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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rays Game 114

August 7, 2011

5:20PM EDT: Game over! A’s win! A’s take the series in St. Petersburg. Phew! Fautino De Los Santos with his first major league victory. A’s guarantee that they stay a half game up on the M’s who currently trail in Los Angeles 2-0 in the seventh. A better start than we’ve seen from Trevor Cahill, sort of a tough luck outing for Grant Balfour. But after a see-saw affair the A’s win!

5:18PM EDT: Big out getting B.J. Upton to pop out to Jemile Weeks. One out to go, Matt Joyce steps up to the plate…

5:16PM EDT: Kotchman gets Zobrist into scoring position nonetheless with a single. Kotchman is being pinch-run for with the presumably faster Eliot Johnson. The plot thickens…

5:13PM EDT: Zobrist on on a close play at first. Bailey needs to try and keep Zobrist at first, closers aren’t typically good at it but you don’t want him in scoring position and he has the speed to steal a base – 12-for-16 in steal attempts (75%).

5:12PM EDT: Longoria shows off some warning track power to right. One away.

5:11PM EDT: Andrew Bailey with the lead is in now. Fortunate the way it worked out, but again I think you always go with your best reliever saves be damned and he should’ve been out last inning. Tough task in Longoria, Zobrist and Kotchman.

5:00PM EDT: Different Athletic, but another home run off McGee! Josh Willingham with his seventeenth home run in the A’s seventeenth extra inning game. Deep to left field! A’s 5, Rays 4.

4:58PM EDT: Jake McGee enters the game for Tampa Bay. He pitched yesterday, and will face DeJesus to whom he surrendered a long home run to last night. Extra innings for the seventeenth time this year for Oakland, they are at 6-10. The Rays participate in their tenth extra inning affair entering with a 5-4 record.

4:55PM EDT: Was DeJesus playing for the cameras there or what? Johnny Damon takes it to the top of the wall and DeJesus just reaches up and snares it for a loud third out. Phew.

4:45PM EDT: Bottom of the ninth and Melvin goes with Fautino De Los Santos. Though I think that you go with your best reliever here (saves be damned) and put in Andrew Bailey, De Los Santos is the closest thing to a long reliever we got. De Los Santos still owner of a wild K/9 rate: 11.9.

4:39PM EDT: Top of the ninth and with a save out of the question Maddon goes with his closer Kyle Farnsworth to pitch to the top of the A’s order.

4:26PM EDT: Great turn by Ben Zobrist at second base as Rosales grounds into the inning ending double play, Longoria-to-Zobrist-to-Kotchman. That hurt. Rosales really doesn’t have much of a role on this team anymore if you ask me, option him and get some at-bats for Brandon Allen.

4:25PM EDT: Powell connects on a single up the middle. Sweeney goes to second. A’s have something going with one out in the top of the eighth. Adam Rosales, who has struggled this year, digs in at the plate. Good chance for him to turn things around a bit as he currently posses a lowly .095 average. Peralta has thrown 20 pitches with only twelve for strikes, so might be good to see if he can find the zone.

4:10PM EDT: Melvin makes the seemingly smart move of taking out Brian Fuentes and replacing him with the right-handed Grant Balfour. His former teammate Evan Longoria makes the move look stupid, as he homers to left field and ties this game at four. That should end up the fourth meltdown for Balfour (to 22 shutdowns).

4:03PM EDT: Brian Fuentes comes into the game (with a lead – yikes). He has 0.0 WAR, 6.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and it is worth noting that while he has 15 shutdowns, it is coupled with 11 meltodowns. With that and his 4.15 FIP (inline with a 4.14 ERA) I have little confidence in him. Hopefully I am wrong. He faces Jennings (R), Damon (L) and Longoria (R).

3:57PM EDT: Joel Peralta comes in as the new Rays pitcher. He is one of the Rays better pitchers in the bullpen, yet worth just 0.2 WAR. It’d be nice to tack on a few insurance runs as it is unclear if Cahill will start the seventh or not, his pitch count is at 112 – so it’d seem unlikely.

3:42PM EDT: Very good timing on the shutdown inning from Cahill. His pitch count is at 96, I suppose he can go another if Bob Melvin permits it.

3:34PM EDT: Wild pitch and DeJesus scores (looked a bit more like a passed ball mind you on Shoppach)! A’s lead 4-3.

3:30PM EDT: Howell is not how you spell relief. Walks Sweeney and now the bases are full for Landon Powell. Not exactly the guy you want with the bases loaded if you had a choice.

3:23PM EDT: Price walks Scott Sizemore and appears to be losing it here. Joe Maddon is going to the pen now. Wow. Only four and two-thirds from Price, the Price is Wrong. J.P. Howell is in. Howell has been a nightmare this year for the Rays: -0.4 WAR, 8.42 ERA, 5.81 FIP, and messy peripherals: 7.3 K/9, but 6.4 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9.

3:16PM EDT: GODZILLA! Hideki Matsui takes David Price deep to right field. Hitting streak it at fifteen games, the game is tied at three.

