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Live Blogging: Tigers @ A’s Game 35

May 13, 2012

Josh Donaldson gets the start at third! As most readers should know, I am a big fan and believer in Donaldson and am excited – though surprised – to see him get the start at third today against Justin Verlander, guess I didn’t know what I was talking about yesterday when I didn’t see how he gets playing time, but he hits sixth. On the hill for Oakland is Jarrod Parker. He has been stellar in his three starts, going 20 innings with 5.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9. That adds up to a lukewarm 3.75 FIP, but to me his 1.80 ERA is more indicative of how he has pitched as he has been fearless on the mound, not looking flustered when men are on base and working himself out of jams. Hopefully he keeps that up against a tough Detroit lineup. Along with Donaldson, the A’s lineup features Eric Sogard starting at second (not-surprising after Jemile Weeks‘ early departure last night) and Anthony Recker behind the dish. This sort of B Team is tasked with defeating Verlander who in typical Verlander fashion is having an amazing year third in the league in WAR (1.8), sporting a 2.62 ERA, 2.35 FIP, 8.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9 in his 51 1/3 innings.

  • 1:07PM PDT – Top of 1st, 0 out – Nice play by Donaldson there on a hard ground from Austin Jackson. Welcome back Josh!
  • 1:12PM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Parker gets Prince Fielder swinging. Big out. Rough series for Fielder. 0-for-14 now against A’s pitching.
  • 1:23PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Josh Reddick is struck out by Verlander. 16 pitch, 12 strike inning as he K’s Reddick and Pennington in the inning. Efficient.
  • 1:36PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Double steal is on as Parker K’s Ryan Raburn. Brennan Boesch gets to third, and Jhonny Peralta gets to second.
  • 1:43PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Jackson draws a walk, second walk of the inning. Parker has clearly not settled in yet with two sort of rough innings so far. Let’s see if he can work out of this jam.
  • 1:45PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Leaves them loaded as Parker gets Andy Dirks to pop up to Cliff Pennington in the middle of the infield.
  • 1:52PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 3 out – Good swing, but a fly out to center field for Donaldson in his first AB. Another really quick inning for Verlander, he tacks on another strikeout in the inning getting Seth Smith. 28 pitches, 20 strikes, consistent with where he was in the first.
  • 2:05PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 3 out – Perfect through three for Verlander. Four strikeouts on the game as this inning he sets down Recker on strikes. 42 pitches, 29 for strikes. Great outing for arguably baseball’s best pitcher, but Parker is matching zeros. Doesn’t matter if its with a little less finesse, a run is a run is a run.
  • 2:10PM PDT – Top of 4th, 3 out – 1-2-3 eight-pitch inning for Parker. Great work for him a possible future ace to match a current ace.
  • 2:17PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Reddick ends the perfect game/no-hitter with a bloop in front of Jackson.
  • 2:18PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Pickoff throw way over the head of Fielder goes all the way to the Tigers bullpen and Reddick races to third. Love the play of Reddick. Real aggressive, exciting ballplayer.
  • 2:20PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 3 out – 99 mph fastball with hair on it to K Jonny Gomes. High heat. 59 pitches, 40 strikes now for Verlander who despite the break up of the perfect game and no-hitter still looking very much on his game.
  • 2:28PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – If that throw from Recker was lower they’d probably have had Jackson. The high throw is impossible for Sogard to bring down and Jackson slides in safe on his sixth steal in six tries on the year.
  • 2:30PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Parker gets his fifth K, getting Dirks swinging. Great pitching to get back from down 3-0 to K him with Jackson on third care of the wild pitch, there was little wiggle room. This is the exact reason I have felt that though his FIP isn’t so hot, it is offset by his really strong and more indicative ERA.
  • 2:32PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – So much for that. Miguel Cabrera with a solid hit to score Jackson from third. Tigers up 1-0. Don’t want to let it get any more than that with Verlander on the mound.
  • 2:37PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, o out – Home run to deep right field for Seth Smith! Picks up Parker can evens it back at one.
  • 2:46PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Nice play by Sogard to steal a sure hit from Alex Avila. Not so sure how nice his new weird beard is…
  • 2:48PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Slicing liner from Boesch just eludes the outstretched arm of Collin Cowgill on the dive, but a nice play B. Smith to be there to back it up. That ball could’ve otherwise gone to the wall for a double. His throw was good but a few seconds too late to catch Boesch at second.
