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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rangers Game 78

June 29, 2012

A.J. Griffin has quite the test in his second MLB start tonight as he faces the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The Rangers counter on the mound with Matt Harrison. Harrison has thrown 97 1/3 innings this year with 5.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 with a 3.24 ERA and 3.57 FIP. The A’s lineup today has some interesting names in it. Jonny Gomes is in right field, hitting fourth, meanwhile Derek Norris DH’s and hits sixth which to me is indicative even more so of Kurt Suzuki‘s days being numbered on this team as they are getting him lots of playing time since he came up which while it is what the A’s should do, isn’t always the sort of thing that they have done. Also in the lineup tonight are Chris Carter getting the start at first and Brandon Hicks gets the start at shortstop.

  • 5:22PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – What a curveball there from Griffin to freeze Elvis Andrus after K’ing Ian Kinsler swinging.
  • 5:24PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Wow. Intimidated? Not at all. Strikes out the side. Kinsler, Andrus and Josh Hamilton. No slouches there.
  • 5:29PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Quick inning for Harrison and the Rangers there. Carter with a weak swing on the second pitch to pop it out to shallow right field. This is the sort of swing that has been so infuriating to me. The just waving at it sort of look.
  • 5:38PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – David Murphy draws a walk to load up the bases. Not such a great second inning here. Still, Mike Napoli is a good candidate for a double play so there is a shot to get out of it without any damage. Griffin needs to show some moxie here.
  • 5:40PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 2 out – Big curve again K’s Napoli. Leonys Martin isn’t as formidable an opponent as the others in this lineup.
  • 5:57PM PDT – Top of 4th, 0 out – Leadoff triple for Jemile Weeks. Sort of strange there, gets into the gap in left field between Martin and Hamilton and Weeks get a triple out of it. Didn’t think it looked like a triple off the bat.
  • 5:58PM PDT – Top of 4th, 0 out – Single for Yoenis Cespedes scores Weeks. A’s up 1-0.
  • 6:18PM PDT – Top of 5th, 0 out – Wow. Close pitch there. But Carter secures a walk. Something going here with Norris on via the single, Carter on with the walk no one out. Need to score some more runs. A one run lead is tough to hold up against this offense.
  • 6:24PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Base hit Coco Crisp! A’s up 2-0. Nice work here for the A’s.
  • 6:26PM PDT – Top of 5th, 3 out – Nelson Cruz chases down the deep drive to right center off the bat of Weeks. Inning over. Harrison isn’t looking terrible in this one despite not having the lead. Five innings pitched, 85 pitches, 54 pitches for him.
  • 6:33PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 3 out – Eleven straight set down by Griffin. Five innings, just one hit allowed, two walks, four K’s on 93 pitches, 57 for strikes. Wonder if he comes out to pitch in the sixth?
  • 6:56PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Jerry Blevins comes into the game to replace Griffin who has had his night conclude after a great outing. Six shutout innings, two hits, two walks and four strikeouts on 109 pitches, 67 for strikes. Blevins comes in with a 2.59 ERA and 4.21 FIP on7.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 in 31 1/3 innings of work.
  • 7:01PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 1 out – Blevins hits Craig Gentry with a pitch. Bad start here for the A’s looking at holding this lead… two men on. Just one out. Good DP candidate in Napoli up again…
  • 7:07PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 3 out – A’s get out of it. Hold the lead…
  • 7:17PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Grant Balfour in as the set up guy. Interesting that he really just seems to excel in this role but struggle in the closing role. Six outs to go and Balfour brings his 2.61 ERA and 3.69 FIP on 7.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 in 38 innings to get the first three of them out.
  • 7:29PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Michael Young walks. Bases are loaded. So much for nice clean solid set-up…
  • 7:33PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – And he loses the handle on Nelson Cruz and his third walk, walks home a run. Rangers cut the lead in half 2-1. Ryan Cook comes out for the four out save. Tough spot to get into here. Gentry due up. 16 shutdowns, 2 meltdowns, but with 5.6 BB/9, really tough spot in particular for someone like Cook.
  • 7:37PM PDT  Bottom of 8th, 2 out – And there it goes… triple for Gentry. Three runs score. Rangers lead 4-2. Meltdown official. Balfour on the hook for the loss. Sucks that Griffin loses a shot at a win here, he earned it. Really that was the fault of Cespedes there. Bad route to the ball made it easy for the speedy Gentry to end up at third. Not entirely Cook’s fault, though not a cut and dry play for Cespedes either.
  • 7:41PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Tanner Scheppers in for Texas. Eight and two-thirds innings on the year for him with a 9.35 ERA and 4.68 FIP. Not really the guy I’d put in to hold a two run lead, but maybe Ron Washington just didn’t have time to get anyone else loose? No shutdowns, one meltdown on the year for him. But 2.1 HR/9 so maybe the A’s can strike quick.
  • 7:45PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Carter with a dinger to left! Top of the fence Hamilton looks up, but whatever looks ten rows deep in the box score tomorrow. Too little, too late? 4-3 Rangers. It’ll all come down to pinch-hitter Seth Smith. Nice swing though from Carter, looks like he just poked it and the ball took off.
  • 7:47PM PDT – Top of 9th, 3 out – Game over. Rangers win.
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