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Recap: Astros @ A’s Game 14

April 15, 2013

Wrap: Oakland 11, Houston 2. A’s 10-4 (1st Place, 1 1/2 games ahead)

Jackie Robinson Day, better known in my neck of the woods as my birthday. The 32nd for those of your scoring at home. Tragedy struck today in Boston and hopefully the people and/or groups responsible are brought to justice. But as a nation it is good to see us not show our fear and still be able to enjoy things like baseball. Especially on a day when everyone honors the legacy of such a great American by wearing the #42 it is important to remember the fearlessness shown by Robinson in the face of insurmountable pressure and open hostility. Let his graciousness and his spirit be a reminder to all of us of what it means to be American and to not cower in the face of adversity. That’s why I am glad the games went on. Baseball allows us to heal and baseball also represents, much like the marathon itself, all that makes our country great. People competing from around the world, fans of different racial, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic groups joining together for common cause. This is America. And on this evening for my birthday, the team from a little slice of America on the eastern shores of San Francisco Bay went home winners.

The Bats

Lineup vs. Erik Bedard: Coco Crisp CF, Derek Norris C, Chris Young RF, Jed Lowrie SS, Josh Donaldson 3B, Brandon Moss 1B, Nate Freiman DH, Michael Taylor LF, Andy Parrino 2B.

This game had a very decidedly B-squad feel to it from Oakland. That said the B-bats brought their A-game. I cannot stand Young batting third. Not that that is an indictment against Young but when you have guys like Lowrie or Moss, there are even in this B-squad type game better ways to utilize Young if you ask me especially given after a 1-for-4 night (with a walk and a K) that he is hitting just .182/.294/.409 on the season with a .311 wOBA and 98 wRC+. Not exactly heart of the order type material. For a game where the A’s managed 11 runs, there aren’t too many real standout offensive performances. Only nine combined hits, it was the eight walk and timely hitting (5-for-11 with RISP) that really did Houston in. Freiman was but one example of timely hitting as with two men on he achieved his first MLB home run against Bedard to blow the game open to 6-0. Lowrie also had some timely hitting with a 2-for-4 night with a walk and four driven in with his single off of Xavier Cedeno in the seventh scoring two, as did his single an inning later off of Wesley Wright. Making his 2013 debut Taylor picked right up where he left off going 0-for-4, who along with Parrino were the only A’s starters who did not get a hit.

The Pitching

Appearances: Tommy Milone, Sean Doolittle, Pat Neshek, Grant Balfour.

Milone threw 101 pitches with 71 for strikes in his six and two-thirds innings of pitching. He allowed two earned runs, on eight hits, walking nobody and striking out six. Doolittle came in with Brandon Barnes on second and Jose Altuve on first and kept everything square by striking out Justin Maxwell. Otherwise while he still would’ve received the win, Milone’s outing would’ve looked decidedly more pedestrian. Neshek and Balfour came to get some work in the blowout win and both pitchers looked fine.

Hero/Zero

Freiman. Kid had his first MLB home run on the day his hometown is savaged by attacks. His home run really broke the game open for the A’s. While Lowrie’s numbers looked better in the end they were all of the add on variety. Frieman has been off to a tough start, a Rule V draft-pick he is going to be given a rather long leash but still it isn’t easy to make the jump from Double-A to MLB. He has hit the ball consistently well and just seems to hit into outs as his .176/.211/.353 slash line indicate but his .154 BABIP proves. The tough breaks ended for at least one bat Monday for Freiman tonight’s hero.

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