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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rays Game 112

August 5, 2011

10:19PM PDT: Kurt Suzuki fouls out to Longoria. Game over, A’s fall to 18-39 away from the Coliseum and 0-4 in the month of August. The M’s and Angels are playing in Anaheim and this drops the A’s temporarily into a tie with the Mariners for last place, and M’s win the A’s drop to fourth, an M’s loss they hang onto third. Not a hot outing from Guillermo Moscoso, a really not so hot outing from Craig Breslow and this ballgame was a lost cause.

10:13PM PDT: The A’s seem to like scoring meaningless runs once they are far behind these days. Pennington takes it to left field, Jennings dives for it, doesn’t get to it, it skips past him and rolls into the corner. Pennington gets all the way around for a triple, which scores DeJesus. Rays 8, A’s 4. Jeff Niemann does not get himself a complete game, as with two outs, he is being replaced with Kyle Farnsworth despite it not being a save situation.

10:10PM PDT: David DeJesus doubles one into the corner in right-field. Good to see him get a hold of a ball there. I like him a lot, and he has struggled this year. Wonder how long Joe Maddon lets Niemann go before it is too much.

10:06PM PDT: Niemann is still pitching in the ninth, and promptly on the second pitch of the inning allows a long home run to Hideki Matsui who is looking very Godzillaish indeed after the break. His tenth dinger on the year, likely too little, too late as it is now Tampa Bay 8, Oakland 3.

10:02PM PDT: Well there goes that strategy. B.J. Upton doubles it into the gap in left center, it scores Zobrist and tags Balfour with a run, bet he is cursing Bailey’s name up and down. Rays add on, it is 8-2.

10:00PM PDT: Slusser really wasn’t kidding. Balfour gets two outs and in between them allows a double to Zobrist – who seems to just kill us (though entering today he seems to just be solid as opposed to dominant hitting .273/.346/.464 with five dingers in 127 plate appearances) yet despite that with Balfour K’ing Kotchman, Bailey is brought in to face Upton.

9:53PM PDT: I get that the eighth inning is Grant Balfour‘s inning – and it is pretty cool that the fans in Tampa Bay are giving him a cheer – especially given he left as a free-agent, not as a guy traded with no say – but why is he pitching? Why not get Trystan Magnuson in there? Seems sort of pointless to stick Balfour in trailing by five. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets, that the reason is that,

“Balfour and Bailey both need work, Balfour is in and [Andrew] Bailey is warming up.”

Still I don’t entirely agree. Good opportunity for low pressure situations to get Magnuson or Jordan Norberto in.

9:42PM PDT: Not content with only facing right-handed hitters, Fuentes loses it and walks Jennings (unintentionally) to face the lefty Damon. Don’t get why Fuentes is misused in this manner, he can’t be happy about it.

9:38PM PDT: Brian Fuentes is in to pitch for the A’s. The white flag is officially being waved on this one. Fuentes is in for his 51st appearance, to face: Chirinos (R), Rodriguez (R) and Desmond Jennings (R). Don’t agree with this timing for using him.

9:28PM PDT: Inning just doesn’t want to end. Upton singles, Zobrist scores. Rays lead 7-2. In his two-thirds of an inning, so far Breslow has allowed four hits, three unearned runs, though he has a lone K. Not sharp.

9:22PM PDT: Piecemeal approach not working. Rays fight right back. Ben Zobrist singles up the middle, it plates two. Rays take advantage of the Breslow fielding miscue, both these runs are unearned. Rays again widen the lead with the A’s giving the two runs back to Tampa Bay making it 6-2.

9:16PM PDT: Seventeenth error on the year by Oakland pitchers. They are good pitchers, not so good fielders. How much do they aid their own ERA care of this? Is it a conspiracy?

9:12PM PDT: I’m annoyed that Bob Melvin is taking the piecemeal bullpen approach. Craig Breslow is in despite former-starter De Los Santos pitching only a third of an inning. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the A’s need a long-man in that pen – a role I think tonight’s starter would be well suited for.

9:05PM PDT: Scratch that last comment maybe? Jemile Weeks gets on and then Coco Crisp takes Niemann deep to right field on a 3-1 pitch. That ball was hit real well just inside the foul line. The two run home run cuts the lead in half, Rays 4, A’s 2.

