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Live Blogging: Twins @ A’s Game 108

July 31, 2011

3:58PM PDT: A’s win! Everyone else loses (or the M’s will at least down 8-1 to the Rays late). Good day!

3:51PM PDT: Not a save situation but Andrew Bailey is coming in to finish this one off to face the 9-1-2 hitters. Butera is being lifted with Friday’s Twinkie hero Trevor Plouffe so it is Plouffe, Revere and Mauer.

3:46PM PDT: Joe Nathan into the game. He really isn’t having as bad a year as it looks. His FIP is very high at 4.73 but it really is a result of his trouble with the long ball (1.6 HR/9 and 12.2% HR/FB), the other peripherals look nice, an 8.1 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9.

3:36PM PDT: Ryan Sweeney is ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes. David DeJesus takes over in right and Grant Balfour takes over on the mound. A’s offense just died once Pavano left the game.

3:30PM PDT: Matt Capps is in to the game now. Not having a great year with a 4.33 ERA and even worse 4.87 FIP. The strikeouts have just fallen off a cliff with a career mark of 6.7 K/9 turning into 4.4 K/9 this year. For a while it looked like history would repeat itself with the Twins overpaying for a Washington Nationals reliever as they did with Capps but the rumors of Denard Span for Drew Storen did not come to fruition.

3:28PM PDT: Wow. Big strikeout to get Thome and end the inning.

3:25PM PDT: Breslow not exactly on his game allowing a hit and two walks. Hopefully not a repeat of Thursday as the tying run comes up in the name of Jim Thome with the bases loaded (3-for-3 on the day too).

3:15PM PDT: McCarthy throws six great innings for the A’s with a great (and career high) nine K’s to zero walks. Only real blemish was the home run to Jim Thome because that first inning was just a ton of bloops and luck based garbage not going his way. Great outing as he yields to Craig Breslow for the top of seventh – another guy I am sort of surprised to see still in the Green and Gold past today’s deadline.

3:04PM PDT: Kurt Suzuki adds is first hit of the game on Suzuki Jersey Day. If Sizemore cant get a hit here everyone will have one. It’s funny, only A’s with two hits are the #1 and #2 hitters (Weeks and Crisp) then hitters #3-#8 each have 1, then Sizemore hitting ninth is without. Further down the lineup you go the fewer hits you find without fail so far.

3:00PM PDT: McCarthy having a heck of a game. With the two K’s in the top of the sixth he has nine on the game. His previous high this year was seven which he did twice (April 15th versus Detroit and July 15th versus Los Angeles) also represents a career high as he had only twice before had eight in a game.

2:46PM PDT: Phil Dumatrait, a southpaw who has appeared in 26 games for Minnesota this year comes in. He has a poor 4.44 ERA, but a worse 5.58 FIP care of 5.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. Just not very good – a good chance for Oakland to add on. Pavano gets bounced with an ugly line, four innings, nine hits, seven runs all earned, with two walks and a lone K – the first batter of the game Weeks on a questionable call.

2:36PM PDT: Pavano and Butera just can’t get it done. Coco Crisp steals his third base of the game.

2:35PM PDT: Matsui gets it out deep enough to sac fly Sizemore in from third. A’s lead 7-3.

2:28PM PDT: Brandon McCarthy is rolling after a rough first (the solo shot to Thome is all on him, but hey the guy is a future HOFer, it happens) as he gets Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Drew Butera down swinging for five K’s in the game. He has thrown 76 pitches now with only 17 balls. Amazing.

2:13PM PDT: Cliff Pennington extends his hitting streak to fifteen straight games, and the A’s hitting streak in this game to seven straight hits. Sweeney scores, A’s expand the lead to 6-3. I’d run Pennington here, even though he’s been terrible…

2:11PM PDT: Ryan Sweeney slips it past Valencia at third base. Willingham scores, CoJax runs through Mike Gallego‘s stop sign and he scores. Sweeney goes to third on the throw. Good work from Willingham guiding CoJax to slide to the outside corner. Six straight hits, A’s up 5-3.

2:08PM PDT: Conor Jackson hits it basically where Willingham hit it and Hideki Matsui comes around to score. Five straight hits and the A’s tie it up at three. The running game messing with Pavano?

