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Live Blogging: Orioles @ A’s Game 123

August 17, 2011

3:22PM PDT: What an incredible ending. Markakis singles to right field, scoring Andino and making it 6-5, then David DeJesus entering as a defensive replacement ironically, bungles the ball, it gets past him, Orioles third base coach Willie Randolph sends pinch-runner Blake Davis (running for Hardy) the throw from Sweeney beats him, Suzuki blocks the plate, tags him out, ump just stands there, Suzuki stands up shows him the ball. OUT! Game over. Wow, what a finish! A’s win! Phew… that was a bit close for comfort – and proves to me why we don’t use our closer in games when we don’t need him (to beat a dead horse)!

3:20PM PDT: Pennington goes well up the middle to stop a hit by J.J. Hardy and keep Andino at second. Go-ahead run at the plate (Nick Markakis) tying run now on first. Bailey was used yesterday because?

3:18PM PDT: Andino doubles it into the gap in left-center…

3:14PM PDT: Berken gets the job done, not before walking Suzuki so it is Andrew Bailey out to secure the win in the ninth and hold this two run lead. He pitched yesterday, which was stupid if you ask me, and hopefully there aren’t any negative residual effects from that appearance tonight – one could argue perhaps that is why Balfour wasn’t as sharp as usual in the eighth though at least in Balfour’s defense he was used appropriately yesterday whereas Bailey’s appearance was superfluous and unnecessary.

3:06PM PDT: Cliff Pennington flies out to Jones who nearly lost it in the high sky just catching it at his waist at the last second. You could see him sort of talking to himself after that, he knows he got lucky. Buck Showalter is going to get a new pitcher in after that fly out, to get a righty to face the righty Kurt Suzuki. I know he has hit two home runs today but it seems pretty silly to me. New pitcher is Jason Berken a former starter who since 2010 has been an exclusive reliever for the O’s, and a lackluster one at that with a 5.85 ERA and 5.46 FIP with an incredibly high 2.0 HR/9 adding up to -0.4 WAR on the season.

3:00PM PDT: Grant Balfour came in for the eighth inning and then got himself into a mess – first and second two out with Reimold up. While I felt that walking Reynolds really is sort of inexcusable – given his historic strikeout numbers – in reality he actually draws a fair amount of walks, 12.7% BB% this year and and 11.7% mark for his career.

2:43PM PDT: New Orioles pitcher is Troy Patton who failed to record an out last night. Here’s hoping that feat is duplicated this afternoon.

2:41PM PDT: De Los Santos K’s J.J. Hardy! Huge performance there in a very tough spot. McCarthy ought to buy him dinner. Book is closed on McCarthy, not his best outing but good enough: six innings, four earned runs, on eight hits (including the Markakis HR), two walks and just three K’s.

2:39PM PDT: Don’t want to speak too soon but FDLS gets Craig Tatum to fly out to right but not deep enough to score Reimold, and then strikes out Robert Andino… one more out to go.

2:33PM PDT: Top of the seventh was not kind to Brandon McCarthy. Mark Reynolds doubled, he lost Reimold and walked him after having him down 0-2, then Josh Bell singled home Reynolds to make it 6-4. Bob Melvin didn’t need to see anymore and inserted Fautino De Los Santos into this ballgame. De Los Santos, who blew it in a similar situation on Monday, comes in with 11.5 K/9.

2:18PM PDT: Suzuki we hardly know ye! Second home run of the day to the left field staircase. It was that hanging slider again chest high. A’s get the run back 6-3 and it chases Alfredo Simon from this ballgame. The line on Simon: five and a third innings, allowing six runs (all but one earned), on eight hits including two home runs, with two walks, three K’s. New O’s pitcher is Brad Bergesen another O’s pitcher who has split time between the rotation and bullpen – they have a lot of those. Like most of those guys too, he has struggled with a 5.38 ERA and 4.60 FIP posting 5.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9.

2:11PM PDT: Nick Markakis takes McCarthy deep to right field with his thirteenth home run of the year. Ryan Sweeney could only watch that one. Orioles close the gap to 5-3 in a game that feels much more wide open than the score indicates.

2:05PM PDT: Allen draws a walk after an eleven-pitch at bat. Not what you expect out of a highly touTed Power hitter like him, yet he’s had similar at bats in two straight. Great first impression.

1:59PM PDT: Simon has a really nice slider, he just fooled Willingham on it and fooled Sizemore too last inning to get called strike threes. Really bends.