  • 2:55PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – 112 pitches and he walks two in a row with Peralta and Raburn and that’ll spell the end for Parker. Bob Melvin walks out to the mound and Grant Balfour in his new role as who knows what comes out to rescue Parker with the bases loaded. In 16 1/3 innings he has posted a 4.41 ERA with a 5.09 FIP with peripherals for 6.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a high 1.7 HR/9 despite a very low .239 BABIP. Balfour has six shutdowns but four meltdowns on the year.
  • 3:02PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Eight pitch at bat and Balfour loses Jackson and walks home a run. Tigers lead 2-1. That run is charged to Parker who now is on the hook for the loss.
  • 3:08 PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Great bunt from Sogard down the third base line. Cabrera ran got it and threw it over Prince and allegedly got Sogard. Replays make it look like Sogard was safe. Melvin is out to argue it. Chip Hale got thrown out earlier in the game for seemingly arguing balls and strikes, will Melvin get booted here? Who manages then? Hmm…
  • 3:16PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – Fielder is 0-for-16 this series in Oakland. But this series notwithstanding he is hitting .270/.345/.413 on the year with a .330 wOBA and 107 wRC+ and Melvin wants to play matchups so is going to Jordan Norberto the lefty to face him. Here is the thing: Norberto has a .302 wOBA vs. lefties, much higher than his .221 vs. righties. His FIP is slightly better versus lefties: 3.28 to 3.57 but not by much. The split is quite a bit more significant for Fielder 46 wRC+ versus lefties to 155 against righties so it must be that that Melvin is looking at.
  • 3:34PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 3 out – Verlander still rolling: seven innings pitched, just two hits allowed including the Smith home run, one walk, eight K’s. At 104 pitches don’t know that he will be out for the eighth, but would not be surprised at all if he is.
  • 3:43PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Joaquin Benoit comes out to pitch for Jim Leyland. He has a 3.29 ERA and a 1.93 FIP with an astounding 14.5 K/9 that somewhat offset his 6.6 BB/9.
  • 3:47PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 1 out – Sacrifice bunt from Recker puts Daric Barton on with a walk into scoring position with Sogard and Pennington due up to get him home and tie it.
  • 3:53PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 3 out – Pennington K’s and before him Sogard K’d too to strand Barton on second.
  • 3:54PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – New pitcher for the A’s is Pedro Figueroa. Figueroa hasn’t been used too much as he has been used so sporadically and in such low leverage situations so this is probably a bit more pressure than he is used to trying to keep it close. Figueroa has been a lot worse than he looks, he enters with a 1.50 ERA but a 6.12 FIP with 4.5 K/9, 6.0 BB/9 and 1.5 HR/9 in his six innings on the mound. He has been very lucky with a .154 BABIP and 100.0% strand rate.
  • 3:56PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Raburn nearly hits one out as he doubles off the wall over the first pitch Figueroa throws in this matchup. Inauspicious start for Figueroa.
  • 4:01PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Nice play by the A’s. Danny Worth, pinch-hitting for Dirks lays down the bunt to move everyone over, but the A’s put on the wheel play and Donaldson charges and throws back to Pennington to get the lead runner Raburn.
  • 4:04PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Cabrera with a single to left field scores Jackson from second. Tigers add on an insurance run and make it 3-1.
  • 4:08PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde comes out to shut it down he’ll face Cowgill, Reddick and Gomes. He has a 4.91 ERA with a 5.34 FIP so not what Tigers fans have grown to expect out of their eccentric closer. Six shutdowns and three meltdowns on the year as he has struggled with control (6.8 BB/9).
  • 4:17PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – A’s go down harmlessly and fall to the Tigers. Great pitching effort by Parker is wasted as he is outdueled by Verlander. Disappointing outing from Balfour again, and I didn’t like the call of using Figueroa there in such a tight spot. However, end of the day the A’s were simply out pitched and you deserve to lose any game in which you walk six. Likewise you also deserve to lose any game in which only yields two hits. A’s are down in Anaheim tomorrow and I am excited as I will be there live.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Don T permalink
    May 13, 2012 7:10 pm

    Not sure why you’re so high on Donaldson. Converting a catcher to a third baseman sounds like a stretch. Like so many A’s prospects, he’s performed well in the minors but done nothing at the MLB level where it counts. It’s still early and I hope you’re right. Why is Inge sitting today after doing so well recently? With over half of today’s starting line-up hitting well below the Mendoza Line, we need all the offensive help we can get.

    • May 13, 2012 7:22 pm

      I think Donaldson is athletic and he has proven to be a decent hitter before in the minors. Its funny you mention Inge specifically and question his not playing as Brandon Inge of course is a converted catcher to third basemen. There are lots of catchers converted to other positions who’ve done quite well, Bryce Harper, Craig Biggio, Carlos Delgado, Jayson Werth, Paul Konerko to name a few. I wouldn’t read too much into Inge’s not playing today, I figure it just was for normal rest.

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