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Live Blogging: A’s @ Mets Game 74

June 21, 2011

 

10:28PM PDT: Three up, three down ninth. Grant Balfour ends this thing. A’s win their sixth straight! Gold shines just as bright on the road. The Astros and Rangers are currently tied, but the M’s lost in Washington, and the Angels lost in Miami meaning, the A’s now find themselves five games out of first (though that will change to 4 1/2 or 5 1/2 depending on the outcome in Arlington), one and half behind the 3rd place Angels, and three and a half behind the second place M’s. Do it again tomorrow!

10:18PM PDT: After hovering at 99mph, Parnell hits 100 and Conor Jackson likes the fastball and hits it up the middle for his first hit of the night. Aside from a 90mph slider, Parnell was just tossing 98-100mph darts.

10:10PM PDT: Bobby Parnell onto the hill for the kings of Queens. He has been good for 13.2 K/9 so far, and has been travelling the Thomas E. Dewey New York State Thruway quite a bit between the Big Apple and Buffalo as it seems many of these players have. Otherwise it appears that every infielder except Jose Reyes has switched positions to accommodate Duda at first. National League games are so tedious. The A’s meanwhile have yet to employ the double switch, and have just pinch-hit the pitcher in the nine spot. Those scoring this game thank you Oakland.

10:08PM PDT: Groundout to Weeks. Crisis averted.

10:05PM PDT: Balfour walks Duda so the bases are loaded with two outs and the tying run being the batter, -0.3 WAR Josh Thole. Balfour needs to get Thole, because after him we get into Mets players we actually have heard of namely one Jose Reyes.

10:02PM PDT: Terry Collins counters the new right-handed pitcher with a left-handed pinch-hitter, Lucas Duda (another who is this guy?). Can’t imagine he is that much better than the guy he is replacing in Tejada, his slash line is a weak .143/.208/.190 worth a mere 15 wRC+ with a .192 wOBA and this guy is a first baseman and corner outfielder. Yikes. So the Mets will require both a new pitcher and new second baseman come the ninth.

9:59PM PDT: Fuentes hits pinch-hitter Willie Harris, so with this game starting to get a little too close for comfort, Bob Melvin is going to the pen to get Grant Balfour. Fuentes is mystifying, one day he is great the next he is terrible. So inconsistent. Really wish he’d be used more strictly as a LOOGY, thankfully Melvin’s usage of him isn’t atrocious. The former manager would have left him in here to sort through his troubles as the Mets regain the lead.

9:56PM PDT: The ruling on the field stands – the Mets will be charged a timeout. So Bay is on third with a triple – he is a double away from the cycle. Which reminds me of a great post on HardballTalk “Finishing ‘a triple short of the cycle’ is really not a big deal”.

9:51PM PDT: So yeah of course I rag on Jason Bay today and he puts up a 3-for-3 night hitting a triple off of Coco Crisp‘s glove in center field to score Pagan and make this game a wee bit closer at 7-3 in favor of Oakland. Glen Kuiper is right that this wall here at Citi Field is stupid. Why paint on a line? He is right about it. Don’t think this will be a home run but we will have to wait and see…

9:45PM PDT: Brian Fuentes is in and there is no double switch – which I guess means when you are leading by five runs you want to keep lineup versatility? Or does it mean that they don’t plan on Fuentes going more than an inning? This isn’t strategy it is annoying.

9:43PM PDT: Eleven pitch, two-strikeout inning. Doesn’t get much easier than that for Byrdak. I wonder if the A’s double switch out Pennington with Adam Rosales for the bottom of the eighth? Would this be overkill with this sort of lead or would it be standard procedure to do the double switch?

9:39PM PDT: First pitch weak pop-out? Really? Barton needs to sort stuff out for the River Cats. Sad to say but he is a liability at this point. His demotion is the final piece of the official shake-up of 2011.

