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A’s Overtake Rangers MLB Lead – In Errors

August 14, 2011


Saturday’s game between the Rangers and A’s was one well worth missing if you are an A’s fan. The A’s, still third place, overtook the first place Rangers in one statistical category yesterday – errors. If there was a will to make an error on the diamond, the A’s found a way, committing four on the day, including two on one play by Jemile Weeks.

Jemile Weeks led off the game with what looked to be a promising start, getting a triple off Rangers starter Colby Lewis, but that was perhaps the high water mark for the A’s on the afternoon, as two infield out to Ian Kinsler by Scott Sizemore and Hideki Matsui failed to get Weeks home before Josh Willingham flew out to end the inning. Sizemore’s hitting second is something I had a bit of a contention with. A’s fans derided Bob Geren‘s lack of knowledge about splits, and while splits aren’t the only consideration to take, they should be a part of a mix, Sizemore hitting second versus a righty in Lewis just didn’t seem sensible. Surely Bob Melvin has to be aware in the future that he owns a .194/.292/.300 slash line versus right-handed pitching. Wouldn’t Ryan Sweeney be more appropriate in that position? Sizemore would go onto a game in which he struck out the three remaining times he came up to the plate (all against right-handed pitchers in Lewis and recently acquired reliever, Mike Adams).

Despite the offensive woes Trevor Cahill kept Oakland in this game, he was perfect through three and a third, then after an Eric Sogard error let Elvis Andrus on, faced the minimum through five. A one-out single by Yorvit Torrealba was the first hit in the game for the Rangers in the sixth inning. Even then, the A’s did what they needed to do, getting Torrealba out on a caught stealing, however the real woes began shortly thereafter. Jemile Weeks made an error on an Endy Chavez ball, then made an ill-advised throw to allow Chavez to second, which when followed by an Ian Kinsler double scored Chavez and gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the seventh, Cahill gave up a series of hits, but only allowed a lone run. In the bottom half Ron Washington, playing the (smart) splits card, removed Lewis in favor of LH-Darren Oliver to face the left-handed David DeJesus with Willingham on second. DeJesus said to heck with the splits and doubled him home, Rangers 2, A’s 1. Then, the A’s saw Washington’s smart split move, and made a bone-headed split move of their own. This was a non-win situation, if the A’s pinch-hit, you knew full well Washington was going to change pitchers. Regardless, in his first game as an Athletic, Brandon Allen – potentially first baseman of the near future – was pinch-hit for. Why? It is beyond me. This guy was brought here to mash, and David DeJesus and his middling numbers had just got a hit off of 40-something Darren Oliver, yet we take the bat of out his hands and replace him with, very much so not the first baseman of the future, Conor Jackson. Washington removes Oliver and inserts Koji Uehara who promptly strikes out CoJax. Great series of moves there, really, didn’t see that outcome coming. Not sure exactly what Melvin was thinking today…

Spent, Cahill allows another run in the top half of the eighth and is pulled to put Brian Fuentes in. Normally, Fuentes being in the game is a white flag but he was actually properly used as a LOOGY to face Josh Hamilton. He failed at his mission mind you, allowing Hamilton to single and a run to score, but right move, wrong outcome. Fuentes then was promptly (and appropriately) removed, in favor of Fautino De Los Santos who allowed a fifth Ranger run before closing out the inning. Trying to ensure there was no possible way Oakland could get back into this game, Craig Breslow pitched the ninth allowing two additional runs, before Neftali Feliz failed to meltdown giving the Rangers a 7-1 win.

Melvin’s bizarre decisions surrounding splits today, coupled with a porous A’s defense all but ensured defeat. Let’s see if they can salvage one win Sunday.

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