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Live Blogging: Royals @ A’s Game 70

June 16, 2011

3:37PM PDT: A’s win! Balfour with two K’s means A’s pitchers combined to strikeout sixteen Royals – wow. A’s win the series, been a while on that count (May 27-29 versus Baltimore) – care of a good dose of hitting coupled with some shutdown pitching. Interleague returns tomorrow. With the Rangers being swept in New York by the Yankees, and the A’s win today they find themselves a mere six games back at 30-40, pretty pathetic but the Rangers lead this division with a terrible 36-34 record. While many will say six games out by June 17th, lots to play for, to me it seems a bit foolish to go for it this year and sacrifice the future to a degree, but you never know if things keep going the way they are maybe we do in fact become buyers? I have to think Texas is better than they are playing though.

3:35PM PDT: Grant Balfour in to “close” out this game allows a lead off double to Mitch Maier. But what a great pitching performance against Melky Cabrera – just froze him:

3:19PM PDT: Brayan Pena joins the “I want to get a hard hit double” club, which drives in Betemit. A’s 8, Royals 4. This team will be very good one day – right now they are a bit inconsistent, and their starting pitching is just nowhere to be seen, but they have a lot of potential on this club. Pesky little team. Michael Wuertz isn’t looking good, not sure Brian Fuentes (warming up) is the solution when you need relief.

3:15PM PDT: Another double, this one of the ground-rule variety by Wilson Betemit. So Wuertz isn’t looking so hot here as the Royals add a run. Oakland 8, Kansas City 3.

3:14PM PDT: Michael Wuertz is welcomed into the game with a Billy Butler drive over the head of Coco Crisp in center. I have a feeling Wuertz won’t be with the A’s by the end of the year. He’d be a decent candidate to trade if you ask me.

3:02PM PDT: Kurt Suzuki with a double that scores Sizemore, the A’s are now up 8-2! That’ll chase Adcock from the game after a 60-pitch three-inning performance. Nice to have those kinds of guys in the bullpen, when you’re doing 6-0 it is nice to be able to avoid burning out your pen with a guy like him who can go a few innings. Ned Yost is going to replace Adcock with Everett Teaford. Teaford, a sidearm lefty, hasn’t deceived too many hitters this year, with just 1.9 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Somehow he has stranded 100% of runners, but has been the victim of the long ball (1.9 HR/9 and 28.6% HR/FB – it should be noted he has a very high 56.7% GB%). But these stats all explain the extremely wide gap between his sparkling 1.93 ERA and his startling 6.59 FIP. As can be suspected Teaford is much tougher on lefties than righties.

2:56PM PDT: Three more strikeouts for Devine now. To say the Royals have expanded their zone would be an understatement today. Thirteen strikeouts in just seven innings. Ouch.

2:47PM PDT: So a gutsy performance by Gio Gonzalez comes to an end as the A’s insert a new pitcher with Joey Devine. Gonzalez had a great outing – he should pitch sick all the time – going six innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits with two walks and ten strikeouts. Great outing.

2:43PM PDT: Interesting note Ken Korach just relayed. He says that Tyson Ross is going to be throwing a pitching session, whereas Brandon McCarthy will be pitching to hitters. This is great news! Rich Harden had a pitching session already that went well and its anticipated that he will next start in a minor-league game in Stockton or Sacramento. The A’s could get a major infusion of talent back into this club – though you really cannot complain about the contributions of Josh Outman or Guillermo Moscoso so far. Also, I wouldn’t expect a thing out of Harden, but the Ross and McCarthy news is encouraging.

2:32PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez is still in the game – interesting. Craig Breslow is however warming in the bullpen, so I imagine if there’s even the hint of him faltering Breslow will be inserted on the mound.

2:30PM PDT: Jemile Weeks base hit scores Scott Sizemore! Sizemore should get two runs, since he was running on Francoeur’s arm and beat the throw. Alas the A’s get credited with just one, A’s 7, Royals 2. Nathan Adcock is tagged for his first run in the game. Could be a good day for A’s hitters.

