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Live Blogging: Blue Jays @ A’s Game 126

August 20, 2011

 

8:40PM PDT: A’s win! The A’s improve to 57-69 on the season with the win at least guaranteeing a split of this series as well. Gio Gonzalez had a great outing, really sort of unexpected as he has been pretty terrible as of late. Hopefully this can be the start of a better run for him and he can finish strong heading into 2012. Loved what I’ve seen from Allen so far between the smart baserunning and the opposite field hitting continuing. Willingham also is on a tear and has been a lot of fun to watch, I am starting to come off the fence regarding re-signing Willingham and am beginning to lean towards bringing him back. He is forcing the issue really, how can anyone say no if he keeps hitting so well. Do it again tomorrow.

8:37PM PDT: Andrew Bailey is in for a non-save situation again. Do not like this move. Totally unnecessary. Gonzalez is just at 100 pitches, don’t get why you need to put Bailey in here. If you don’t want Gonzalez going any additional innings put someone else in other than your closer who pitched last night as well. We can write off Bailey now for a close game tomorrow afternoon should we need him, don’t like this use of Bailey lately at all.

8:33PM PDT: HOME RUN WILLINGHAM! Lewis likes to give up the long ball. Pinch hit home run gives the A’s two additional insurance runs. All his HRs go to the same place in left (as ESPN Home Run Tracker shows). Oakland A’s 5, Toronto Blue Jays 1. Looks good for Gio Gonzalez getting his first shot maybe at a complete game now?

8:25PM PDT: Ryan Sweeney gets an RBI “swingle” to left field for the two-out insurance run! A’s 3, Jays 1. Farrell is pulling Litsch and going to Rommie Lewis a lefty (I guess that is appropriate given the entire A’s lineup is left-handed tonight) who is making his season debut with the Blue Jays tonight. The 28-year-old Lewis has 14 appearances in his career all coming last year with Toronto posting a 6.75 ERA with a 5.54 FIP. Giving up the longball seemed to be his specialty in 2010, 18.2% HR/FB and 1.9 HR/9. He has spent this season with the Las Vegas 51s and who knows how he earned this promotion as his numbers were a 6.60 ERA and 5.19 FIP in 58 2/3 innings, again struggling with the long ball (1.5 HR/9). The A’s counter with Josh Willingham pinch-hitting for DeJesus which is a good guy to have up against someone who gives up the gopher ball.

8:21PM PDT: Brandon Allen crushes one opposite field to left, clanks off the top of the wall for a double. Maybe two to three feet from the top of the fence or else it is a home run. Nice to see a big slugger hit it opposite field though, not going to play a shift on this kid.

8:15PM PDT: These Blue Jays sure like to swing these past two days. Gio notches his ninth strikeout getting Yunel Escobar for the second time, stranding McDonald as the tying run on second base to end the inning. Big out. What a game from Gio, completely unexpected given both the way he has pitched the second half and especially given the terrible first inning of work.

8:09PM PDT: McCoy Lays down a sacrifice bunt that moves McDonald – presently the goat in this game for the Blue Jays – on board with a leadoff single to second. Tying run on second, Gio still on the hill, one out…

8:01PM PDT: New pitcher for Toronto comes in to relieve Henderson Alvarez: Jesse Litsch. The 0.5 WAR Litsch, comes in getting 7.8 K/9, allowing 3.3 BB/9 while surrendering 1.2 HR/9 adding up to a 4.03 ERA and 4.32 FIP. Alvarez, though overshadowed by Gonzalez’ performance, was solid as well: six innings pitched, two runs (only one earned) on seven hits, walking one, striking out three. Not bad for the 21 year old Venezuela native.

7:58PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez really looks good after that tough first inning. Now having gone seven strong, allowing just the one run, on three hits, walking one and striking out seven. Nice recovery by Gio and contrary to his recent starts he has kept his pitch count manageable and it is only at 85. Wonder if Bob Melvin goes back to Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey in the 8th and 9th? It’d seem foolish to remove Gio for the eighth at the very least.

7:48PM PDT: Another ball past Molina with Matsui on first and he again moves up to second.

