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Live Blogging: A’s @ Tigers Game 4 ALDS

October 8, 2013

We got back to the TBS crew which is a shame as I really enjoyed yesterday’s. Let’s see if they return to the tired narratives they’ve had before. It seems today’s will be Detroit’s stagnant offense and I am sure we will hear about that four billion times from these three. The A’s really need to jump out early Doug Fister in this one. While I don’t want to see Max Scherzer (the thought of Justin Verlander in a Game Five is sort of scarier than the thought of Scherzer), I think Dan Straily and the bullpen (especially with extended use options like Brett Anderson) can hold back Detroit if Oakland gets an early lead. So here goes! Let’s Go Oakland!

2:08PM PDT – Top of 1st, 0 out – Those shadows look brutal right now. First few innings will be an advantage pitcher it seems. But no big deal for Coco Crisp who goes opposite field off of Fister and ends up on third with a lead off triple. That was Jhonny Peralta aided with that by not fielding it as well as perhaps a normal left fielder would. A’s need to score Crisp here. No excuse at all not to.

2:11PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Josh Donaldson flies out to Torii Hunter in right who double clutches before throwing home, up the first base line, a ball Alex Avila dropped. But Coco didn’t go. Not sure why. Hunter’s arm isn’t like Josh Reddick‘s arm and despite that Coco has some wheels.

2:13PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Finally for Jed Lowrie. Came in 0-for-12 but took a pitch and drove it opposite field into the hole between short and third to plate Coco and give the A’s their first run and a 1-0 lead.

2:17PM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Valiant effort by Miguel Cabrera on the first foul ball to the third base side but no cigar. Second time was the charm as Moss fouled out closer to the line and Cabrera was able to corral it for the inning’s second out.

2:20PM PDT – Top of 1st, 3 out – Ground out from Yoenis Cespedes to end the top half. Good to see Oakland with a lead. I really want to see 1-2-3 innings out of Straily who I just don’t feel comfortable with on the mound. This is of course his first postseason appearance and while that was also true of Sonny Gray, Gray just seems to exude confidence on the hill whereas Straily just doesn’t seem to have that mojo to me at this point in his career.

2:25PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 1 out – Can’t complain with that start as Straily K’s Austin Jackson. If Coco has been a spark plug for the A’s offense, Jackson has been a flat tire for the Tigers’. 1-for-12 with a double, walk and eight strikeouts. Straily can really take advantage of that shadow right now.

2:26PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – Back to back strikeouts for Straily as he gets Torii swinging and then Stephen Vogt throws to second to complete the out. Good start.

2:27PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Fly out to the warning track in right field as Straily gets past the dangerous Cabrera. Ten pitch inning with seven of the pitches strikes. Nice start. I feel he needed a 1-2-3 inning to start. That said, that is garbage analysis. Any pitcher can use a 1-2-3 inning at any time, but it is just with some you feel they don’t have to be so perfect and can get some wiggle room and I just don’t see Straily as that guy right now.

2:31PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 0 out – Seth Smith gets the second inning off with a leadoff single straight up the middle. Another good start, getting the pitcher on his heels. Yesterday the A’s did a very good job of that getting the lead runner on base in the first four innings.

2:32PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 0 out – Wild pitch from Fister sends Smith into scoring position at second.

2:33PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 1 out – Good job by Reddick to hit it to the right side and get Smith over to third on the groundout. A’s need to plate Smith somehow. Can’t leave guys stranded on third with less than two outs and hope to win.

2:35PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Vogt does not get the job done. Breaks his bat hits it strangely into the space between Avila and Fister and Smith can’t score and Vogt is out. Big play for Detroit, big opportunity wasted by the A’s.

2:37PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Eric Sogard draws a walk and the Tigers’ pitching coach Jeff Jones comes out to chat with Fister. Nice to see at the very least these laborious, unclean innings.

2:41PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Coco drives it to the track in right field where Hunter settles under it. Looked good for a second there and Hunter seemed to awkwardly circle under it a bit, but alas ball met glove inning over. 50 pitches for Fister in his first two innings (30 are strikes). This is interesting just in the sense that I worry that the A’s knock Fister out not via getting to him but perhaps due to a high pitch count. Then they get the joy of facing Scherzer. Sort of a dangerous high wire act. You want them to work counts and such but you need them to score also, or you hold a one run lead with a very difficult pitcher opposing you.

2:44PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 0 out – Prince Fielder gets nicked on the elbow by Straily. Benches remain whatever the opposite of cleared is. Full? Obvious no intention to do so in a 1-0 ballgame to the leadoff hitter, who has done nothing to “deserve” being hit.

2:46PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – Straily really does look good. Nasty slider to get Victor Martinez swinging for out number one. Great movement on his pitches today, though Fister is getting good movement too. Shadows are out of play now. It’s been that way for a little bit, I just noticed it now. Entire infield in the shade.

2:47PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 3 out – 5-4-3 inning ending double play! Peralta’s being in for offense not panning out through one at bat today. Good quick inning for Straily who is in stark comparison to Fister just at a ridiculously efficient 19 pitches.

2:51PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 0 out – Why didn’t the A’s do this the other day. Bunt single down the third base line. Cabrera rumbles in. Can’t get Donaldson in time. Coco should have been doing this for a while. Buck Martinez is arguing he has reaggravated his injury. Don’t want someone to be injured but that certainly would benefit the A’s if true. