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Live Blogging: A’s @ Red Sox Game 24

April 30, 2012

The long awaited debut of Brandon Inge happens today as he plays third base and hits eighth. Otherwise of lineup note, Daric Barton is installed back at first base hitting just ahead of him in the seven spot and Seth Smith is the designated hitter hitting fourth. One the mound for the A’s is Tommy Milone who is making his fifth start of the year. He enters today with a 2.00 ERA across his 27 innings of work but a fairly higher 3.24 FIP care of his low K/9 total (4.3). He has induced weak contact with a .205 BABIP, but the question remains what his ERA will look like once that BABIP starts to creep up. Unlike Guillermo Moscoso who had similar concerns last year with a strangely low BABIP and strange ERA/FIP ratio Milone gets a lot more ground balls. He squares off against Clay Buchholz who has looked anything but good in the early go. With 22 1/3 innings under his belt he owns an 8.87 ERA not offset much by a 6.93 FIP. He hasn’t struck many out (4.4 K/9), has walked a lot (4.0 BB/9) and has surrendered a ton of home runs (2.4 HR/9). Good opportunity steal a win to open the A’s only series in Fenway Park this year.

  • 4:15PM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Josh Reddick draws a walk against his former teammate. Entered today with a 1.1% BB% so it is nice to see him take a free pass.
  • 4:22PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 0 out – Rough start for the game Dustin Pedroia grounds an easy ball to Jemile Weeks who misplays it for an error. Weeks is off to an exceptionally disappointing start this year. While I expected a regression and worried that his 2011 numbers were buoyed way too much by a really unsustainable and high BABIP (.350), I didn’t expect this: .187/.253/.319 to enter the game worth 0.0 WAR through the first month of baseball. The BABIP has turned on him (.197) and though he has doubled the walk rate (4.8% to 8.1%) it hasn’t been enough.
  • 4:29PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Swinging strike out to get Cody Ross out. While the Red Sox were my pick to win the AL East this year, and that isn’t looking great right now, who would’ve thought the Red Sox would be starting an outfield of Darnell McDonald (LF), Marlon Byrd (CF) and Ross by the end of April?
  • 4:37PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 1 out – Barton does what he does best and draws the walk, making it 2nd (Kurt Suzuki on board with a single) and 1st for the A’s newest addition in Inge.
  • 4:38PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Fly out to the center fielder for Inge. So, thus far his .000/.000/.000 is not an improvement over the former third basemen and their .122/.153/.207
  • 4:39PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Weird play there. Cliff Pennington singled to left field, Suzuki took a wide turn around third. Seeing Suzuki’s wide turn, Barton took an equally wide turn around second but slipped as Suzuki put on the brakes and he did too. The Red Sox then went to get Barton out and got him in a rundown but stupidly did not go after Suzuki going now from third to home. Because Suzuki scored before the Red Sox tagged Barton the A’s earn a run and lead 1-0. Good job by the A’s of getting a run on that play. That was very smart baseball by Barton to slow get the A’s that run. 7-2-4-5-6 on the out.
  • 4:44PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 0 out – David Ortiz with a laser into the Athletics’ bullpen in right field. He killed that 3-2 mistake pitch over the plate from Milone. No doubter. As quickly as the A’s got the lead, they give it up, tied 1-1.
  • 4:49PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – Another solidly hit ball, this one an opposite field ground rule double into the Red Sox bullpen for McDonald. The Red Sox aren’t getting cheated.
  • 4:51PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – Byrd singles opposite field to right scoring McDonald from second and giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Fairly deep into counts before they are getting to Milone which means they are getting plenty of looks at what he has.
  • 4:54PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 2 out – Mike Aviles hits a bloop between Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes and over the head of Pennington sort of in no mans land. That scores Byrd from second base and ups the Red Sox lead to 3-1. Milone not looking all that great, that BABIP pendulum swinging a bit in the opposite direction here.
  • 4:59PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 2 out – Another 3-2 count and another hit. Fifth of the inning as Pedroia hits it to left. Aviles has to stop at second despite running on the pitch. 53 pitches for Milone (37 for strikes), 43 in this inning alone.
  • 5:00PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 2 out – The A’s were out of it. Ground ball hit by Adrian Gonzalez into the shift. Weeks throws it past Barton, a run scores, Gonzalez gets to second and Pedroia moves to third. Red Sox 4, Athletics 1.