2:27PM PDT: Daric Barton strikes out watching a pitch down the middle. I love him, I really do, but he needs to be optioned. They sent the message with Kouzmanoff (one of the higher paid players on the team) sent him to Sacramento (even going as far as outrighting him there which I think no one saw coming) they need to do it with Barton for a different reason. For his future and for the A’s future. Him languishing on the MLB roster doesn’t do anyone any service.

2:18PM PDT: Thirty-five pitch fifth inning for Gio Gonzalez. Sloppy but comes out of it with only two runs scoring. Ends it with a flourish striking out Billy Butler. Gio has to be the luckiest pitcher on the A’s. He uncorked a pitch to the screen against Butler yet it was thrown so hard (and so offline) that it bounced all the way back to Kurt Suzuki preventing runners from moving up (and in the case of Cabrera – scoring). Strange play. With Gio under the weather and at 95 pitches after laboring through an inning that represents over a third of his pitches thrown, I wonder if we see him out for the sixth? Strains the bullpen if he comes out early, Gio is a gamer too so we will see.

2:15PM PDT: Jeff Francoeur bounces one off of the left field wall to score Escobar. Is Gio Gonzalez melting down? A’s 6, Royals 2.

2:13PM PDT: Bloop single by Cabrera scores Pena. Ron Romanick is going out to talk to Gio, which is good thinking, because Gio can snowball to an effect. The Royals add one run to reduce the deficit to 6-1.

2:09PM PDT: Cliff Pennington bobbles the ball there, should’ve been a double play. Double plays like that have been helping Gio get out of jams all year. It won’t go down as an error, but that play should’ve been a GIDP despite the speedy Alcides Escobar.

2:02PM PDT: Two swinging strikeouts for Adcock (Willingham and CoJax) additional damage averted.

1:54PM PDT: Four pitch walk to Hideki Matsui ends the day of Jeff Francis and Royals manager Ned Yost goes out to retrieve the game ball and hand it to Nathan Adcock. Adcock was a Rule V draft pick and hasn’t been the sharpest pitcher but solid enough for a non-contending Kansas City to hang onto him I guess. 5.1 K/9 to 3.1 BB/9 coupled with 1.4 HR/9 add up to a messy 5.20 FIP. He really has suffered from an abnormally high 17.9% HR/FB which is a bit strange given that Kauffman Stadium isn’t a launchpad really. Amazingly though and you need to give him credit, as a Rule V draft pick he was a career minor-leaguer and came from the Pirates organization. But it isn’t like he was playing with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, he was pitching with the Bradenton Marauders in the Single-A Florida State League, so quite the jump for him.

1:53PM PDT: Coco Crisp steals second. That’s the difference between Crisp and Pennington, both are fast but whereas Pennington is constantly getting caught Crisp is 19-of-25 (76.0%). You need to remember also that at least two of those were overrunning the base caught stealings in Anaheim earlier this year where beat the throw but slid through and was then tagged.

1:47PM PDT: Another strikeout to end the inning for Gio Gonzalez as he gets Moustakas swinging sixth on the afternoon. Pitch count isn’t terrible either at 60 (40 for strikes).

1:40PM PDT: Groundout to first for Barton. Scores Willingham. Athletics 6, Royals 0. Barton just isn’t hitting. Someone to look at optioning to Sacramento. He’s a better hitter than this, let him figure it out down there before his confidence just melts away. Come back renewed.

1:39PM PDT: Suzuki HBP another chance for Barton with the bases loaded to cash in.

1:37PM PDT: Scott Sizemore with a hit into right that normally would allow a runner from third to tag, but with Francoeur out there they don’t send Josh Willingham. The cameras show a shot of Willingham chatting it up with Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas my guess about what they talked about, “wow that guy can really throw it”. Francoeur threw a one hop perfect throw to Pena would’ve had Willingham by a mile had he gone.

1:32PM PDT: Godzilla! Hideki Matsui with a booming shot to right field, his 499th career home run (Japan and America combined). A’s take a 5-0 lead! Bob Melvin has made an immediate impact on Matsui. Playing him regularly, killing that uncertainty of “are you in? are you out?” has clearly paid dividends. Also simply the hitting him against lefties alone, another home run off a lefty in Jeff Francis.

1:28PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez strikes out Jeff Francoeur so the poor officiating is a moot point.

