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Live Blogging: Royals @ A’s Game 7

April 11, 2012

CSNCalifornia is not broadcasting this one so we get the joy that is listening to Rex Hudler call a baseball game for FoxSports Kansas City. In other words… maybe this is one we listen to on mute? This is a matchup of aces, can’t say too much about either of these staffs when the aces are Bruce Chen and Brandon McCarthy. Chen’s first start of the year saw him keep the Angels scoreless over six innings. Striking out four and walking no one. McCarthy has his third start of the year, not looking sharp in his last outing the Oakland opener for the A’s. Hopefully he gets some run support and defensive pick up – of the six runs he’s allowed this year three are unearned. Behind him the A’s have a similarly strange lineup to yesterday’s, noteworthy are Cliff Pennington hitting second, Yoenis Cespedes again in the fourth spot and Collin Cowgill hitting ninth and playing left field – really would’ve liked to have seen Seth Smith get the start out in left and a chance to prove his detractors wrong versus lefties.

  • 12:42PM PDT – Top of 1st, 3 out – 1-2-3, nine pitch inning for McCarthy. This is what we like to see out of him. Working fast, inducing weak contact, getting it done.
  • 12:50PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Chen too with a 1-2-3 inning. A’s managed a lone hit yesterday, a Pennington double, need to get a few more than that today.
  • 12:56PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Nice K of Mike Moustakas by McCarthy there. Really had some good looking curves that inning. Bottom just dropping out.
  • 12:59PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 0 out – Cespedes gets whats should be a bloop single but the bounce gets past Jeff Francoeur turning into a double.  Good way to open the inning.
  • 1:03PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – Turns out what I thought was a double all along was originally scored a single and an error. So it is still a double and anyone reading this never knew.
  • 1:04PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – Wow. Cespedes runs to grab third steals it. Brayan Pena throws it well over the head of Moustakas at third, and he comes around to score. Nice aggressive baserunning, we haven’t yet seen him use his wheels but there we go as he gets his first MLB stolen base. A’s lead 1-0.
  • 1:12PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – Perfect game is broken up with a Pena double to right center. He really hit a tough curve there, solid basehitting from him to get to second. One thing that was impressive also is how Cespedes cut the ball off. It was too deep in center and his motion was carrying him to the wall, but with a faster runner if he hadn’t plucked that ball off the ground before it go to the wall it would’ve been an easy triple. Nice play that doesn’t get anywhere in the box score.
  • 1:17PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 2 out – Alex Gordon with a base hit, first of the season, he had 20 plate appearances without one to start the year, just past the glove of Jemile Weeks. That plates Pena. Ties the game at one.
  • 1:21PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 3 out – Strikeout of Alcides Escobar to end a 27 pitch third inning for McCarthy. He wasn’t bad, but the Royals hitters really made him work and spoiled an awful lot of pitches.
  • 1:24PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 0 out – Daric Barton doubles to right field into the corner. Nice solid hit. Need more of that. I am totally fine with a first baseman with a lot of doubles if not home runs.
  • 1:27PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 0 out – Cowgill gets on base via a walk. Good start to the third. It’d be nice to see Oakland have a real big breakout inning. Hudler is already talking “this is a bunt situation” with Weeks up. Hope not.
  • 1:29PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, o out – Seems like Weeks was bunting for a hit, which is fine, but not ideal in this situation really. There, it just seemed like he accepted the sacrifice might happen but tried to run and bunt it which isn’t bright if you have the infield in already unless you have an unreal sense of confidence in your speed.
  • 1:34PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 2 out – Hudler has in this inning confused what the difference between a dictionary and a thesaurus is and also informed us that squinting uses up your energy so that is why players wear sunglasses and use eye black. I feel for you Kansas City Royals fans, you deserve so much better than this.
  • 1:36PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 3 out – Great at bat by Josh Reddick even if all it resulted in was an out. What is the scouting report the Royals have on Reddick? Look at this from his nine pitch at bat from BrooksBaseball:
  • 1:40PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Billy Butler hits it to deep left center field. Cowgill can only look up as the Royals take a 2-1 lead on the solo shot.
