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Recap: A’s @ Astros Game 6

April 6, 2013

Wrap: Oakland 6, Houston 3. A’s 4-2 (1st Place, 1/2 game ahead)

Bartolo Colon made his long awaited debut. I am not thrilled at all with his return and while he got the win and one shouldn’t complain when one gets a win and pitches alright, he is pitching against the Houston Astros and allowed eight hits (including a Jason Castro home run) in six innings and while he walked none he struck out just two. Not particularly impressive against such a weak club. But the A’s again capitalize with a big inning aided by a defensive error at shortstop this one credited to Ronny Cedeno. A’s take first place for the first time all season.

The Bats

Lineup vs. Bud NorrisCoco Crisp CF, Jed Lowrie SS, Josh Reddick RF, Yoenis Cespedes LF, Seth Smith DH, Brandon Moss 1B, Josh Donaldson 3B, Derek Norris C, Eric Sogard 2B.

Coco had his second home run in as many nights working a full-count into a home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field off of Norris, he’d also add a double later in the game. Lot of extra base hits for him early this year and among starters his slugging percentage of .692 is second best. The A’s were in the hole entering the sixth inning, down 3-1 care of a Castro three run blast. Lowrie continued his hot hitting getting his second home run of the year and his second hit of the game to close the gap to 3-2. Later in the inning Reddick would get on base via a Cedeno error, after Norris gets two outs, that free baserunner would come back to haunt the Astros as Moss would be walked. Donaldson then would single home Reddick to tie it before Bo Porter would elect to put Wesley Wright into the game. Back-to-back singles from Norris and Sogard would plate Moss and Donaldson to give Oakland a 5-3 lead. A late Smith home run off of Dallas Keuchel would cap the A’s 6-3 win. The team hit a solid 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

The Pitching

Appearances: Colon, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, Grant Balfour.

As I mentioned earlier I really was not impressed by Colon’s outing of 83 pitches with 58 for strikes. Yes, the Astros are an MLB team. Yes, they will have good days (and can three runs and a loss be considered a good day?) but this is a team that has struck out in double digits every trip out there. While one cannot and should not expect that every time out, my criticism of Colon probably lies mostly in the fact that last night Dan Straily struck out 11 of these Astros, and he was just replaced by a pitcher who could only throw six innings and get two of them. Straily had one outing where he earned 0.6 WAR, Colon had one where he earned 0.0. Straily’s whiff rate: 24.5%, Colon’s: 6.0%. So yeah. Unimpressed. Doolittle meanwhile did not manage to K any Astros in his perfect inning, though both Cook and Balfour in their perfect innings would manage one each. Nice to see the bullpen three in Doolittle, Cook and Balfour do what they should be doing, turning games into six inning affairs for the opposition.

Hero/Zero

The hero is Lowrie who is quickly making my liking that trade look like solid prognostication on my part. Though Lowrie did not turn the tide in this one he had a 3-for-5 day and struck out just once while homering. On the season Lowrie has undoubtedly been the A’s MVP (does anyone even remember Hiroyuki Nakajima right now?) with a .476/.560/.952 slash line .619 wOBA and 309 wRC+ for 0.8 WAR.

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