1:27PM PDT: Bob Melvin has now argued with three of the four umpires, he is just waiting on the home plate ump for an argument – but he won’t get it, he just got ejected. Strange. Realistically Melvin was 1-for-3 on those. The umps made the right call on the Cliff Pennington caught stealing, they made the right call (this current argument) saying Cabrera was safe on his steal of second. But they were wrong about the play that let Cabrera even make that steal.

1:24PM PDT: The umpiring this year is bad. Missed call. Barton kept the foot on the bag. It may have slipped off for a second but as Barton sort of bounce into that split, he pushed back onto the bag. So instead of a GIDP, Melky Cabrera is safe on first. For all of Weeks’ excitement, Mark Ellis truly is a better fielder. Currently, I am willing to sacrifice some defense for offense (it isn’t like Weeks is a terrible fielder, whereas Ellis currently is a by all counts terrible hitter).

1:14PM PDT: Break up the A’s! Coco Crisp single scores Weeks. Oakland 4, Kansas City 0. Jeff Francis‘ last start against Oakland wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either a 4.85 FIP for the game with a -.044 WPA: six and third innings, eight hits (including a Kevin Kouzmanoff home run), with one walk and two K’s.

1:12PM PDT: Mark Ellis who? Jemile Weeks! A nice great double right into the gap in left-center. Clears the bases and Weeks ends up at third. A’s 3, Royals 0. This guy has injected so much excitement into this team – it will be really interesting to see what happens. Mark Ellis allegedly is reporting to Sacramento on Saturday to begin a rehab assignment (of course Ellis never really was convinced this was an injury that necessitated a visit to the disabled list to begin with).

1:10PM PDT: Barton grounds into what could’ve easily been a GIDP, but it wasn’t. Runs scores at third. A’s 1, Royals 0.

1:09PM PDT: Scott Sizemore and Kurt Suzuki with back-to-back singles. That loads with bases with CoJax on third care of a leadoff walk. Daric Barton is up, it’d be good to see him make good solid contact. He has been doing too much of this weak routine pop up crap. His FB% is 43.0% this year, and while that matches his career mark (also exactly 43.0%) it is higher than his 39.3% of last year when he was a far better hitter. Likewise this year’s LD% is down at 19.4% (career mark 20.5%), highly noteworthy though is his IFFB% a career 9.2% mark this year those weak infield flies are up to 13.8% – a surefire path to failure.

1:00PM PDT: 1-2-3 inning for Gio with another strikeout thrown in. It’d be nice to see him stay calm and in control like this. We really need him and Cahill to pick it up right now because they’re our only two Opening Day roster starters still active and have been pitching very poorly as of late.

12:53PM PDT: Cliff Pennington caught stealing ends the first. He was out. No argument. Looks like Chris Getz tagged him on the leg – nice toss from backup backstop Brayan Pena. I like the aggressiveness but I’m not sure we ought to do that sort of thing with Pennington – he has been a very bad 6-for-11 in steal attempts this year a pathetic 54.5%. Had no idea he was that bad until I looked at it.

12:44PM PDT: Sort of a mixed inning for Gio Gonzalez. Three strikeouts, but also a single and walk sprinkled in there. I’ve lost a bit of my confidence in Gio as of late. He’s been inconsistent, as a three strikeout with a hit and a walk inning is indicative of. So through one inning he keeps KC at bay on fifteen pitches with two-thirds of them for strikes.

12:35PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez tries to match Josh Outman‘s excellence from yesterday and avoid the high number of walks he had in his last outing a problem that felled Trevor Cahill and the A’s also this Monday against the Royals. While Gio’s ERA (2.67) is still 6th in the American League with his control problems and luck at keeping them from hurting him his FIP is a more reflective of his play this year 3.85. Gio is apparently under the weather so hopefully that doesn’t interfere with is ability to compete. The Kansas City Royals put up Jeff Francis to counter Gio in a battle of lefties. The A’s lineup is similar to what we’ve seen as of late and the right-fielder of the day seems to be the favored Conor Jackson.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2011 12:28 pm

    so i was at this game, and you convinced me about jamile weeks and almost got me on scott sizemore. i don’t have a tv, so i listen to all the games. some things you just have to SEE.