  • 1:41PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Francoeur gets a double to the right field gap so trouble for McCarthy here in the fourth.
  • 1:51PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Cespedes draws a walk. Hudler’s commentary on Cespedes, “he reminds me of right-handed Ruben Sierra“. The switch-hitting Sierra had a mere 2,812 plate appearances in his career as a right-handed batter. Sort of a strange comparison. Why not just say that he reminds him of Sierra? I just can’t tolerate this guy, so maybe I am splitting hairs.
  • 1:54PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Perhaps Cespedes had Chen distracted at first because he grooved one to Jonny Gomes who makes him pay deep to left field for a two-run shot to give the A’s the lead again at 3-2.
  • 1:57PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Josh Donaldson strikes out just the second K of the game for Chen. This entire game Hudler keeps talking about the high sky in Oakland being so tough to play in. Yet every shot they show, shows a cloud-filled sky. OK Rex…
  • 2:02PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Weeks seems to be a step behind the ground balls today as Chris Getz gets a hit just past his glove reminiscent of the one that Gordon got in the second inning to tie the game.
  • 2:10PM PDT – Top of 5th 2 out – McCarthy walks his second batter of the inning (he walked Gordon too) as he loses Eric Hosmer like Gordon after the count goes full. Leaves the bases loaded for Butler who of course hit a home run his last at bat.
  • 2:13PM PDT – Top of 5th, 3 out – Butler rolls over and grounds out to third. Inning over. Threat neutralized. I don’t think that McCarthy is that bad with his aim today, I think the case is more of the Royals stopped biting on his curveball and those end up in the dirt and hence are balls. Perhaps he is tipping something because at first they were frequently biting on it today.
  • 2:18PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – Weird play. Weeks hits one into no man’s land. Hosmer sort of has it, it flips up, seemed like he could get the ricochet but Getz runs in an sort of slams it to the ground. Weeks ends up on second, good opportunity for the A’s to capitalize on a strange play.
  • 2:29PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 3 out – Reddick flies out to right, Gordon picks it up off his shoe tops to get it and end the A’s threat. This Chen stArt However has reminded me of a great article a few years back in the Wall Street Journal. The article created a baseball statistic (that I have since been unable to find) called SLOTH, seconds to launch one throw home, roughly measuring the time it took for a pitcher to throw the ball. Chen was not in the slowest pitchers, but lord knows how he avoided that distinction. Yawn this game is taking forever, between his slow pitching and his incessant need to over-monitor baserunners.
  • 2:41PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 0 out – Kelvin Herrera takes the mound for the Royals. He has 3.1 innings of MLB experience to his name, with 1.1 of it coming here in 2012. Guy has a fastball, as it has averaged 96.6.
  • 2:42PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Gomes is set down on his butt from a high and in pitch. Yikes that was close and at 97 mph no fun.
  • 2:45PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Gomes, on board with a walk, steals second. Good aggressive play to get into scoring position.
  • 2:50PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Two new A’s in the lineup. Eric Sogard takes over at short, likely because of the pitch Penny fouled off of his knee earlier in the game and more important, Brian Fuentes comes in to face Getz (L), Gordon (L) and Escobar and to preserve the win for McCarthy. Not the worst time to put him in.
  • 2:52PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – Home run for Gordon, straight away center. Tie ballgame. McCarthy will go to bed tonight with a no decision.
  • 2:53PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – Escobar shows Little Leaguers across America why you always run out the play as Weeks pops it up. The swirling wind messes with it and it drops and Escobar ends up at second. That’s why you hustle. Royals now have the go ahead run in scoring position with the heart of the order up. You have to give props to good baseball.
  • 2:56PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Three pitch swinging strikeout of Hosmer for Fuentes, but thankfully, mercifully, Bob Melvin is treating Fuentes like a LOOGY as he should and with the right-handed Butler up, goes to Ryan Cook in the pen. I love this move. Thank you Bob, thank you!
