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Recap: A’s @ Rays Game 17

April 19, 2013

Wrap: Tampa Bay 8, Oakland 3. A’s 12-5 (1st Place, 1 1/2 games ahead)

The A’s hit the road for the second time this season and as was bound to happen lost a game in the comfy concrete confines of Tropicana Field. The greater loss however could be A’s starter Brett Anderson who left with a sprained ankle after putting the A’s in a position to lose after just one inning of work. It is unclear as of right now how long he might be missing and if he will be able to make his next scheduled start. That said the bullpen now had to throw seven innings of work which is a taxing load at the beginning of a six-game road trip through Florida and Boston. The ramifications therefore may reverberate far beyond this one start.

The Bats

Lineup vs. Alex Cobb: Coco Crisp CF, John Jaso C, Seth Smith DH, Jed Lowrie SS, Brandon Moss 1B, Chris Young LF, Josh Reddick RF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Eric Sogard 2B.

I still don’t like this Josh Reddick hitting seventh crap. Sure, again he had another miserable day going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts leaving two runners stranded in scoring position with two outs. And yes, this does bring his miserable 2013 to a .109/.236/.217 slash line with a .216 wOBA and 34 wRC+. Yes, despite positive numbers on defense and baserunning he still has a -0.2 WAR. But this is a guy you are building your franchise around and you don’t let 55 impossibly atrocious plate appearances get in the way and drop him down and shutter him away. Not exactly like Chris Young is lighting the world on fire himself (.179/.281/.357) and yes in the end it doesn’t really make much of a difference in the long run what order people hit, but I just want to say I disagree with Reddick batting so low. The A’s real problem in this game was just not taking advantage of any of the opportunities they gave themselves. Whereas Tampa Bay went 7-for-12 with runners in scoring position the A’s only went 2-for-12 and consequently the A’s 11 hits and three walks turned into three runs whereas the Rays’ 10 hits and four walks turned into eight for the home nine. But the A’s also just did stupid things like limiting a rally with poor baserunning by Moss in the first being caught with too wide a turn off of first. Things like that add up and in a game like this prevent you from being able to win. Coco meanwhile got his fifth homer, his torrid start still giving him an incredible .414 ISO and .759 slugging percentage.

The Pitching

Appearances: Anderson, Evan Scribner, Jerry Blevins, Pat Neshek, Chris Resop.

Anderson was miserable. He might’ve felt the stuff was there, Bob Melvin might’ve felt the stuff was there, but in the end he allowed four earned runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out one in his lone inning of work. Scribner came in and did an admirable job throwing three innings but there was little relief in his relief pitching as in his three innings of work he too allowed four earned runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one, the big difference being one of his hits was a home run surrendered to Evan Longoria. Blevins, Neshek and Resop all did was what was asked of them and put in strong performances. Blevins in particular has been very good in the early going, being worth 0.4 WAR backed by a 0.93 ERA that actually is higher than his 0.88 FIP care of stellar peripherals: 11.2 K/9, 0.9 BB/9 and 0.0 HR/9 in nine and two-thirds innings. He has been the real deal and has quietly played a very outsized role in the A’s bullpen this April.

Hero/Zero

There are several candidates in this. I hesitate to give it to Scribner because despite being terrible he did go three innings which is so valuable in and of itself. I hesitate to give it to Anderson because yeah he had an awful inning that put the A’s in the hole but he left due to injury unable to pick himself up. I am going to give the zero to Reddick. Reddick needs to hit better. Reddick struck out swinging to Cobb with a man on to end the fourth. In the sixth with Cobb still on the hill he strikes out swinging to end the inning with Lowrie on second and Moss on first. Then in the eighth he grounds out to end the inning again with Lowrie on second and Moss on first. Yes he is hitting in the seventh spot today but Reddick is a five-spot type hitter who needs to produce when given these opportunities and today he failed to do so repeatedly.

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