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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rays Game 28

May 5, 2012

A former Cy Young Award winner in Bartolo Colon takes on a potential future winner and last year’s American League Rookie of the Year in Jeremy Hellickson. In six starts so far this season, Colon has a 2.53 ERA and 3.09 FIP. Strikeouts for him are lower than usual (5.5 K/9) but in a positive way so are the walks (1.3 BB/9) and home runs (0.6 HR/9). Hellickson meanwhile, has five starts over which he has pitched 32 1/3 innings of 5.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9 unimpressive peripherals that add up to a 4.80 FIP. However his ERA is just 2.51 aided by a very low BABIP of .227. But while normally this would cause red flags, and is still worth monitoring, for Hellickson it is his M.O. as last year he had a 2.95 ERA to go with a 4.44 FIP and a .223 BABIP. In very limited action in 2010 that also held true though to a lesser extent with a 3.47 ERA, 3.88 FIP and .267 BABIP. A’s stack the LHBs against the righty Hellickson as Kila Ka’aihue and Daric Barton get the starts playing designated hitter and first base respectively as does Seth Smith in left field.

  • 4:15PM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Josh Reddick takes another change up from Hellickson and sends it into the right field bleachers. Don’t get why they kept going changeup, changeup, changeup like that. Three straight. Sort of like rock-paper-scissors and trying to fool someone paper three times straight. Fine by me! Reddick puts the A’s up 1-0.
  • 4:22PM PDT – Top of 1st, 3 out – Smith strikes out looking on the 3-2 pitch. Tough call. That pitch by any measure looked low. Jose Molina was bringing pitches up for his pitcher but no way that one was a strike. Ouch.
  • 4:29PM PDT – Bottom of 1st 2, out – Stupid shift gives Carlos Pena a hit. A squibber down to where a normally placed third baseman could easily make the play but Brandon Inge had to run from well out of position and Pena was safe without much doubt. Anyone who reads this know I am no fan of the shift and want guys to purposefully hit them as Pena did just there just to keep the defense honest.
  • 4:39PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – It’ll look like a line drive tomorrow in the box score. Barton hits it and it looks like it hit the roof, or a cable or something and changed direction and that tricked Will Rhymes and the ball drops in the infield. Strange single, but a single nonetheless.
  • 4:55PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 0 out – Really like how Cliff Pennington runs hard like that. I think this is why he is a manager’s favorite kind of guy. When I got to meet and interview Pennington, Brandon McCarthy and manager Bob Melvin, I got the impression that Pennington is one of these guys who is considered by teammates to be a hard worker, who “does things the right way” etc. That play to me where he sees (or perhaps just hears) that Ben Zobrist misplays the ball, then takes the extra base is a great play. Good leading by example to younger players on this team.
  • 5:04PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 2 out – Bloop single by Ka’aihue finds a hole in the outfield, that scores Pennington from third and allows Smith (on board with a two-out walk) to get to second. A’s lead 2-0 care of the Zobrist miscue and hard-running of Pennington.
  • 5:10PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 0 out – 3-1 pitch and Colon serves one up to Elliot Johnson for his first home run of the year. Rays cut the lead in half 2-1. That pitch had way too much of the plate.
  • 5:17PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 1 out – Four pitch walk issued to Pena. Some control problems here in the third. Now with the walk to Pena, that moves Desmond Jennings on via a single to second.
  • 5:33PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – This game is just moving at a snail’s pace with both Hellickson and Colon somewhat slow methodical workers. Play of the game so far, ball boy protecting the Rays bullpen (where J.P. Howell is up and throwing as Hellickson’s pitch count grows out of control) snags a liner from Pennington inches away from the bullpen catcher. Nice grab.
  • 5:36PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – Hellickson walks Pennington and he is out. Howell comes in. Not a great outing for Hellickson at all, pitch count got him, though the five hits and three walks didn’t help either. Howell comes in with eight and two-thirds innings under his belt in 2012, he has a 2.08 ERA, 2.74 FIP care of a great 10.4 K/9, so-so 4.2 BB/9 and not allowing a single home run all year.
  • 5:39PM PDT  – Top of 4th, 2 out – The lefty Howell was to set down to the lefty Reddick but didn’t work that way as he singles and singles home Barton to give the A’s a 3-1 lead.
  • 5:44PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, o out – Zobrist with a dinger to deep right-center field, Colon is not his sharpest either in this matchup, makes it 3-2 in favor of the A’s. Sort of a see-saw game here as the A’ s score and the Rays quickly answer.
  • 5:48PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Back-to-back hits for Johnson and Jennings and Melvin has Jordan Norberto throwing in the pen for the A’s. Looks to be a burgeoning battle of the bullpens.