  • 3:03PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Jose Mijares come out from the pen for the Royals. Big burly left-hander is mostly fastball changeup, slider.
  • 3:08PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 1 out – Hudler is complaining about no bunt from Cowgill with Barton on board with the single. I’m still not in the range of the game where I favor a bunt. The hit-and-run is fine he maybe, jump start things, but because they didn’t bunt is not as Hudler said it “the reason they’ll be cellar dwellers in the West for years to come”. Hudler is an idiot, you have the top of the order coming up, it isn’t waiting for the three run home run, it is building a sustained rally. Why have Cowgill just give himself up? It didn’t end well but this is baseball, even for the best 70% of the times they fail.
  • 3:20PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Good 1-2-3 for Cook who I am fast becoming a big fan of. Hudler is just killing me. He is bar none the worst commentator in the history of baseball. He has throughout this game commented non-stop about every Royal being basically a patron saint. They understand and don’t get flustered by failure (Gordon), they are humble (Hosmer), they are accepting of diminished roles (Mitch Maier). Meanwhile they show an image of the A’s infield standing behind Cook warming, and because they aren’t talking Hudler says that this is a team that basically doesn’t want to be there. Holy crap. Hudler needs to shut up, his insights have bordered on the inane to insulting all game long. How did he ever get a job in broadcasting. Is there anyone out there who actually likes listening to this?
  • 3:22PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – A 76 mph change hits Reddick and he goes down hard. Seems to have hit him off the shoulder then maybe into his jaw or back of his neck? Doesn’t look like fun. But he is coming out of the game. Coco Crisp is going in to run. I presume Coco will take over in left with Cowgill moving to right field. Hopefully Reddick is alright. He took 24 pitches today against Chen alone as per the FoxSports Kansas City broadcast, wow. Mijares too is leaving the game in favor of a new pitcher to face Cespedes.
  • 3:25PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Greg Holland is the new pitcher in to face Cespedes. Holland is sort of sharing the closing responsibilities for the Royals with former Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton. This wouldn’t have been an issue if not for Joakim Soria being out for the season. Holland, like Aaron Crow the other night has some funny early season numbers: 10.80 ERA and a 2.07 FIP.
  • 3:26PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 1 out – Takes just three pitches but gets Cespedes down on strikes. Yeesh.
  • 3:29PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Gomes goes down on strikes too.
  • 3:34PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Good to see Grant Balfour out on the mound to preserve this tie. Great outing for Cook who goes, one and a third perfect innings. This is the fourth ballgame for Balfour. First outing of the year was the same situation, pitching in the ninth in a tie ballgame on Opening Day in Japan, the other two were saves that he converted. In four innings, the strikeout pitch hasn’t been there yet just 4.5 K/9. As I suspected Cowgill goes to right and Crisp goes to left.
  • 3:45PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – Balfour went three up, three down and Holland doubles that with six up and six down now including three K’s including that final one getting Cowgill there. We head to extra innings, free baseball!
  • 3:48PM PDT – Top of 10th, 0 out – Balfour gives up a lead off opposite field hit to Escobar. Royals are in business here in the tenth with the heart of the order: Hosmer, Butler, Francoeur up.
  • 3:49PM PDT – Top of 10th, 1 out – Hosmer takes it a long way but the wind looks to have killed it and it dies in relatively deep center field. Warning track power. Phew.
  • 3:55PM PDT – Top of 10th, 2 out – Balfour walks Francoeur, so the lead runner (Escobar) is now in scoring position for the Royals.
  • 3:57PM PDT – Top of 10th, 3 out – Moustakas strikes out to end the inning. Royals are 1-for-9 with RISP, not a recipe to win a tight game. We go to the bottom of the tenth, I suspect the new pitcher will be Tim Collins.
  • 4:00PM PDT – Bottom of 10th, 0 out – It is Collins to face the top of Oakland’s order. I really like watching this tiny kid pitch. This will mark his third appearance of the year. Despite being 5’7″ his fastball has averaged 92.8 mph this year but the great offset is his curveball, big sweeping one at just 74 mph.