9:00PM PDT: Joyce singles, it scores Kotchman, the Rays lead 4-0. That run, credited to Moscoso makes his ERA in the game rise to 7.71. Jeff Niemann meanwhile has been stellar, with just two hits allowed in his five innings of work along with five strikeouts and only a single walk – meaning, that runs look to be at a premium and the Rays already have given themselves lots of room to work with.

8:53PM PDT: Casey Kotchman doubles, that scores Longoria. Rays put up 3 to the A’s 0. That will chase Guillermo Moscoso out of this game. He wasn’t victimized by the HR but his BABIP shot up and in this game was .353. His GB% was still low at 29.4% and this spelled a not-so-hot outing. If you look just at this game (which isn’t how you need to look at these stats but still) what is funny is that Moscoso is a reverse of his normal self, with his ERA being 5.79 but his FIP at a more respectable 3.65 despite him matching walks and strikeouts at three for both. New pitcher will be Fautino De Los Santos, talking about wacky peripherals, he is at 12.9 K/9 with 4.7 BB/9. Wacky in a good way and the results bear it out, 2.35 ERA, 2.55 FIP.

8:48PM PDT: Evan Longoria doubles into the gap. Johnny Damon scores. Rays make it 2-0. Damon was running on the pitch and scored easily from first.

8:30PM PDT: Guillermo Moscoso skates out of danger getting Rodriguez to check swing ground out to Conor Jackson at first.

8:25PM PDT: Chirinos grounds it straight back to Moscoso, he can’t find the ball. Ben Zobrist scores, he does however get Chirinos at first. Rays up 1-0. His luck semi-runs out. He gets groundballs 26.4% of the time out there, and yet in this game he gets them when he needs them. That was a GIDP waiting to happen, the deflection and losing track of the ball is the only reason Zobrist scored. Still amazes me how this guy gets out of jams.

8:24PM PDT: Joyce is walked, and the bases are full with one away. Moscoso again has gotten himself into trouble here – needs to get a ground ball here.

8:16PM PDT: DeJesus looks lost out there being K’d by Niemann right there. Not sure why he has suffered so much this year. DeJesus has had great luck with BABIP in the past, his career mark is a .317 mark. This year it is .261. That can account for a fair amount, but not all. Both his O-Contact% and Z-Contact% are down this year (70.4% and 91.5% down from 72.1% and 96.7%) which accounts for some of it too. Don’t often see someone like DeJesus struggle so much like this.

7:50PM PDT: Moscoso strikes out Sean Rodriguez, way to dance out of trouble for him. Sort of his M.O, getting and infield groundout then this big K to keep the runners stranded at second and third. Still tied. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

7:47PM PDT: Double steal and they are calling a balk on Moscoso, after they got B.J. Upton hung up between third and second. Didn’t look like a reasonable balk call to me, runners go to second and third, the out is erased.

7:45PM PDT: Welcome back to the lineup David DeJesus. Matt Joyce pops it up into right field, and that is a really tough play for Weeks, but really that ball should be DeJesus’ ball, it drops between the two of them for a single. Meaning two guys on base now with one out in the bottom half of the second.

7:17PM PDT: Jemile Weeks is thrown out by Robinson Chirinos trying to steal third. Great job stealing second. But why bother with third? No one is out. A ground ball to the right side you’re on third and a sac fly can drive you in. Too greedy, bad baseball.

6:59PM EDT: 2,529 miles later the A’s are in St. Petersburg to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. Guillermo Moscoso takes the mound for the A’s, still slowly but surely starting to play down to his peripherals. Still they are very strange, he has a 4-5 record with a 3.41 ERA, yet he has a 4.94 FIP and a 5.38 xFIP. His peripherals are still middling at best, with 4.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a high 1.2 HR/9 while having only a 26.4% groundball rate, and a still low 7.3% HR/FB. These are numbers he simply won’t keep up, not to say anything about his unreal .229 BABIP still. Jeff Niemann takes the hill for the Rays, his numbers and his defense-independent numbers are all in sync compared to the mess that is Moscoso with a 3.51 ERA, 3.60 FIP and 3.71 xFIP. He has strong peripherals backing those numbers up with 7.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. The A’s lineup looks a bit more routine with David DeJesus and Cliff Pennington back in the mix recovering from their sore thumbs and Bell’s Pallsy respectively.

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