  • 5:58PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 0 out – A blast by Pena on the first pitch of the fifth inning and he did not get cheated as that was several rows behind the entryway out there in the right field bleachers. No doubter. Game is tied at three. Third solo blast surrendered by Colon for the ballgame, too much of the middle of the plate again.
  • 6:15PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 0 out – Norberto comes out to relieve Colon. Colon goes just five innings, using 83 pitches to allow three runs (all earned and all on solo home runs), on eight hits, with two walks and two K’s. Not a game that FIP will take kindly to and that number is a sloppy: 11.17 for the game. Norberto has thrown 11 innings with 6.6 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 for a 4.91 ERA and 4.34 FIP.
  • 6:17PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 3 out – Seven pitch inning for Norberto including a three-pitch strike out of Molina to lead it off. Impressive.
  • 6:20PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Great outing for Howell who goes two and a third innings allowing one hit and striking out one. He is replaced by a fellow southpaw Jake McGee. Seven and two-thirds innings for McGee thus far, with 12.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 having yet to allow a round-tripper. He owns a solid 2.35 ERA and even better 1.28 FIP.
  • 6:26PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Melvin opts to play the platoon splits. Jonny Gomes pinch hits for Smith against McGee trying to get Reddick home from third. But, the Rays decide screw that, and will put Gomes on to face Ka’aihue.
  • 6:29PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 out – Ka’aihue bounces out to Zobrist. Inning over.
  • 6:42PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – New pitcher for the Rays is Burke Badenhop. Badenhop has pitched in eleven games, throwing 12 innings of 6.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 2.3 HR/9 for a messy 6.00 ERA and equally messy 5.89 FIP.
  • 6:43PM PDT – Top of 8th, 1 out – Three hit night for Barton. Nice work there. One of them of course being that gift hit off the roof or cabling or catwalks, but a hit nonetheless.
  • 6:46PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Sort of surprising but Joe Maddon opts to just use Badenhop for two outs and with Jemile Weeks up he brings in the Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney. Rodney who has historically been wild and crazy and all-round awful at times has been very good this year in his 12 1/3 innings of work. He has 8.8 K/9 and a very low for him (and for pitchers in general) 1.5 BB/9 with no home runs allowed for a 0.73 ERA and 1.76 FIP. Tough stuff.
  • 6:51PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – A’s go to their eighth inning guy here in the eighth inning as Ryan Cook takes the hill. Cook has 12 1/3 innings in 2012 with 9.5 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9. He has an incredible .083 BABIP, and has yet to allow a run his FIP sitting a more realistic 2.57.
  • 7:05PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Rodney sets the A’s down in the top half and Melvin has elected to stick with Cook in the bottom half with Jeff Keppinger (pinch-hittng), Johnson and Jennings due up.
  • 7:07PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 1 out – After a bloop single for Keppinger, Johnson sacrifices him over to second. Winning run in scoring position, top of the order set to come up. Cook has worked himself out of plenty of jams so far this year so what is another here?
  • 7:11PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – Hanging slider, B.J. Upton hits it deep into the gap but Reddick comes down with it. Cook is none too pleased with himself but he gets out of the inning and that’s all that matters in this one. Onto extras! Three extra-inning games for Oakland this year and they have a 2-1 record in those games. Like the way the bullpen has been used today, much better than a lot of these other ones where it seems we are just burning through pitcher after pitcher inning after inning.
  • 7:14PM PDT – Top of 10th, 0 out – Brandon Gomes comes out to pitch. He pitched in yesterday’s game and got into a world of trouble surrendering a home run to Pennington and then eventually being pulled despite a five run Rays lead.
  • 7:16PM PDT – Top of 10th, 0 out – Four-pitch walk from Gomes to Gomes, and then Ka’aihue gets a ball to begin his at bat.
  • 7:17PM PDT – Top of 10th, 1 out – Don’t like the idea of having Ka’aihue bunt. The strategy is sound but he is not the guy to be doing that. If you want to bunt there make that decision having faith in your team and replace Ka’aihue. But good point brought up by Ray Fosse that Gomes could’ve had an easy double play as Ka’aihue stopped running the second it went in the air.
  • 7:20PM PDT – Top of 10th, 1 out – Gomes goes 3-0 on Kurt Suzuki, came back to 3-2 and then plunked him on the right forearm. He has been getting battered out there. Winning run moves up to second for the A’s, with Zuk now being the insurance run on first.
  • 7:24PM PDT – Top of 10th, 1 out – Four pitch walk to Pennington now to load the bases. The A’s need to get to Gomes. If they don’t they deserve to lose this game. 17 pitches, 13 balls so far for Gomes.
