitting fastball because that was just down the middle and Ortiz got big air on it. Big out.

9:17PM EDT: Now Moscoso is running into some trouble with back-to-back hits from Gonzalez and Youkilis. David Ortiz up with second and first occupied and no one out. Moscoso until now had looked good though in fairness these two guys are two of the better hitters in the American League so it isn’t a crime to allow them solid hits.

9:08PM EDT: Daric Barton with a single to the right side which is the straw to break the camel’s back as it prompts Terry Francona to pull Clay Buchholz. More importantly the single scores Willingham and gives the A’s a 6-5 lead. Swapping DeJesus and Barton in the lineup has paid quick dividends tonight, the two are a combined 3-for-5 with two driven in.  Buchholz will give way to Scott Atchison. Atchison is making his seventh appearance as the long man in the Red Sox pen. In twelve and a third he has 6.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 (both lower than his usual career marks, which is bad for K’s but good for BB’s). His gaudy 5.11 ERA doesn’t tell the full story (he has a poor 65.0% strand rate) as his FIP is a very respectable 2.46.

9:00PM EDT: A tweet from the A’s just made me notice something I hadn’t noticed before, but Grant Balfour is on paternity leave following the birth of his daughter and Fautino De Los Santos has been recalled from Sacramento. This is the second time FDLS has been with the big club – he was with Oakland for the San Francisco series – but he has yet to participate in any games and make his MLB debut. He is available to go tonight apparently – I’d love to see what he has to offer.

8:47PM EDT: Wow, interesting play from Adrian Gonzalez. He stepped on first and then tried to throw home to get Kouz but didn’t get him in time. Nice attempt, like the thinking – get the guaranteed out and then try and get a guy thinking he can just walk in from third – but didn’t work out which works out well for A’s fans as this game once again is tied now at 5.

8:43PM EDT: Ray Fosse on the Buchholz throw to first to hold Pennington, “worked so well last time he’s gonna try it again”. I love Ray.

8:39PM EDT: Wow, terrible baseball from the Red Sox much to our benefit. For lord knows what reason Buchholz throws to first to “hold” Kouzmanoff. Of course the throw gets away from Gonzalez, Kouz goes to second. Next pitch: passed ball by Saltalamacchia, Kouz to third. That is how stupidity (throwing to first) comes back to bite your ass in baseball – a lovely beautiful but unforgiving game. Now the A’s need to score this tying run from third.

8:30PM EDT: So Moscoso stops the bleeding K’s Cameron and closes the book on Outman. This game has the potential to be a long one as Moscoso is a slow and deliberate worker and if Buchholz gets knocked out early due to a high pitch count we could see a revolving door of relievers. This coming half inning will be telling to see how Buchholz has settled down.

8:25PM EDT: Here comes Geren and Outman’s failure to get outs, means the man is out of this game. Moscoso is coming in to face Cameron and presumably give the A’s a few good innings of work. Outman’s final line has him going two and two-thirds, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits, a walk and two strikeouts. Messy.

8:23PM EDT: Jed Lowrie singles up the middle scoring Ortiz from second, lead officially lost. Red Sox 5, A’s 4. Outman needs to be pulled soon before this game gets rapidly out of hand.

8:21PM EDT: David Ortiz goes opposite field again Willingham misplays it off the wall to the point where Cliff Pennington is who ends up getting to it first well into left field. This results in Youk scoring from first tying up this game. So that lead did not last long. Due to the off day yesterday Guillermo Moscoso is available for long relief duty and Bob Geren has him up in the bullpen.

8:18PM EDT: Starts off Youkilis 3-0, gets him back to 3-2, then loses him, this is just one team you can’t afford to miss with, then again you can’t afford to leave it over the plate either. While this is just the first walk by Outman he hasn’t had pin-point control thus far and you just can’t get away with walking Red Sox hitters as this lineup can beat you top to bottom.

8:12PM EDT: As I commented just ten minutes ago,

“Buchholz strikes me as the kind of guy who can shake off a four run first and then dominate.”

