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Live Blogging: Indians @ A’s Game 16

April 21, 2012

If the baseball season were the length of a football season today would be the A’s last game and an attempt to salvage a .500 season with a win. Of course the length of a baseball season is much greater than that of a football season but a .500 record is still better than a sub .500 one. To this end the A’s send ace Brandon McCarthy to the mound. McCarthy had some interesting things to say about the offensiveness of kiss cams to gay men, and I applaud him for speaking his mind with what I assume is not altogether a popular opinion in baseball. On the diamond, McCarthy currently sports a 3.60 ERA but a weaker 3.96 FIP. The big differences between this year and last for McCarthy thus far is that the homers have doubled (0.6 to 1.1 HR/9 and 6.4% to 11.5% HR/FB%). He faces Jeanmar Gomez for the Tribe. Gomez was suspended for a plunking in the Indians’ recent season with the Royals. The Indians messed around with it a bit appealing then dropping the appeal to ensure he really doesn’t miss any time at all. He has made just one start this year in two appearances and has pitched just four innings which he has yet to walk a batter or allow a home run during. A’s lineup isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Jonny Gomes gets the start in left field in lieu of Seth Smith (Coco Crisp is still out with flu-like symptoms) not sure I agree with that especially after the great throw yesterday from Smith.

  • 6:11PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Impressive play by Gomes going back to get a ball on the warning track with an over the shoulder catch. Nice play for him, don’t think too much of him with the glove but that was good. Funny how I criticize the decision to stick him in and sure enough first play goes to Gomes.
  • 6:14PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Second and third plays go to Gomes too as Jason Kipnis and Shin-Soo Choo have back-to-back singles.
  • 6:17PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Inauspicious start for the A’s. McCarthy walks Carlos Santana meaning the bases now are juiced for Travis Hafner.
  • 6:18PM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Fielder’s choice as McCarthy gets the slow grounder from Hafner and runs it to first. Kipnis scores. Indians lead 1-0.
  • 6:28PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – Good to see Jemile Weeks running. Great jump, he had it stolen. Wild throw from Santana. Great jump, great speed, but man he still needs to learn to better time his slide. He way overslides it, if that ball is on the ground and the infielder holds a tag, he is out. Gotta watch for that.
  • 6:34PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – Really happy to see the double steal there with Weeks and Yoenis Cespedes. Nice play. Real aggressive. Maybe Bob Melvin reads this blog?
  • 6:40PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 0 out – Leadoff walk then a single by Jack Hannahan. Indians in business again. Hannahan, formerly of the A’s of course, has played them so tough the past two seasons. Sure enough his stats versus the A’s are better than they are against most clubs as he came in with a .317/.383/.610 slash line and three home runs in just 47 plate appearances.
  • 6:41PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 1 out – Great play by Daric Barton to get the lead runner on the attempted sacrifice. Nice.
  • 6:42PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Wild play. Looked to me like the A’s had the strange 1-6-4-3 double play but the ump at first said Michael Brantley outran it. Regardless, the hit deflected off of McCarthy and ended up going straight to Cliff Pennington who threw to Weeks onto Barton where Brantley allegedly beat the throw. Nice play regardless.
  • 6:49PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd – 1 out – Nice solid single to left-center for Kurt Suzuki. That advances Barton (on via a fielder’s choice following a Gomes leadoff single) to third. A’s with a good chance to tie it.
  • 6:54PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd – 3 out – A’s again fail to get anything done with runners in scoring position.
  • 7:14PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – A’s killer Hannahan ends up on second with a double. Just can’t get that guy out!
  • 7:24PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Gomez gets both Smith and Gomes on K’s. A’s bats really need to do something. Middle of the order just can’t be whiffing like they are.
  • 7:29PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Choo lines it to Weeks who leaps it bounces. But he has the wherewithal to get Kipnis going to second nonetheless for a very non-traditional fielder’s choice.
  • 7:31PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Choo runs and Suzuki had no chance. Base stolen completely off of McCarthy. I would think with McCarthy’s slow look down then slowly raise his head think that he is susceptible to stolen bases but his caught stealing percentage last year at least was 27% which was a hair lower than league average (28%). This year with much smaller sample sizes he is now with that steal just at 20%, and league average has yet to normalize at a high 33% entering play today.
  • 7:35PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Weeks had a nice play earlier, but makes up for it with some poor decision making here. Don’t know why he didn’t go to first base. Ball was hit right at him, he sort of was leaning awkwardly backwards and he threw it to Pennington who couldn’t get to second in time and missed the bag meaning everyone is safe. Shelley Duncan is a slow runner, don’t see why the throw wasn’t just made to first.
  • 7:50PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Jason Donald on board with a single steals second. Suzuki with a high throw otherwise I am pretty sure he has him.
  • 7:51PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Stolen base looms large. Kipnis singles to center. Donald scores from second. Indians up 2-0.
  • 7:52PM PDT – Top of 6th, 3 out – Pitch out and Kipnis is out at second on the attempted steal on a sharp throw from Suzuki. That’s what I want the A’s to do. Run it until they prove they can get you.
  • 7:54PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 0 out – Bloop double to right field for Pennington. Great hustle on that, he was thinking double all along. This is what Oakland needs to do. The opposition scores a run, you need to answer. Good chance to do that with the runner in scoring position and the 3-4-5 hitters due up.
  • 7:56PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Deep fly out to center field for Josh Reddick. Pennington takes third. A’s need to bring him home. With Cespedes up, you have to feel that is a good possibility. Manny Acta seems to agree, because he removes Gomez and decides to go with Dan Wheeler. This will be Wheeler’s sixth appearance, he has had a tough go of it this year: 2.1 K/9 but 6.2 BB/9 and 2.1 HR/9. So he has a messy 6.23 ERA, but even sloppier (and surprisingly it isn’t even worse than this) 7.54 FIP.