  • 7:27PM PDT – Top of 10th, 2 out – Big strikeout for Gomes as Inge swings through ball three to K…
  • 7:28PM PDT – Top of 10th, 3 out – A’s deserve to lose this one. They do not score. Weeks grounds out and ends the inning.
  • 7:31PM PDT – Bottom of 10th, 0 out – Brian Fuentes is out to start the tenth. He faces Pena (L), Matt Joyce (L) and Luke Scott (L). Like this usage – a lot. Fuentes has 7.2 K/9, 0.9 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 across 10 innings of work for a 2.97 FIP despite a higher 4.50 ERA.
  • 7:34PM PDT – Bottom of 10th, 1 out – Gomes is underrated as a fielder. He doesn’t make it look nice but he gets it done. Opposite field from Pena, near out of there Gomes leaps and doesn’t save a home run, but saves a double or even more.
  • 7:37PM PDT – Bottom of 10th, 2 out – Chopper for Scott to Weeks that jumps up and then throws over to second to get the lead runner Joyce on board via a HBP. Don’t know how I feel about that level of aggressiveness, risky play but given that it was completed without incident I suppose I won’t complain.
  • 7:38PM PDT – Bottom of 10th, 3 out – Catcher’s interference leads to the third out of the inning. Take it any way you can get it. Zobrist leaned well over the plate following his swing and good call right there.
  • 7:43PM PDT – Top of 11th, 1 out – Pathetic play by the Rays there. Reddick pops it right up. Chris Gimenez (the new catcher, replacing Keppinger the pinch-hitter who replaced Molina) looks up and can’t find it and his third basemen Sean Rodriguez and pitcher both just look up as Gimenez throws his hands up. Gomes even goes as far as to point up which seemed quite self-evident already. Ball drops, big opportunity to take advantage of a renewed chance at the plate.
  • 7:48PM PDT – Top of 11th, 3 out – 1-2-3 inning for Gomes. Wasn’t pretty at all. I wouldn’t feel confident in him if I were rooting for the Rays here. Blame still goes to the A’s, that top of the 10th was a golden opportunity and it is inexcusable to have passed it up.
  • 7:53PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 0 out – Rodriguez popped it up into shallow right field. Barton and Weeks go back, nearly collide. Ball drops in. Bad play all around. Weeks’ ball. Needs to yell louder or something to make sure Barton gets out of there. Now, no outs, winning run in scoring position.
  • 7:55PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 1 out – Gimenez sacrifices, great bunt from him. Good bare-hand throw from Inge to get him at first. Winning runner is on third base, one out. Johnson is up, wouldn’t be surprised if there were a squeeze here.
  • 7:58PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 2 out – The squeeze was on. Johnson waited until there were two strikes to do it. Fuentes and Suzuki had a pitchout on anyhow. Johnson bunts it foul, strikeout, two outs. Wild.
  • 8:00PM PDT – Bottom of 11th, 3 out – Got to give credit to Fuentes there. Great innings recovering from his fielders’ miscue. Jennings flies out to center field and we go to the twelfth.
  • 8:03PM PDT – Top of 12th, 0 out – New pitcher for Tampa Bay is Joel Peralta. He earned the save in yesterday’s game with his one out of work. This will be an American League leading 16th appearance for him.
  • 8:05PM PDT – Top of 12th, o out – Home run Gomes! A’s get a 4-3 lead! I really like Gomes. Really liking him a lot, as he adds some attitude and personalty to what was a bit of a dry club last season.
  • 8:08PM PDT – Top of 12th, 1 out – A ball hit to the exact same location to where Rodriguez hit it. This time Suzuki hits it and Zobrist and Joyce nearly collide, though it seemed that Joyce was calling him off. Ball pops out of Joyce’s glove so the A’s can tack on here as Grant Balfour warms in the bullpen. The Rays also have a pitcher throwing in the bullpen, their last remaining available pitcher: Wade Davis.
  • 8:17PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 0 out – Out comes Balfour who has had a tough go of it lately. Balfour has thrown 13 1/3 innings, with 7.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and the big problem for him 2.0 HR/9 giving him a bad 5.37 FIP, with a slightly better 4.73 ERA. His shutdown to meltdown ratio is a not very good 5:3. He needs to shut down the top of the Rays order with 2-3-4 hitters Upton, Pena and Joyce not an easy task.
  • 8:19PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 0 out – Here we go again? Upton singles to left field.
  • 8:23PM PDT – Bottom of 12th, 3 out – 3-0 pitch, Joyce is swinging, grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Wow. What a strange game! Go A’s!
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