The top of the third inning: five-pitch strikeout of Matsui, three-pitches for a fly out for Suzuki, three pitches for a Barton ground out. Eleven pitch inning, seven strikes. He’s baaaack…

8:02PM EDT: Josh Willingham makes the catch in left, but the ball is deep enough for the Ellsbury swing to plate Mike Cameron. Outman looks terrible today. The defense isn’t helping out, Cameron gets on care of the error, gets to third care of a passed ball on a strike three that also enables Jarrod Saltalamacchia get to first. Sloppy play has reduced the lead to 4-3, with the way Outman has been pitching evidently a four run lead wasn’t sufficient so I am sure a one run lead isn’t sufficient either. Buchholz strikes me as the kind of guy who can shake off a four run first and then dominate. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

8:00PM EDT: Kevin Kouzmanoff with another error, number nine on the year as he throws it past Barton and into the Beantown dugout. I wonder how much longer Scott Sizemore sits in Sacramento? The final days for Kouz or Andy LaRoche must be close at hand…

7:58PM EDT: Carl Crawford‘s woes continue as DeJesus steals a home run from Crawford, of course at most parks that means a big spiderman like play the likes of which we always saw from Torii Hunter, but at Fenway it just means DeJesus caught it up around his head right at the right field wall. Regardless. A’s keep the lead at two runs and Crawford goes back thinking maybe he should’ve signed in Anaheim where no one would’ve noticed a slow start.

7:46PM EDT: Rough first inning for both starters. This could be a long game…

  R H BB SO Pitches Strikes
Buchholz 4 5 0 1 27 18
Outman 2 3 0 0 29 15

7:42PM EDT: David Ortiz takes a 3-1 hit and goes opposite field to left and scores Kevin Youkilis from second. A’s lead is cut down to two, 4-2.

7:39PM EDT: The Red Sox get one back as Adrian Gonzalez grounds out to score Jacoby Ellsbury from third. Ellsbury singled, stole a base, got to third on a wild pitch – small ball is really becoming a part of the game again, and I wonder how that changes the philosophy of the A’s a team that historically has “waited for a three-run homer” and has been averse to sacrifice plays (I still am averse to them). Oakland 4, Boston 1.

7:29PM EDT: First inning done and the A’s have a 4-0 lead. Coming into today Clay Buchholz held opponents to a .130/.232/.261 slash line with RISP, including an 0-for-6 mark for Oakland when they last faced Buchholz in April. Quite the change tonight as the A’s in the first alone went 2-for-3 with RISP off the right-hander.

7:25PM EDT: Mark Ellis chopper up the middle to score Kurt Suzuki and Barton. 4-0 A’s! Three straight two out hits which have scored three runs. This is what Oakland did so well against Baltimore last weekend. Great start to this game, nice to be able to get Outman a big cushion like this.

7:23PM EDT: You need to love Daric Barton in the six hole! (Solution?) He gets a base hit to right which scores Matsui from second and the A’s take a good 2-0 lead.

7:19PM EDT: Hideki Matsui with a groundout but it scores DeJesus from third. A’s take the early 1-0 lead. That’s what I like about Matsui, he hits it to the right side to score the run, he seems to do that sort of thing better than most.

7:15PM EDT: DeJesus takes advantage of hitting in the two spot with a base hit. I think this is a great spot for him in this lineup despite his sort of lukewarm numbers in the #2 spot in his career (96 games, .256/.330/.402).

7:11PM EDT: Clay Buchholz takes on Josh Outman today at Fenway Park. The day has finally come that Daric Barton is being dropped in the order hitting sixth. David DeJesus is moved into the #2 spot which I think is a great and much needed move. Hideki Matsui also is in the lineup as are all the other opening day regulars. Buchholz and the Red Sox beat the A’s in Oakland, and a lot has changed as the Red Sox are now doing a lot better than they were then following a rough start, finding themselves in second place with a 30-26 record which presently would be good enough for the wild card berth. Buchholz has been very lucky thus far this year with a .264 BABIP, 84% strand rate, and a 3.41 ERA despite a 4.76 FIP. So it’d be nice to see the A’s take advantage and steal a win here. Outman needs to keep his control issues in check because this Red Sox team will more than happily walk around the bases.

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