9:38PM PDT: Tim Byrdak is in to pitch against pinch-hitter Daric Barton – could this be his last at bat for the A’s in a while? My guess is he is dispatched to Sacramento tomorrow. Byrdak has an amazing 11.7 K/9 and a rather dramatic split between his 4.06 ERA and 2.45 FIP. His fu-manchu helps him get far more strikeouts though – with the ladies…

9:30PM PDT: Guess my guess was wrong. Craig Breslow is out on the mound. He will just go the inning since he is due to lead off in the next half. Breslow has quietly been fantastic this year. I think he got a bad rap due to the problems he had very early in the year where he blew three straight games when he probably wasn’t yet ready to be pitching in the Majors following a late spring start. But his numbers are great, 7.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 a 75.3% strand rate, adding up to a solid 3.76 ERA and even better 3.26 FIP. Despite that he still has a messy four shutdowns to six meltdowns. Hopefully he – like many other players have already – gets a fresh look from Bob Melvin.

9:20PM PDT: Outman does get out of the inning quickly, so he is now at 98 pitches, and I think he’ll pitch the seventh but we’ll see, depends a lot on how the hitting this inning goes of course. New pitcher for the Metropolitans is Manny Acosta. Acosta has spent most of his year with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons where he has been very wild (7.5 BB/9) though got a lot of guys to get themselves out (12.0 K/9). Who knows how a guy with 7.5 BB/9 can get away with it but he only had a 1.77 ERA, and still modest 3.05 FIP. He has pitched just four and two-thirds in Flushing so far during which he has struck out three and walked one. The move is a double switch so its an entirely new battery with Josh Thole taking over for Ronny Paulino. I’m guessing given the pitchers used by Terry Collins that he is on the “we are not going to win this game, so we are going to pitch the bad relievers” plan.

9:16PM PDT: Jason Bay trying to earn his paycheck gets a home run to left field. Mets cut the lead to 7-2. Outman has thrown 97 pitches (56 for strikes), he twice has thrown 97 pitches in a game (May 28th against Baltimore and June 15th against Kansas City) and once thrown more (102 in Los Angeles against the Angels on May 23rd) but is the fifth hitter up so I presume he will (especially in light of a five run lead) pitch the bottom of the seventh assuming he gets out of this inning quickly.

9:06PM PDT: Stolen base pays immediate dividends as a single by Cliff Pennington scores Weeks. Not sure why Carrasco cut that throw off from Angel Pagan. It looked like it might have stood a shot at getting Weeks at the plate. A’s lead 7-1 – the blowout is official?

9:05PM PDT: Another steal for Jemile Weeks. His fourth on the year. Really makes me wonder why his stolen base totals were so low in the minors.

8:52PM PDT: Scott Sizemore grounds into a double play which allows CoJax to score. A’s now lead 6-1.

8:51PM PDT: Suzuki is walked. Meaning Matsui walks home. A’s 5, Mets 1. I believe this is what C.J. Wilson refers to as “lawyerball” as the A’s have now walked eight times in four-plus innings.

8:49PM PDT: Some good hitting from Sweeney, bad baserunning from Matsui, means a good opportunity for the A’s to cash in a few runs on the back of Carrasco’s poor pitching. Bases loaded, no one out for Kurt Suzuki.

8:41PM PDT: New Mets pitcher is D.J. Carrasco. If the Mets were worried about Gee’s command, Carrasco won’t make them feel better as he’s been good for 4.3 BB/9 while failing to make up for it with just 4.9 K/9. If you get it in the air you stand a good chance of getting it out with a very high 15.8% HR/FB. His ERA is a sloppy 4.91 which looks stellar when hearing about his 6.16 FIP. Not surprisingly the guys the Mets have pitching in Buffalo are better as he’s been worth -0.2 WAR. Just the guy we want to face!

8:37PM PDT: With the Mets threatening and the pitcher’s spot up, despite it being the bottom of the fourth former Athletic Scott Hairston is up to hit for Dillon Gee. The Mets have runners on the corners, two down…

8:36PM PDT: Ryan Sweeney‘s got a gun. A bit up the line so he can’t get Pagan – Tejada has himself a sacrifice, the Mets have themselves a run. Their first of the ballgame. A’s lead 4-1.

8:31PM PDT: Its an adventure out there for Weeks. He certainly needs a little work on his fielding, but despite that he is still more valuable than anything. Strange that he gets an error on this play – a really tough play, but the other one which was more routine was a double. I don’t get it.

8:27PM PDT: Tough break for Outman on the collision in right-field between Weeks and Sweeney. Weeks really screwed that one up, not peeling off when Sweeney clearly could be seen yelling “I got it!” It isn’t an error but a double for Pagan. Not sure why that’s the case as it did bounce of a fielder but maybe that’s why I am not an official scorer?

