Recap: Rangers @ A’s Game 40
Wrap: Oakland 5, Texas 1. A’s 20-20 (2nd Place, 5 games back)
It has been awhile since the A’s faced the Rangers and the last time they did it was pretty good times as the A’s won the American League West on the last day of the season while Josh Hamilton and his glove sat and watched them celebrate. Flash forward a year forward and the A’s now just stand at .500 five games behind the visiting Rangers and 2012 Wild Card team. However regardless of their place in the standings, the A’s yet again are victorious with a good outing from both the offense and defense which was a bit unique as Yoenis Cespedes left the game with a stomach issue pressing Brandon Moss into center field duties. Anyhow, 40 games is the point where you’ve completed basically a quarter of the season and everything starts to sort itself out and you can truly assess where you stand. At 20-20 and at .500 that seems about right for this team, which I figured was not more than a few games better than .500 at best. Granted with all the injuries, this team could conceivably be better than they’ve played so that is why they still play the remaining 122 games.
The A’s had a big second inning with three singles and a walk that gave them a 2-1 lead they never gave up. The next inning Oakland got back-to-back dingers from Cespedes and Moss in the bottom of the third inning to give them a 4-1 lead. A Norris double in the sixth would plate the fifth and final run. It was an interesting way to put together runs on the day as the A’s failed miserably with runners in scoring position (2-for-8) yet ultimately got enough runs to win the game. Jaso was the only A’s hitter with multiple hits (2-for-4 with an RBI and two K’s).
Griffin looked great. 108 pitches, 72 for strikes net him seven innings of one run (a Mitch Moreland home run the lone mistake), six hit, no walk, eight K baseball. Great outing. The peripherals on the year (6.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9) are moving closer to last season’s (7.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9) for Griffin which is a good sign, as he has been successful despite the decline with his FIP swelling to 4.33 this season from 2012’s 3.85. Doolittle and Cook, two requisite guys to pitch when Oakland is ahead, pitched with Doolittle throwing a perfect inning with three K’s ending the inning with three straight fastballs looking to Craig Gentry.
Griffin pitched a hell of a game or helluva for those who prefer that spelling. Either way he was great and fully earned any plaudits he received for the outing. If he continues to pitch like this and impress, and I am growing in my level of appreciation of him, the A’s could have a frontline type pitcher on their hands.