Recap: Astros @ A’s Game 16
Wrap: Oakland 7, Houston 5. A’s 12-4 (1st Place, 2 games ahead)
The A’s certainly like playing the Houston Astros as they complete their second sweep of them within a month. This game was put in the A’s win column early with a six run first inning. Try as they might to give it away later the A’s hung on. 7-5 ballgames aren’t offensive juggernaut games that produce eye-popping offensive totals. Likewise they are far from pitching rich performances and this game was basically about that. Everyone played mediocre ball and at the end of the day the A’s well less mediocre.
First inning is where all the hitting took place in this ballgame. Jaso doubled, Young singled, Smith singled, Lowrie walked, Reddick doubled, Norris walked, Sogard singled, and Peterson walked in the frame for five hits and two walks. In the other seven innings they went to the plate the A’s would add six more hits and four more walks. Smith had the biggest day on offense going 3-for-5 to bump his slash line up to .447/.512/.684 with a .506 wOBA and 238 wRC+ in 43 trips to the plate. Jaso and Lowrie both joined him by having multi-hit games. Overall the team hit 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position with Donaldson in particular stranding runners left and right. Donaldson also again ground into a double play which brings his annual total to a club high six which is also twice as many as second place in the American League (nice when your eyes say to you that this a guy who has grounded out a lot and that the stats match what you’ve watched).
Colon did what Colon does. He put together an under-the-radar solid outing that earned a W. Six innings, allowing an earned run on four hits, walking no one and striking out just three. Despite the bizarre peripherals, 4.7 K/9, 0.0 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9 they all add up to a solid 3.40 FIP to accompany his 3.32 ERA. Yet… it is worth nothing that after 19 innings pitched and three starts he is still second on the club in WAR among pitchers to Dan Straily (with 0.6) whose spot in the rotation Colon snagged upon his return. So together that “five spot” has been worth 1.0 WAR better than the other four starting pitchers combined. Resop had a messy outing going just 2/3s of an inning and during that time allowing three earned runs on four hits including a Carlos Pena home run. Cook relieved him striking out three of the five hitters he faced before yielding to Balfour who surrendered a home run to Rick Ankiel but otherwise shut the door on the Astros preserving the victory.
As I said this was a mediocre game full of mediocre performances. One did stand out that of Cook. Cook came in with two men on and then Marwin Gonzalez and Jose Altuve stole third and second base respectively. Cook then K’d Justin Maxwell to end that threat and preserve a 7-4 lead. Coming out to pitch the eighth, he allowed a double to Jason Castro before K’ing Chris Carter and Pena before the inning ended with a J.D. Martinez fly out. All in all Cook kept Oakland in this game when the wheels seemed about to come off.