8:00PM PDT: The rout is on? Can we say that? Ryan Sweeney singles a ball of the glove of Ruben Tejada which scores Pennington meaning four walks have come around to score now and the A’s expand the lead to 4-0. Is it just me or who the heck are half these guys on the Mets and where did they come from? I watch a lot of baseball but this is the first time I’ve seen Gee pitch, I’ve never heard of this Tejada before and who the heck is Justin Turner at third? The A’s four runs have come on just two hits.

7:59PM PDT: Walks Conor Jackson, which means, Jemile Weeks comes around to score and the A’s have a 3-0 lead.

7:57PM PDT: Bases are loaded again by Dillon Gee who now has five walks (a season high) after just throwing two and a third innings. Yikes. 51 pitches, 24 strikes. How’s that Mets bullpen you ask? 14th out of 16 in the NL with a 4.25 ERA. 11th out of 16 in the NL with a 3.92 FIP. Tied with the Dodgers for 13th overall with a 0.2 WAR as a bullpen unit. So in other words, bring on the bullpen!

7:52PM PDT: Another walk to Pennington too. So this just mirrors the first inning completely now. It’d be nice to see them score another two here in the third.

7:49PM PDT: Nice to see Weeks getting on base via the walk. He hasn’t been walking since coming up to Oakland, entering today with a mere 2.2% BB%, yet coupled with a great 3.1% Swinging Strike %, which indicated he was likely due to be walking a bit more. For what its worth in Sacramento this year he walked at a much healthier 13.4% clip.

7:41PM PDT: Jason Bay with a base hit. Bay has been a huge disappointment in New York and sort of exemplifies the seeming continual problems the Mets have with high-priced free-agents. In 2011 he has been worth -0.1 WAR, and in 2010 he was worth just 1.5. So last year his contract was worth $8.625M (thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts) yet he only produced $5.9M worth, this year I’d shudder to do that same math as the Mets are paying him $18.125M – it’s pretty clear he has not earned that paycheck.

7:35PM PDT: Three pitch strikeout by Gee of Josh Outman. What incredible strategy that displayed and what incredible pure baseball intrigue seeing Outman step in… innovation is a good thing (to an extent). I wonder if I would find interleague play more palatable if it weren’t for the pitching hitting aspect? I just might – a little at least.

7:21PM PDT: Conor Jackson grounds out and that scores Cliff Pennington, so the A’s cash in on the early control struggles of Dillon Gee. Athletics 2, Metropolitans 0.

7:20PM PDT: Matsui hits a deep drive to center fielder Angel Pagan which is more than deep enough to score Jemile Weeks from third and the A’s take an early 1-0 lead.

7:16PM PDT: Second straight walk for Dillon Gee and the A’s are in business with two on and no one out. Weeks needs to learn to slide into second better, nearly overslid second Sunday, nearly overslid it today. He is safe which is what is important.

7:03PM PDT: It’s a repeat of the 1973 World Series. Isn’t this the beauty of interleague play? Reliving these wonderful moments that happened 38 years ago, that no one cares about anymore – two teams with no animosity at all and only limited history – lord do I hate interleague play. Only thing I hate more than that is the fact I need to watch pitchers hit. Tonight we get to watch Josh Outman hit for the A’s, he brings his .000/.000/.000 slash line into Citi Field (o-for-2 with a strikeout), and we get to watch Dillon Gee hit for the Mets, with his Silver Sluggeresque .094/.118/.125  slash line. For the stats that actually matter for pitchers, Gee is 7-0 this year for the sub-.500 Mets, with a great 2.86 ERA, when looking behind the baseball card numbers however he is still impressive with a solid 6.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 allowing a very limited 0.6 HR/9. He has been a very big benefactor of a low BABIP (.239) but despite that he has a solid 3.49 FIP. The A’s lineup is a little different with the DH not available, so Hideki Matsui will be playing left field (which could be worse than a pitcher hitting since it has been awhile), Conor Jackson is playing first base yet again and hitting fifth, Ryan Sweeney gets the start in right field and Scott Sizemore will man the hot corner. Importantly the A’s are wearing their gold jerseys which all but assures a victory.

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