    weeks is definitely the only guy out there with any spark, which may or may not be why the other dudes are playing better (or hitting better i should say, as playing better is a stretch). does ellis need to go? while sentimentally this makes me sad, it does seem like a no-brainer when watching weeks. he puts the ball in play, and hits the ball hard- something i haven’t seen ellis do in a long time. productive outs are one thing, hitting is another. his fielding definitely isn’t ellis-like yet, but ellis has always been outstanding in the field.

    sizemore really does hit the ball hard. harder than anyone on the a’s, which was a shock to me. sure, i saw matsui hit a homerun (i’ve now seen 2 of his, what, 4 homeruns this season?), but sizemore’s balls actually seemed punched harder than any of the others. and he’s fast. i like it. he should play first or right or something. get barton out of the lineup- this guy can hit. i still contend you need someone at 3rd who can field, and i don’t think sizemore is that guy, but in the meantime, he can hit, which is a relief.

    and man, i was impressed by francouer. so the guy strikes out 4 times. he hits one ball Really Hard, but more importantly, that dude has a gun. do we have a single player on the team who can throw the ball from deep/normal depth to home without a bounce and make a close play? (it might have been an out?) the guys didn’t run on him because they were out if they did. my dad and i discussed it later- even with the 4 ks, we’d take him over any guy in the a’s line up. he makes crisp look like a little leaguer in the outfield- have you seen the mad dash the infielders make towards him when he catches a ball? and his obp and ba aren’t bad, considering all those k’s. i haven’t seen an arm like that in a long time.

    it was a great game. watching gio or listening to gio ALWAYS stresses me out. 100+ pitches in 5 innings is pretty much what i expect from him, even though i know he’s been better this year, but it seems like it’s what i get when i listen to him. he’s the jonathan sanchez of the giants. walks, hbp, and a wild pitch that wasn’t a wild pitch because the runners didn’t advance- piece of luck that it bounced RIGHT back to suzuki. he was struggling and needs his coach back (braden, right? or anderson? i forget.) it was fun, and sunny, and they won. i don’t get to see that a lot! i hope sunday will be that fun, too.

    • June 20, 2011 4:33 pm

      Yeah I love Weeks – real exciting ballplayer isn’t he? The blazing speed on any ball into a gap just makes for so much excitement (I am a I’ll take a triple over an HR for excitement kinda guy). My guess regarding what happens when Ellis is activated is that Barton is demoted to Sacramento, Ellis is kept up for a little while before the A’s deal him. I just get that feeling. We will know Wednesday. I don’t know if Sizemore can play first but why not? The Angels have had Howie Kendrick playing first.

      Francoeur easily is one of the top arms in MLB, off hand I’d say the only ones better are Ichiro Suzuki and Shin-Soo Choo maybe? I don’t think I’d want Francoeur he isn’t a complete ballplayer by any means. We have two decent arms in DeJesus and Sweeney, they aren’t like elite like Francoeur’s but they are solidly above average, who I think are more complete ballplayers than Francoeur – though this year DeJesus in particular is trying desperately to prove me wrong.

      Lucky you get to go! As a NRAF (non-region A’s fan) my next games will (hopefully) be when they are in Detroit in July. This year’s schedule has been a nightmare all games relatively close (and relatively is quite broad even) have been midweek which just doesn’t work out well and ironically when the A’s are closest, I will be in California, so I will miss all those games too. Oh well, we are likely moving to Northern California soon enough and I am looking forward to catching a lot of games.

      How was yesterday’s ballgame? I take it by your comment you went.

  2. June 21, 2011 11:26 am

    oh i didn’t realize you weren’t local! i didn’t realize there were… out of town a’s fans! i know there are tons of phils fans, but… you guys are few and far between! it’s nice to know you’re out there 🙂

    man, demoting barton would make my day. it made my day on sunday that he wasn’t in the game. getting rid of kouz was AMAZING, and it made the a’s look that much better and though i’ve been hoping to get rid of barton all year, it really showed what a suck he is both offensively and defensively. i don’t know how long they can play him. it’s terrible.

    definitely sold on weeks- he hit the ball hard against cain, and made some solid plays in the field. kid’s got range.

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