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Recap: A’s @ Angels Game 8

April 9, 2013

Wrap: Oakland 9, Los Angeles 5. A’s 6-2 (1st Place (tie))

The homer happy A’s kept themselves afloat atop the American League standings with their sixth straight win, this one coming in the confines of Orange County. The game was a see-saw affair with the A’s jumping to an early 4-0 lead, eventually falling to 5-4 before a five run top of the seventh to give everyone the final score of 9-5. Jarrod Parker looked awful, the bats looked great, a new recipe for the A’s as MLB.com pointed out.

The Bats

Lineup vs. C.J. WilsonCoco Crisp CF, Chris Young RF,  Jed Lowrie SS, Yoenis Cespedes LF, Derek Norris C, Josh Donaldson 3B, Brandon Moss 1B, Nate Freiman DH, Scott Sizemore 2B.

I found it interesting that with such an overwhelmingly right-handed lineup that a frequently platooned player such as Moss found himself inserted in things. But so much for that because he went 3-for-4 with a home run including 2-for-3 against Wilson (his home run came off of righty Kevin Jepsen). Coco added his fourth home run of the young season, which is just nuts as through eight games he has four home runs, whereas last year it took him to his 68th game (the team’s 97th) at Toronto on July 25th when he had two home runs to reach four. He is now up to .343/.395/.829 with a .486 BABIP. He also notched his first stolen base off of Jepsen and Chris Iannetta. John Jaso who came in to replace Norris also launched his first home run of the season again victimizing Jepsen who had a forgettable night drawing the loss in 1/3 of an inning of four earned run, three hit (including two dingers), one walk baseball. Cespedes looked to bounce out of his early season slump as he went 2-for-3 with two walks. A’s hit 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position but really relied on the long ball which was responsible for six of their runs. Sizemore left the game with an injury to his knee that cost him the 2012 season and was replaced by Eric Sogard.

The Pitching

Appearances: Parker, Chris Resop, Pat Neshek, Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Grant Balfour.

Parker looked terrible for his second straight start going three and a third, throwing 74 pitches, and miraculously allowing just two runs (both earned) while surrendering nine hits, and three walks – to just one K. The season is still very young but Parker thus far is worth -0.1 WAR and has pitched about as bad as he looks with a 6.48 ERA and 6.72 FIP backed by just 2.2 K/9, 6.5 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 in his eight and a third innings. He is a key piece for this team to move forward and his early struggles hopefully are just early ones, because otherwise this is exact evidence of the concern I had with relying on so many pitchers with such limited MLB experience. While my concern was greater with Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin, Parker thus far has proven to be the one who doesn’t look up to snuff following a weak spring too (7.45 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 2.3 HR/9). That said, last season I credited Parker with not sort of cracking under pressure and in the first inning his strikeout of Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded and then inning ending double play that he induced out of Mark Trumbo to get out of it unscathed was impressive. While Resop, Cook, Doolittle and Balfour looked sharp coming out of the bullpen another concerning A’s pitcher is Neshek who again struggled failing to retire a batter though it was far from his fault. He allowed a triple to Mike Trout to lead off the sixth, then Young dropped a sac fly by Brendan Harris (he really looked like he was lollygagging it) and then Albert Pujols got on base due to a Lowrie error with both of them coming around to score. So three runs were tagged to Neshek though just one was earned before Bob Melvin pulled him in lieu of Blevins who allowed Ryan and Pujols to score. Neshek has looked bad with a 10.80 ERA and his FIP of 6.12 doesn’t really do him any favors either.

Hero/Zero

I think I have to go with Moss here honorable mention to Resop and Cook who pitched an inning and two-thirds of relief each which is huge when your starter can’t give you much of anything. Moss just had a great game, he beat the platoon and drove in four runs which was the margin of victory (though his home run just added to the A’s lead whereas Jaso’s gave the A’s the lead). Good effort from several guys tonight.

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