1:47PM PDT: Weeks, who hasn’t been in Oakland a full year is second in the AL with triples now with eight (one behind Curtis Granderson). Man he can fly, stand up two-out triple. Alfredo Simon has not been able to record one 1-2-3 inning in this game.

1:32PM PDT: Two triples in two days as again another Athletic – this time Brandon Allen – blasts a ball over the head of an Oriole outfielder – this time Adam Jones. Jones couldn’t pick up the ball, so that is why it is a triple with him scoring on the dropped ball by Jones, as opposed to an inside-the-park home run. A’s 5, O’s 2.

1:26PM PDT: McCarthy has settled down after a tough first inning. Still not an impressive outing but only three innings through.

1:12PM PDT: Weeks was not hit by a pitch and then the umps overruled it and said he did get hit. I couldn’t tell. Who knows. Fine with how it ended up though, Weeks is now on first. Men on second and first, nobody out.

1:10PM PDT: Over the head of Orioles outfielders seems to be the theme of the day which is great. Sizemore with a double into right over the head of Markakis. Here we go.

1:08PM PDT: That was a daytime home run right there for Kurt Suzuki. Alfredo Simon left that one up in Zuk’s wheelhouse. Reimold runs out of room and it makes it over the 362 sign in left. A’s 4, O’s 2. With the marine layer in at night I bet that’s a double.

12:58PM PDT: Brandon Allen belts it to right field for a sac fly. Matsui jogs in from third. A’s 3, O’s 2.

12:56PM PDT: Toughest ball to catch is the one hit right at you and Reimold blows it. Willingham gets a two-run double off of it and the A’s tie this thing right up. If you don’t believe in BABIP and defense-independent pitching statistics, this is the inning to watch, A’s luck out with those last two hits.

12:55PM PDT: Matsui hits one off the end of the bat and it just bounces between Hardy, Jones and Nolan Reimold in no man’s land. Bases are now loaded for Willingham. Secure that Type-A status, hit a grand slam right here…

12:53PM PDT: A’s need to take advantage of this opportunity here with Jemile Weeks on via a leadoff single followed by Crisp getting on via a walk. I wouldn’t mind an aggressive double steal attempt here. Regardless, A’s need to capitalize with Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham due up.

12:45PM PDT: Vladimir Guerrero who had two doubles yesterday gets another today and scores the Orioles’ second run of the afternoon. O’s 2, A’s 0 – not the way anyone wanted this one to begin.

12:44PM PDT: Adam Jones hits it out to center field, with Coco Crisp‘s arm he isn’t getting anyone and Hardy gets home no problem on the sac fly. Orioles 1, Athletics 0.

12:41PM PDT: Not a great start. J.J. Hardy gets a base-hit off Scott Sizemore‘s glove, and now Nick Markakis gets a double down the right-field line making it one out and second and third. That ball if it was indeed fair was not fair by much…

12:30PM PDT: Brandon McCarthy takes on Alfredo Simon (of involuntary manslaughter charges fame) in the rubber match of the A’s-O’s series. Simon has had a mixed year splitting his time between the pen and rotation with the O’s while also finding himself with Triple-A Norfolk for part of the year. All in all he has a 4.35 ERA and better 3.69 FIP on his 0.9 WAR year. McCarthy meanwhile has been Oakland’s most consistent pitcher save for a rough outing his last time out against Texas. With a 3.62 ERA and 2.70 FIP, the 3.2 WAR McCarthy has had 6.0 K/9 and only 1.3 BB/9. A’s lineup is one we’re accustomed to except that Ryan Sweeney is getting the start in right field. Susan Slusser in her pregame A’s Drumbeat had good news,

“I asked manager Bob Melvin – who said Saturday when Brandon Allen was called up that [Conor] Jackson will remain the primary first baseman – if, considering how well Allen has performed, he could see having both men in the lineup when Jackson is healthy. Both can play the outfield, though Allen would man first if they both were in the lineup.

Melvin said that Allen “is doing a nice job and we do have flexibility. We’ll see how it goes – there will be some days off against left-handers. But he’s doing a nice job right now and deserves some at-bats.”

Yes.”

But along with that she also had bad news,

“Melvin also mentioned that he’s steadily moving Brian Fuentes back into a more prominent bullpen role. He sees the seventh inning as a combination of Fuentes and Fautino De Los Santos.”

Speaking of Fuentes, MLBTradeRumors’ Tim Dierkes says that the Phillies and Yankees are both seeking LOOGY type pitchers and that,

“their best bet would be to go after an overpaid southpaw who is effective against lefties, as the Twins did with Brian Fuentes a year ago.  Examples could be Fuentes again.”

Let’s hope so.

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