3:13PM EDT: Leadoff triple for Jemile Weeks deep into the left-center gap. I love this field turf and how the little pellets bounce when the ball hits the ground so that it looks wet almost. Still he slides too late into third, nearly overslid it. C’mon Jemile can’t keep doing that, you’re going to break a finger and get out too. Great opportunity for the A’s to get back some runs though.

3:10PM EDT: After loading the bases, Cahill gets Longoria to fly out to center, and end the threat. Through four innings he is already at 85 pitches, Price through four isn’t much better at 82, and both have exactly 49 strikes. I suspect we see another inning of Cahill at most, barring him getting into trouble again. Terrible that his outings have been so short, especially given (broken record here) our lack of a true long man in the pen.

3:06PM EDT: Jennings singles, it scores Joyce, so the tag/non-tag weird play pays off. Rays up 3-1.

3:02PM EDT: Hard to tell if he got Rodriguez or not on that weird play down the first base line. Balls at the Trop just don’t go foul… You have to think that if Cahill knew he got him, he would stop as he did, but if he didn’t he’d keep trying to get Rodriguez out which he didn’t. Of course, conversely that could be Cahill trying to sell the play, none of the views we had shown on the CSNCalifornia broadcast made it clear.

2:54PM EDT: There goes that lead. Casey Kotchman takes it deep to right-field, a change-up that he golfs off the foul pole for a home run. Rays 2, A’s 1. A’s seem to do this a lot – just speaking from anecdotal observations.

2:47PM EDT: Another rarity as Ryan Sweeney swingles to left field, his first hit off a southpaw this year, to drive home DeJesus ends an 0-for-19 spell in 2011 versus lefties. A’s – Rays tied at one.

2:42PM EDT: David DeJesus hits a ground-rule double off of Price. Second XBH off a lefty this year, with his first the HR off Jake McGee last night in the ninth.

2:35PM EDT: Johnny Damon grounds out to Rosales at first. Rosales goes for a 3-6-3, doesn’t get it, just Jennings out at second. Rodriguez scores, 1-0 Rays, think that Rosie should’ve gone for Rodriguez at the plate.

2:34PM EDT: Desmond Jennings has a really nice bunt. Didn’t like the strategic decision, but it works out well for Tampa Bay as Rodriguez on via HBP gets to third. No one out.

2:24PM EDT: With Weeks on first at least Sogard didn’t bunt, but swinging wildly on a pitch well off the plate didn’t make matters any better. BrooksBaseball.net shows that the pitch Sogard swung at wouldn’t been outside the “hurricane cone” it was that far up coast.

2:16PM EDT: The second inning was decidedly shakier than the first, with a hit allowed to Casey Kotchman and a walk to Matt Joyce, but ultimately Cahill gets out of it striking out Kelly Shoppach. This bodes well for the rest of the game (I hope).

2:05PM EDT: A’s squander an opportunity. Poor decision to bunt. Strikeout from Landon Powell, strikeout from Rosales.

1:59PM EDT: Ryan Sweeney sacrifices the two runners to third. Still don’t like the call. There are 24 more outs in this game. Sweeney hasn’t been solid at all against lefties, but let him ground out, he isn’t slow, he can beat out a double play.

1:53PM EDT: Trevor Cahill gets through the first inning on nine-pitches. Looks good, but… the second inning is the one we need to watch out for: 8.25 ERA, with hitters hitting .347/.405/.436 in that frame against him.

1:43PM EDT: Not a fan of sacrifice bunting with the second hitter of the game. Price is a good pitcher, but he isn’t that good. Eric Sogard attempts the sacrifice, on the fast turf it goes rather quickly to Evan Longoria who is able to throw it Sean Rodriguez and beat Jemile Weeks thereby nixing the sacrifice and making it a groundout and an even stupider decision than it looked like when Sogard was squaring around.

1:31PM EDT: David Price and his 9-10 record take the hill to have Trevor Cahill and his 9-10 record. But alas, all 9-10 records are not created equally. Price owns a 3.77 ERA and sharp 3.37 FIP, while accumulating 8.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9. Cahill on the other hand has a slightly sloppier 3.91 ERA and much sloppier 4.04 FIP, while throwing 6.7 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and allowing 0.8 HR/9. A’s have a bunch of reserve players in the lineup today, and virtually no bench (Coco Crisp and Conor Jackson are out nursing different ailments, while Cliff Pennington is getting some rest), given that is the case Adam Rosales gets the nod at first base, Eric Sogard at shortstop and Ryan Sweeney in center field. Craig Breslow is unavailable in the bullpen due do a knot in his shoulder but that really is inconsequential with the A’s carrying so many bullpen arms, with so many of them left-handed you still have Brian Fuentes and Jordan Norberto if Bob Melvin wants to play matchups late.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2011 1:57 pm

    Is replacing crisp, jackson and pennington with rosales, sweeney and sogard really a downgrade? Looks like a wash to me…

    • August 7, 2011 2:07 pm

      Sadly not as big as a downgrade as it should be, but ultimately it is, with the exception of Sweeney. I’m a big Sweeney fan, however Sweeney hasn’t hit LHPs at all this year – like literally, he hasn’t got a hit against a southpaw yet this year.

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