  • 5:15PM PDT – Bototm of 3rd, 1 out – McDonald with a long home run to left center field plates two. Red Sox up on top 6-1. Think it is going to be a pretty early run to the showers for Milone.
  • 5:24PM PDT – Top of 4th, 3 out – A’s bats have gone cold on this 51° night. Surprised, I am not.
  • 5:29PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Nice play by Cespedes backpedaling there to get that long drive by Pedroia. Not an easy plate out there towards that center field triangle at Fenway.
  • 5:38PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Inge draws a walk. His .000/.500/.000 might be better than the previous third basemen line of .122/.153/.207.
  • 5:46PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – The first Ortiz home run was a laser. This one hung up a bit. Reddick did a great job of looking for the wall, timing the jump and it bounced off his glove as he went into the Red Sox bullpen and fell in as did the ball making the score now 7-1. Third Red Sox home run of the night. Milone has been rocked.
  • 5:50PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 2 out – A bobble by Inge on a base hit by McDonald (it was not an error nor should it have been) and that spells the end for Milone. A terrible outing for Milone, four and two-thirds innings. Jordan Norberto comes in with the man on first. Norberto has pitched ten innings for the A’s this year with 6.3 K/9 and a relatively high 4.5 BB/9 though that still has more than halved his previous BB/9 total, owning a 2.70 ERA and 3.05 FIP. He has inherited five runners this year already and has stranded them all much to the pleasure of the pitchers he relieves.
  • 5:53PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 2 out – Would’ve been a home run anywhere else but Byrd hits one high off the Green Monster to score McDonald from second and up the Red Sox lead to 8-1. Closes the book on Milone: 4 2/3 innings, eight runs, seven earned on eight hits including three home runs, a walk and five strikeouts. Finishes the game with a 13.50 ERA and a 9.80 FIP. The ERA jumps from 2.00 to 3.69 for Milone.
  • 5:58PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 2 out – Bad to worse. Aviles tags Norberto for a three-run blast over the Green Monster. All these runs are the responsibility of Norberto. Lead for the Red Sox swells to 11-1. If this game wasn’t already over it is now officially without doubt over.
  • 6:07PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 0 out – Brian Fuentes is in. He faces, Gonzalez (L), Ross (R) and Ortiz (L). I don’t mind this usage. Of course with a ten run deficit who cares about anything right? Strategy is done. Fuentes comes in with a 4.70 ERA, despite a 2.95 FIP. He has his highest K/9 rates since 2008 at 9.4 K/9 with a career best 1.2 BB/9 right now too. Norberto’s line meanwhile is an ugly one: 81.00 ERA, the walk and the home run allowed in his third of an inning makes the FIP an astronomical 50.95.
  • 6:09PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Nice play by Pennington, playing behind second with the shift on for Gonzalez. Went almost to a normal shortstop position then threw across. Great stretch by Barton to get Gonzalez out.
  • 6:15PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Anthony Recker comes in and gets a single up the middle, as this game is out of hand, might as well give Zuk the rest of the night off. Also with Inge now, I imagine the A’s can get creative and use him in case of emergency behind the plate. The Red Sox also make a defensive replacement putting former Athletics trade target Lars Anderson into left field.
  • 6:25PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Weeks draws a walk after a full count. Bases are loaded for the A’s to at least score a few runs and make this respectable.
  • 6:26PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Crisp gets a single off of the glove of a diving Gonzalez. Recker and Pennington score. A’s trail 11-3.
  • 6:27PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Welcome back to Boston Reddick! Home run to deep right field on a low hanging curveball from Buchholz that ends up in the A’s bullpen. Buchholz is mad and storms off the mound as Bobby Valentine goes to retrieve the ball as a new pitcher is due in for the BoSox. A’s still trail but the score is now 11-6.
  • 6:29PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – New Red Sox pitcher: Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa, a native of Yokohama, Japan, is a righty, who owns a 0.00 ERA and 5.7 K/9 and is yet to allow a walk or home run making his FIP 2.16.
  • 6:34PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Cespedes singles. A’s rally continues. Sure enough the A’s manage a big rally in a game when they trail by this much but don’t in games that are a lot closer.
