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Live Blogging: A’s @ Blue Jays Game 116

August 10, 2011

10:10PM EDT: A’s lose. The Brett Lawrie grand slam is the difference as the A’s fall to 52-64 and Gio Gonzalez‘ record slumps to 9-10 following yet another poor performance. Daytime baseball tomorrow. Another pretty appalling game from the Green and Gold.

10:09PM EDT: Too little, too late, as with two outs Josh Willingham hits it to the second deck in left field, number 19. He is on a real roll with six HRs in his last eleven ballgames. Blue Jays 8, A’s 4.

10:04PM EDT: No Rauch, Litsch stays in.

10:02PM EDT: Norberto gets out of a bases-loaded mess. Just the one run scores, but with three outs to go the A’s need to score five runs off of Jon Rauch. With -0.5 WAR this year, the Blue Jays’ closer (not entirely sure he has that job) he is a decent candidate to get something going against. His K/9 (6.0) and BB/9 (2.3) numbers look good but he allows a lot of home runs (1.7 HR/9).

9:57PM EDT: Yunel Escobar is hit by the pitch. He takes exception and starts walking to the mound. Suzuki gets between them and must’ve been saying “dude, he has like no control, it was an accident”. Norberto walks a long ways towards the plate with a bring it on type gesture. Benches clear, nothing happens. All excitement lost.

9:55PM EDT: Rajai Davis hits it to right field to score Lawrie from second. Blue Jays 8, Athletics 3.

9:53PM EDT: I am not a fan of this Lawrie kid. He watched that one. Nearly hit it out but it is a few inches shy and he wasn’t hustling on it and had to rush to make it the easy double it should’ve been. Don’t like a hotdogger, especially in his fifth major league game.

9:50PM EDT: Jordan Norberto is coming in. I was expecting him to get a shot in this one because well, it is out of reach. He faces Lawrie (0.0% BB%), Davis (4.3%) and Escobar (10.9%) so at least two out of the three are guys you can have a little less control with and they likely won’t be taking.

9:38PM EDT: Following a Bautista single to lead off the inning, an Encarnacion double scores him. Blue Jays add on and make it 7-3. With the exchange rate being relatively even these days that is still 7-3 in America.

9:34PM EDT: Trystan Magnuson into the game. Funny that the storyline will be “oh he is from Canada” because he is from Vancouver. Sort of like some kid from Seattle being really excited to pitch in Cleveland, that’s a comparable distance – good chance he has no friends or family at this game, but will have more anytime the A’s play in Seattle – shoot, this might even be his first time in Toronto for all we know. He comes in to a 0.23 LI situation, which is about par for the course for him this year. Gets to face Jose Bautista, that should pump up that leverage number a bit but doesn’t.

9:26PM EDT: A bit of over-managing with a six run lead against one of the American League’s worst teams when you are 14 games out of the division and 11 1/2 out of the wild card from Farrell and the Blue Jays here. Following a DeJesus single, Farrell pulls the lefty Miller in favor of right-handed Jesse Litsch who has been going between Triple-A Las Vegas and Toronto (and New Hampshire and Lansing) all year and has now gone from the rotation into the bullpen (he started a game earlier this year in April against the A’s) to get the matchup against Jackson.

9:22PM EDT: New pitcher Trever Miller comes in and walks the first batter he sees in Matsui. Miller has split his season between Toronto and St. Louis joining Rasmus in going north in that three-team trade. Comes in with some bizarre numbers: 5.4 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9, a terrible .356 BABIP, and bad, worse and worst, ERA (4.32), FIP (4.75) and xFIP (5.76) numbers.

9:14PM EDT: Brett Lawrie shoots it into the Blue Jays bullpen for a grand slam. A’s are down 6-3. Book is closed on Gio as Breslow allows every inherited runner to score. Five innings, four earned runs off Gio. Breslow came into this game with a .393 BABIP completely and fortunately unsustainably high but it doesn’t improve with this outing.

9:10PM EDT: Base hit to left by Lind. Score narrows to 3-2. Bases still loaded, nobody yet out.

9:07PM EDT: Gonzalez walks Rasmus. Loads the bases. Bob Melvin has seen enough and goes to Craig Breslow to preserve the lead. Tough spot he walks into that is for certain. Gonzalez only gives the A’s five plus, during which he allowed only four hits, but a terrible five walks to four strikeouts. Control was the big issue, 108 pitches, and even 54 each balls and strikes – another lackluster performance from Gio.

9:05PM EDT: Suzuki is charged with an error, but really it looks like Pennington missed a decent throw on a pickoff attempt from behind the plate. Both runners advance, no one out, two runners in scoring position, Rasmus up.

9:00PM EDT: Leadoff double for Lind. Gio is at 97 pitches, with an ugly 51 strikes, 46 balls. Can’t imagine Gio gets past this inning and I am a little surprised that Craig Breslow is just getting up now. Seven first-pitch strikes of the twenty-three hitters he has faced is not a recipe for success. Gonzalez is really lucky to get out of innings the way he has all year, he has good enough stuff he doesn’t need to nitpick like he does.

8:56PM EDT: Bases loaded. Number two hitter Cliff Pennington up… strike out. Ugh.