  • 4:04PM PDT – Bottom of 10th, 2 out – Second straight strikeout as he gets Sogard looking on the “corner”. A bit off the corner if you ask me and BrooksBaseball agrees, but Sogard didn’t do himself any favors either. I wonder if the Pitch f/x is off a bit at the Coliseum though it looked true watching it. 
  • 4:07PM PDT – Top of 11th, 0 out – Jordan Norberto comes in for the A’s. Jason Bourgeois comes in to pinch hit for Maier. Interesting that Melvin is going to Norberto. If we are following the best available pitcher, I’d go Fautino De Los Santos but he seems to have somehow seriously fallen out of favor with Melvin.
  • 4:09PM PDT – Top of 11th, 2 out – Nice strikeout by Norberto of Pena. Good to see the command being there, he is looking good. Obviously still crazy early, but it is looking possible that he might have figured out some control. How one goes from being so bad with that to even average is beyond me.
  • 4:11PM PDT – Top of 11th, 3 out – Thought Norberto should’ve had a strikeout on pinch-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt but the 1-2-3 inning with a foul out to Donaldson will suffice. Game keeps on going… now Chen’s slow delivery really is annoying as the game nears four hours.
  • 4:14PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 0 out – Collins still out there and the leadoff hitter Cespedes hits a single in front of new center fielder Bourgeois. This is the part of the A’s lineup coming up that in theory is supposed to be the part to do some damage.
  • 4:17PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 1 out – Nasty curveball to get Gomes on the strikeout. Gomes striking out as often as he has this year (57.1%) is not typical of him as his career mark is a not outside the realm of normal 26.7%.
  • 4:21PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 3 out – Collins K’s Donaldson on the curve ball. He out does Holland with four strikeouts in two innings, though he was seven up, six down. To the twelfth…
  • 4:26PM PDT – Top of 12th, 2 out – Norberto gets the first two before allowing a single to Hosmer. The lefty won’t face Butler so Melvin is going to the pen and getting Andrew Carignan. Again, where is De Los Santos?
  • 4:29PM PDT – Top of 12th, 2 out – I haven’t been crazy about Carignan. He just hasn’t pitched well. Again, he doesn’t pitch well. Hosmer scores all the way from first on a Butler double to the left field corner. Crisp had a good throw to the cut off man, and the relay near got Hosmer, but nearly and actually getting someone are two very different things. Royals lead late 4-3. I suspect we see closer #2 Broxton come out for the bottom half.
  • 4:33PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 0 out – Broxton is indeed in. He will face Barton, Cowgill and Weeks. Not exactly the three you want up when it is all on the line, though you could do worse.
  • 4:36PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 1 out – Barton looks at strike three. Two more batters to go. Seth Smith is up to pinch hit for Cowgill, he is a guy who can tie it with one swing.
  • 4:37PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 1 out – Escobar gets eaten up and then rushes the throw and nearly throws it very wide of first. Good play by Hosmer or Smith is one second or maybe even third. It is a error for Escobar.
  • 4:40PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 1 out – Broxton loses Weeks with four straight balls. Game has gotten interesting with Smith, the tying run now at second base.
  • 4:44PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 1 out – Broxton loses Sogard after it goes full. Bases are juiced, Coco is due up. Tying run on third (Smith), winning on second (Weeks).
  • 4:47PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 2 out – The goat is presently Escobar. Betancourt takes the Crisp ground out but it scores Smith to make this a 4-4 tie.
  • 4:48PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 2 out – Broxton hits Cespedes. This is the third time he has been hit by a pitch this year in just seven games. The other two times he was struck by Felix Hernandez. Bases now are loaded again for Gomes.
  • 4:49PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 2 out – First pitch Broxton throws to Gomes hits him. HBP to win! A’s win 5-4. What a weird ending. Series win! A’s are now 3-4.
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