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Live Blogging: A’s @ Blue Jays Game 115

August 9, 2011

9:40PM EDT: Rich Harden spins a gem – earns his first win over the Blue Jays in his career as the A’s are victorious. The Blue Jays were mediocre not terrible on the mound, but with Harden pitching the way he did that was all it took. Jose Bautista went 0-for-4, two of the three Canadians on the field or on the benches at Rogers Centre go home happy.

9:31PM EDT: Andrew Bailey in to close this one. 14 shutdowns and three meltdowns on the year. Great numbers on Bailey, its been a while since I looked in on them but a 1.93 ERA with a 2.28 FIP. He has been worth 0.7 WAR on the campaign, with a great 9.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9.

9:27PM EDT: DeJesus scores from second on a Ryan Sweeney base hit straight up the middle. A’s get the insurance run: A’s 4, Jays 1.

9:26PM EDT: There’s that crazy BABIP at work against Camp. Bunt single for Suzuki of all people, two on one out as the A’s have the insurance run in scoring position.

9:23PM EDT: Perez hits David DeJesus on the elbow and with that Jays manager John Farrell decides to go with a pitcher that he hopes can throw the ball straight to Arencibia without allowing an opposing player to get in the way. The man for that job: Shawn Camp who also has been with Toronto all year long. Camp has pretty strange peripherals for a pitcher, 4.0 BB/9 (which we learned isn’t that much better than position players K/9 rate when they pitch!) and 2.6 BB/9. His ERA is 5.10 (victim of a .341 BABIP and 62.3% strand rate) but his FIP checks in at an only slightly high 4.02.

9:19PM EDT: Balfour gets it done. A’s need to tack on some insurance runs in the ninth they will still be seeing the lefty Perez.

9:15PM EDT: Eric Thames doubles down the left field line – more importantly that means Juan Bautista comes to the play representing the tying run…

9:11PM EDT: Grant Balfour is in to pitch the eighth. Really great that Harden got us out of that mess in the seventh because Brian Fuentes was warming in the bullpen, and that just was a bit scarier than I’d like to deal with.

9:03PM EDT: In that series of trades with Chicago and St. Louis a lot of bullpen arms moved around for Toronto but Luis Perez was not one of them. The rookie has a solid start to his career and in 25 appearances, he has 7.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 so while he has a nice 3.47 ERA his FIP is a bit higher at 4.09.

9:00PM EDT: Wow. Harden gets out of a jam in style. Gets Hill to pop up to the infield, then strikes out J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie. Safe to say that that will be all for Harden tonight as he hits the 107 pitch mark after seven innings of work. The final line on him: seven innings pitched. the one run coming off the Encarnacion HR, with five hits allowed, two walks and eight strikeouts. Nice outing. Boston? New York? Anyone?

8:56PM EDT: Glen Kuiper just gave the attendance as 20,521. So that shows you just how excited Torontonians are to support the three Canadians here at the Rogers Centre today (Harden, Lawrie and Trystan Magnuson too) – clearly not that excited.

8:54PM EDT: Colby Rasmus who the Blue Jays acquired in a three-hundred-and-twelve player three team trade that saw Edwin Jackson go from Chicago to St. Louis (via Toronto), singles that puts Encarnacion on with a walk, at third. Aaron Hill is up, no one is out…

8:46PM EDT: Kurt Suzuki launches one into the second deck. All the runs in this game have come via the home run, which is appropriate for a homer happy team and stadium like the Jays and Rogers Centre. A’s jump to a 3-1 lead.

8:42PM EDT: Harden is just gaining steam. Strikes out the side in the sixth: Eric Thames, Jose Bautista and Adam Lind and all three went down swinging. Now up to six strikeouts on the night. Great outing. Toronto is one of two American League teams Harden has yet to defeat (the other being oddly enough Baltimore).

8:31PM EDT: Willingham gives Oakland a lead as he puts it basically where Encarnacion put his (it was further out, mind you and more of a no doubter) into the Blue Jays bullpen. With Pennington on board via a single it is a two-run shot, Willingham’s 18th on the year, and gives the A’s a 2-1 lead.

8:23PM EDT: Rich Harden has settled in following his near-home run to Bautista and his actual home run to Encarnacion. On the whole in five innings he’s allowed four hits including the one dinger which accounts for the lone earned run, while walking one and K’ing three. Just 72 pitches so far, with 50 of them counting for strikes.

8:06PM EDT: Encarnacion hits one off the wall in left again, so he clearly has figured something out about hitting off Harden. Really liked the way Willingham played that off the wall though. Should’ve been a double, but a good play to get it into the infield quick and keep Encarnacion on first. Willingham flashed a good arm in spring training but haven’t seen a ton since.

7:45PM EDT: Again Pennington in the two spot? Not sure I like it. He strands runners on second and third to end the third inning. At least the A’s finally rattle a hit off of Cecil – another pitcher they seem deemed to make look like an ace tonight.

7:30PM EDT: “Former Athletic” Edwin Encarnacion who came into the at-bat 0-for-8 with six strikeouts against Harden, ensures that Harden’s streak of allowing a home run in each of his starts persisted with a shot to left field. Josh Willingham looked like he could have it at the base of the wall but after a leap, it went just over his glove into the Blue Jays bullpen.

7:25PM EDT: In today’s A’s Drumbeat Susan Slusser wrote,

“This area is all abuzz because the Blue Jays have a Canadian rookie making his home debut today, third baseman Brett Lawrie, who like Harden is from British Columbia. The Canadians go nuts over their home-grown baseball players – Harden always gets mobbed by media here, and he’s 3,000 miles from where he grew up. So a promising Blue Jays rookie – Lawrie, 21, is batting .455 since coming up five days ago – who is from Canada? He’s got a big spotlight on him.”

Looks awful empty at the Rogers Centre to be describing Toronto (or Canada as a whole) as “all abuzz”…

7:16PM EDT: Wow. Jose Bautista just deposited a foul ball just to the left of the left field foul pole all the way into a deck just below the 500 level at Rogers Centre. That is below (and foul) of where Jose Canseco hit on in the 1989 ALCS – that is a long way away. Harden is grinning, he knows he got lucky.

7:07PM EDT: Rich Harden gets a shot at pitching in his native Canada tonight against left handed pitcher Brett Cecil. Cecil struggled early this year in what has been an uneven season. After it all shakes out he has a 4.35 ERA and a 4.62 FIP being with 0.4 WAR. He has 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 but has been victimized by the long ball at a rate of 1.3 HR/9. Harden faces one of the scariest, if not the scariest, hitter in the American League in Jose Bautista. Bautista leads the Majors in WAR (6.8), wOBA (.456), wRC+ (194) and ISO (.331). He also leads all of baseball with 33 long balls – which means home run happy (1.8 HR/9) needs to be very careful – the rest of the Blue Jays lineup also can take guys out of the park. The A’s lineup (which barely have hitters that are two-thirds of the player Bautista has been this year) features Cliff Pennington back in the two spot, as Coco Crisp is out of the lineup (Ryan Sweeney, hitting 8th, replaces him in center) – not a particular fan of that move, the #2 spot seems to be the new black hole on this lineup.

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