  • 8:01PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 2 out – Cespedes drives it to deep right center, deep enough to get Pennington in. A’s trail 2-1. Book is closed on Gomez: 5 1/3 innings with the one earned run on four hits, with a walk and three strikeouts.
  • 8:02PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 2 out – Strange, Tribe are using a shift on Smith. He is scuffling, but he doesn’t strike me as such a pull hitter.
  • 8:05PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 2 out – Good approach as Smith proves the shift wrong going opposite field to left for a base hit.
  • 8:09PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 3 out – Gomes thought he had that one, flipped the bat and all, would’ve given the A’s a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, Gomes was wrong. Ball caught shy of even the warning track by Brantley in center. Inning over.
  • 8:22PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – New pitcher for Cleveland: Tony Sipp. The lefty has thrown three and two thirds innings this year and they have been ugly: 14.73  ERA, albeit with a 3.19 FIP. BABIP against him an ungodly .500. He faces Barton (L), Suzuki (R) and Sogard (L) so hopefully Zuk can get into something.
  • 8:26PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 3 out – Three up, three down for the lefty Sipp. Now the A’s put in a lefty of their own, Brian Fuentes. Not a terrible time to put him in as he’ll face Casey Kotchman (L), Hannahan (L) and Donald (R).
  • 8:32PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Fuentes K’s Hannahan, first time Oakland pitching has set him down tonight. Donald isn’t too scary a hitter, so I can’t take huge exception with Melvin leaving Fuentes in to face him especially with Brantley (L) on deck.
  • 8:33PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Donald gets a hit. Figures. Hitter on deck (Kipnis) and hitter in the hole (Choo) both are lefties, so have to stand by the Fuentes decision, though with four lefties in the A’s pen (Pedro Figueroa being added today), you wonder if in a one-run ballgame you just make a switch regardless and then if Donald gets on you go to one of the other two.
  • 8:35PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Base hit for Brantley up the middle advancing Donald to third. A’s need to keep this lead at just one, can’t afford to give up an insurance run.
  • 8:37PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Kipnis belts one that just keeps carrying and carrying and it bounces off the wall a few inches away from Reddick’s glove in right field. Both runners score, Kipnis gets to third. Indians lead 4-1. Wasn’t a sure fire catch, but was certainly misplayed by Reddick.
  • 8:39PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – When it rains… Fuentes uncorks a wild changeup. Kipnis scores from third and this lead has swelled to 5-1.
  • 8:40PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Choo hits to left, Gomes leaps at the wall it bounces off his glove for a double. The wheels have officially come off if one wants to somehow consider that as having not already happened. With no one up, Fuentes is facing the switching-hitting Santana hitting right-handed.
  • 8:41PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Gomes with a diving catch, snow cones it but thankfully the inning comes to a close. A’s have their work cut out for them as they trail by four runs. They have only scored four runs in an inning once this year and that came this past Tuesday in Anaheim. Lucky for them they have two innings to score four runs, but scoring isn’t something this team has proven adept at.
  • 8:44PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Vinnie Pestano takes the hill for the Indians. This will be his eighth appearance. He has 12.2 K/9 this year in his six and two-thirds innings of work. Last year in 62 innings he had 12.2 K/9 so he is a tough one to face.
  • 8:46PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Figueroa is warming in the bullpen looks like we may see his long-awaited MLB debut in the top half of the ninth.
  • 8:51PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Here we go, MLB debut of Figueroa. He is set to face Hafner (L), former Athletic Aaron Cunningham (R) and Kotchman (L).
  • 8:52PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – First MLB pitch for Figueroa a swinging strike of Hafner. Good start.
  • 8:56PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – After getting Hafner to roll over one, Figueroa goes 3-2 to Cunningham before walking him. It’d be nice to see an inning ending double play to get him out.
  • 8:57PM PDT – Top of 9th, 3 out – Ask and ye shall receive. 3-6-3 inning-ending double play.
  • 8:59PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Jairo Asencio in for the Indians to finish it off against the A’s finals hopes: Smith, Gomes and Barton. Asencio so far has thrown nine and two-thirds innings of 8.4 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 ball for a 4.66 ERA and better 3.95 FIP.
  • 9:03PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 1 out – Gomes is a lot faster than I thought he was as he has demonstrated in the field today and now by legging out an infield single that had Donald deep on the lip of the outfield grass.
  • 9:04PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 1 out – Barton almost just made this game a heck of a lot more interesting. He missed a home run by a foot at the most hitting it off the top of the high right field fence. Still it is good enough for a double. Gomes moved to third on the play. Chris Perez, the Tribe closer is up and throwing if this gets any close, I presume he comes in.
  • 9:07PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 2 out – Big strikeout of Suzuki. Awful start for Suzuki to the year as he entered today worth -0.1 WAR with an atrocious .203 wOBA and anemic 24 wRC+. The 1-for-4 night will do little to change that math.
  • 9:09PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 2 out – Kila Ka’aihue comes in to pinch hit for Eric Sogard and face new Indians pitcher closer Perez. Perez has six shutdowns to just one meltdown so far in 2012 despite a mediocre 4.05 ERA (his FIP at 3.22 is much better). He has struggled with bouts of wildness (5.4 BB/9) and last year at least really didn’t K too many folks (5.9 K/9 in 2011, up to 6.8 so far in 2012), so he isn’t as intimidating a closer as many others might be. Still A’s have one out to score four runs…
  • 9:10PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – A’s lose the series as Ka’aihue flies out to center field to end the ballgame. Perez earns the save, his sixth. A’s fall to 7-9 on the year.
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