2:07PM PDT: Aggressive base-stealing pays of Josh Willingham (still an Athletic!) with the hit through the left-side allows Coco to trot home. A’s cut the lead to 3-2.

2:05PM PDT: Stealing third off of Carl Pavano and Drew Butera does not appear to be tough as Coco does it with ease. Stealing in general seems easy as the A’s are now 3-for-3.

2:00PM PDT: Cuddyer does his best Derek Jeter impression with the jump throw and it fails to work so the infield single from Coco Crisp scores Weeks from third. A’s 3, Twins 1. Maybe I rethink the necessity of that stolen base…

1:59PM PDT: Aggressive stolen base from Weeks getting to third. Not sure with his speed that sort of move really is necessary, but I guess with the one out now he can score on a ground out.

1:52PM PDT: Jim Thome gets career home run #597 deep to left off McCarthy. Twins 3, Athletics 0.

1:49PM PDT: Perhaps McCarthy’s problem with the BABIP is that he is throwing too many strikes? 44 pitches, nine for balls as he gets a first pitch count from Jason Kubel that is really lucky. Scott Sizemore picked it at third and then Conor Jackson takes a nasty short hop at first. The luck works both ways but I think most times that would’ve been a single, but still – 44 pitches, nine balls. Crazy.

1:37PM PDT: McCarthy gets bad luck on the opposite side of the ball too – as the A’s can’t score when they probably should’ve, getting burned by some strange strike zone calls too.

1:28PM PDT: Not entirely sure I agree with the called strike three on Jemile Weeks.’s Pitch f/x seems to agree with me as well:

1:21PM PDT: 28th pitch from McCarthy (yet 21 have been strikes)- and Delmon Young singles to right. Fortunately, Thome runs slower than molasses and stays at third so the bases are loaded now with two outs. McCarthy again with the bad luck on the BABIP – these are bloops, seeing eye, beat the shift opposite field variety hits.

1:20PM PDT: Danny Valencia bloops it in front of Coco Crisp, Michael Cuddyer scores and the Twins are up 2-0.

1:18PM PDT: Shift fail. Jim Thome goes the other way to beat the shift. I don’t like the shifts, so when it gets beat I feel it is deserved. That said, I don’t want the Twins beating our shift even if I think it is stupid.

1:11PM PDT: Ben Revere leads the game off with a triple – not the start McCarthy was shooting for I am sure. Then Joe Mauer grounds out to score him. A’s find themselves trailing with 26 outs to go, 1-0.

12:57PM PDT: The A’s pulled off a trade today sending Brad Ziegler to the Arizona Diamondbacks for first baseman Brandon Allen (who has hit a HR that violated free-trade agreements) and southpaw reliever Jordan Norberto (who allegedly will be joining the A’s 25-man roster replacing Ziegler). To accommodate Allen on the 40-man roster, the A’s have moved Brett Anderson to the 60-day disabled list. With time ticking away to the 1:00PM PDT non-waiver trade deadline it’d appear as if this will be the A’s lone move. Today’s starter for the A’s is Brandon McCarthy who sports a 3-5 record as he has been a sore luck loser suffering through a lack of luck like a .307 BABIP, and a 64.6% strand rate. So despite great control (1.5 BB/9) and keeping the ball in the yard (0.4 HR/9) he has a solid 3.52 ERA but great 2.78 FIP and no one outside of Oakland knows about him or his year or his team best 2.6 WAR. The Twinkies meanwhile put up Carl Pavano who is just unimpressive no matter how you look at him and likely won’t stir up any debates among anyone with his middling 3.8 K/9, 4.60 ERA and slightly kinder 4.15 FIP. Pavano has underwhelmed as have the Twins in 2011. A’s have a pretty standard for these days lineup, with Ryan Sweeney getting the start in right field today being the lone exception. Also prior to yesterday’s game which I did not have the chance to live blog, Michael Wuertz was added to the 15-man disabled list (seemed like something was off with him) with right-thumb tendinitis and recalled Jerry Blevins from Sacramento in his place trading a potential run allower for a guaranteed run allower in the process.

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