7:34PM PDT: Jemile Weeks steals second again sliding way late leaving skid marks with his feet on the bag. Nice show bunt by Coco Crisp there to help an assist with him getting the stolen base there. Fourteenth on the year and only improves his SB% to 66.7% well below that 75% threshold necessary for steal to be worthwhile. Between the poor SB% and the low OBP (.321 coming into tonight) I wonder if he isn’t better off further down in the lineup?

7:20PM PDT: DeJesus grounds into the double play but Allen scores on the play. A’s 2, Jays 1.

7:15PM PDT: John McDonald with an error at second base and real smart baserunning from Brandon Allen who makes it all the way from first to third on the play as it trickles by him. Nobody out and men on the corners, good time to get the lead. Just after we thought yesterday’s 0-for-4 meant his beatification would be postponed.

7:10PM PDT: Seven pitch inning for Gonzalez who has really settled down after a rocky first. Four innings pitched, the one earned run, three hits allowed, importantly just one walk and four strikeouts thus far.

6:54PM PDT: Gonzalez notches his second strikeout of the night getting the reeling Yunel Escobar down on strikes. He has struck out seven times this series, pretty bad.

6:33PM PDT: The umpire kicks the ball away after Jose Molina missed the pitch and that allows Matsui to advance to second. Strange play, don’t see that too often.

6:31PM PDT: Pennington scores on a Hideki Matsui bloop to left. A’s tie it.

6:30PM PDT: Coco hits it to left past Lawrie who was playing to guard against the bunt, that moves Pennington on base care of a double to right to third. Nice if Oakland can pick up the run right off the bat like this and tie it up.

6:24PM PDT: That’s pretty crazy, CSNCalifornia‘s broadcast just highlighted that the A’s all left-handed lineup is the first since the Philadelphia Athletics did it on September 24th, 1940. Nuts.

6:19PM PDT: Ron Romanick comes out to the mound to talk to Gonzalez as he has just walked the bases full by losing a 3-2 count (had him down 0-2) to Colby Rasmus. Inauspicious start for the A’s and Brett Lawrie, due up, already has one grand slam against the A’s this year, don’t need another.

6:16PM PDT: If Gonzalez is trying to change the narrative on his year this isn’t the way to do it. Edwin Encarnacion opposite fields it to David DeJesus and Powell did a great job blocking the plate but the bad hop on the throw skipped by him, Eric Thames scores. Blue Jays up 1-0.

6:12PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez plunks Adam Lind right on his right hand. Trainers and Blue Jays manager John Farrell are out. Doesn’t look like fun.

6:06PM PDT: Big lineup note for Toronto that just changed is that Jose Bautista is a late-scratch, so Gio avoids pitching to one of the American League’s more intimidating players and instead gets to face the decidedly less scary Mike McCoy instead. Apparently it is neck stiffness that is keeping Bautista on the bench today.

5:56PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the A’s as he tries to prove he has remembered how to pitch again as in his past five starts since the All Star break he sports an 0-5 record, which is meaningless though understandable given that he has a horrific 7.90 ERA across that time albeit with a much less frightening 4.07 FIP. The strikeouts are still there for Gio over this time (8.9K/9) but the walks were a huge problem (5.9 BB/9) and the BABIP (.381) and strand rate (55.8%) turned against him after a pretty lucky early stretch. He squares off against Henderson Alvarez who received a no decision in his MLB debut in Toronto against the A’s and who has pitched once more (in Seattle) earning a second no-decision after a virtually identical outing to the one he had against Oakland. Josh Willingham is out of the lineup today which means Coco Crisp moves into that third spot which also (for whatever reason) means Cliff Pennington moves into that second spot – which I feel he has proven he is so ill-suited for (though admittedly at first I was a fan of the idea). Landon Powell gets the start behind the plate and Eric Sogard gets the start at third which means the A’s lineup between left-handers and switch-hitters will all be hitting from the left-side of the plate tonight, all nine – kinda neat.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. elmaquino permalink
    August 20, 2011 9:08 pm

    (at the risk of sounding stupid) Coco’s hitting 3rd? What’s wrong with Suzuki or DeJesus?

    • August 20, 2011 9:18 pm

      There is plenty wrong with Suzuki and DeJesus’ hitting. That said, Crisp third isn’t terrible, less than ideal but not atrocious, the real problem is why the heck is Pennington in second.

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