8:51PM EDT: Eleven pitch at-bat from Scott Sizemore and it results in a single. What a great at bat. Fouled off eight pitches and took two for balls before depositing that into left-field in front of Rajai. With Henderson Alvarez now winded after that at bat and 104 pitches, John Farrell is going to his bullpen. Two men are on who the responsibility of Alvarez, but his line currently reads: five and two-thirds, three earned runs on eight hits (including the DeJesus HR), walking one, and K’ing four. Not a bad debut – all the runs came in the Oakland fourth. New Jays pitcher will be Casey Janssen who is really having a great year with a sparkling 2.60 ERA with an even better 2.49 FIP, amazing given his .320 BABIP.

8:32PM EDT: The first HBP of Alvarez’ career as he gets Hideki Matsui. I think the guy is a little rattled now, since his K of Weeks, he has 49 pitches only 23 for strikes, which is roughly two innings as he hit Matsui with one out in the 5th and the K of Weeks represented the first out of the third.

8:19PM EDT: Scott Sizemore singles it up the middle. Sweeney trots home from third. A’s lead 3-1.

8:16PM EDT: Ryan Sweeney – who should hit second! – with a great RBI double into left center that gets all the way to the wall allowing Conor Jackson to score from first and give the A’s a 2-1 lead.

8:13PM EDT: Welcome to the big leagues Henderson. David DeJesus takes Alvarez deep over the center field wall for a dinger to tie the game at one. Still amazing that this game is as tight as it is given the spots Gio got himself into.

8:06PM EDT: Finally a good inning from Gio! 1-2-3 and just eleven pitches, to get out Bautista, Lind and Encarnacion. Can’t believe 60 pitches in the first two innings only ended up with one run, miraculous.

7:59PM EDT: Jemile Weeks is the first strikeout of Henderson Alvarez‘ young career. Alvarez has now thrown 36 pitches, 21 for strikes. For comparison, the pitcher he is battling tonight in his MLB debut, Gio Gonzalez an All-Star has thrown 60 pitches with 30 for strikes. Not a favorable comparison for Gio unfortunately.

7:50PM EDT: Five pitch walk to Rajai Davis. You’d think Gio Gonzalez would have really good first-hand knowledge of why of all the Jays he is the one not to walk.

7:35PM EDT: What do I know about strand rates and Gio “regressing”? He leaves them loaded, damage is limited to one run. Mind you his 36 first inning pitches won’t help him out tonight.

7:29PM EDT: Edwin Encarnacion draws a walk from Gio now up to 25 pitches in the first. Encarnacion isn’t someone who walks a heck of a lot (6.8%) whereas Bautista (19.1%) is a guy you can allow a walk or two to and not feel bad. Bases now are loaded for Colby Rasmus.

7:27PM EDT: Adam Lind singles straight up the middle, Escobar scores. Jays take an early 1-0 lead. I think this is Gonzalez’ unsustainable strand rate still coming back to earth. While it has been very very high, it is now (76.0%) just slightly above league average (72.4%). The gap between his ERA (3.10) and FIP (3.50) keeps narrowing, and I’d expect that to continue.

7:24PM EDT: Gio struggling early. Allows a single to Yunel Escobar, and then through a nine-pitch at bat, Jose Bautista squeezes out a walk.

7:16PM EDT: Alvarez gets by unscathed. Josh Willingham with a single, but no other damage done.

7:08PM EDT: A’s and Jays square off at the Rogers Centre on the day that a big ESPN story was unveiled that the Blue Jays may have been engaged in sign-stealing from center-field (centre-field in Toronto, I guess) which tipped off hitters specifically to whether or not a pitch was an offspeed. From the very good read,

“Only the Blue Jays, and not their opponents, got a home run boost in Toronto. When the Jays were on the road in 2010, they hit home runs in 4 percent of plate appearances in which they made contact, compared with an AL average of 3.6 percent. At Rogers, their home run on contact rate soared to 5.4 percent, which is a home-field advantage seven times the magnitude teams typically enjoy.

Opposing batters, however, actually homered on contact at a below-average rate in Toronto. As a result, the power differential between home and visiting hitters at Rogers in 2010 was the third largest of any park in any season over the past 60 years.

By themselves, these numbers are circumstantial evidence. Unsupported by data, the four players’ accounts might describe a scheme of uncertain impact. And without proper context, the Yankees’ decision to mask their signs could be chalked up to paranoia. But together, the numbers, the stories and the actions indicate one certainty: Every pitch to a Blue Jay in Toronto is worth watching.”

Perhaps we too can watch for a man in white at today’s game? In today’s matchup the A’s put up Gio Gonzalez, it’ll be interesting to see if Kurt Suzuki messes around with signs – if they are in fact stealing on has to assume they will take a break today. The A’s face Henderson Alvarez who began this season with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League (High-A ball) where the 21 year old started just two games before being promoted to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats where he had a 2.86 ERA and 3.45 FIP while putting up 6.8 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. A’s lineup to face Alvarez same as last night’s an inexplicably Cliff Pennington is still in the two-hole while Ryan Sweeney hits seventh against the righty. Not entirely sure, I agree with Bob Melvin.

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