  • 6:36PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Smith gets hit by a pitch right in the right hamstring. That’ll bruise. Vicente Padilla is working in the bullpen as Recker walks to the plate for the second time in the inning.
  • 6:39PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – What an awful game this is. Recker pops it up up the third base line in front of the mound. Tazawa just points up, catcher Kelly Shoppach comes out, Nick Punto comes in and Punto drops it. That ends Tazawa’s night as everyone is safe and the bases are loaded again. New pitcher looks to be Padilla who has thrown eight and two-thirds innings this year, with 10.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 2.1 HR/9 for an ugly 8.31 ERA and still subpar 4.68 FIP.
  • 6:45PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 out – I am a frequent defender of Barton. But there is no defending his not swinging on that pitch. Right down the middle strike three. Not to mention the 2-0 pitch down the middle was itching to be hit too. Padilla strikes him out. Pathetic at bat. Bases are loaded, you have the other team on the ropes as much as you can down five runs and you let that go. Inexcusable.
  • 6:48PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Jim Miller comes into this game for the A’s. He is the alleged longman, so it’ll be interesting to see if he just takes the next two innings in this one. Miller has thrown two and a third innings this year getting a 3.86 ERA and 6.80 FIP in the process (largely because the lone run he has allowed came on a home run).
  • 6:57PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – First pitch from Scott Atchison is hit into center field for Inge. His slash line .333/.500/.333 is infinitely better than the  .122/.153/.207 slash line of the former third basemen. Atchison enters the game with 12 innings this year of 8.3 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 baseball. Good numbers for him thus far with a 2.25 ERA and 2.70 FIP.
  • 6:58PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Pennington with a hit. The A’s are keeping as much pressure as a team down five can keep on.
  • 7:00PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Weeks walks to again load the bases for the A’s. Four pitch walk for Weeks there. What a sloppy game. Can’t stand games like this (this sentiment is gone of course. if the A’s should find themselves winners). I much prefer a quick well pitched 2-1 type game.
  • 7:03PM PDT – Top of 8th, 1 out – Crisp strikes out, but now Valentine wants to change pitchers with Reddick due up. New pitcher is set to be Franklin Morales. Valentine is playing the matchup as Morales is a lefty. Morales has thrown seven and two thirds innings, getting 8.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 while keeping everyone in the yard so far this year owning a 4.70 ERA but much better 2.68 FIP.
  • 7:10PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Morales goes 3-2 to Reddick before getting to ground it up the middle for an inning ending double play. Amazing getting out of that bases loaded no one out mess for the Red Sox unscathed. Pretty bad on the side of the A’s though. Need to score something there.
  • 7:18PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Really? Intentionally walking Gonzalez following the Pedroia double? I think this is a little overmanaging here. One inning, five run deficit. But, that is what Miller and Suzuki (or more likely Bob Melvin) have decided to do, so they will face Anderson.
  • 7:25PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Ryan Sweeney comes in as a defensive replacement, which moves McDonald back to left field in place of Anderson. New pitcher on the mound too, Alfredo Aceves. Aceves has been the Red Sox closer and has not looked good at all: 12.00 ERA, 6.61 FIP fueled by a scary 7.5 BB/9.
  • 7:28PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Great pitch to get Cespedes looking from Aceves. The curveball looking like it would hit Cespedes before it broke and landed square in the strikezone. Nice sweeping curve and Cespedes watched it right into Shoppach’s glove. Nothing anyone could do there.
  • 7:31PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Recker didn’t miss a home run by much. But gets a double high off the Green Monster in left.
  • Top of 9th, 3 out – Pop up to Punto on the mound to end it for Barton. A’s lose 11-6.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hungary4A'sNews permalink
    May 1, 2012 6:32 am

    Totally agree with your bases-juiced analysis of bat on shoulder Barton…Wonder why Kila was not pinch hitting (do you know why not).

    Extra laughs everytime I read the Inge, up to the second comparisons to the 3rd base options. I am not a stat guy BUT you nailed it for all those *smal sample size* over-analysts…TOO FUNNY!

    • May 1, 2012 1:37 pm

      As you know, I am a supporter of Barton – though at times I question why – and wouldn’t have pinch hit there, but the 2-0 pitch and the 2-2 pitch, just no excuse not to swing on either.

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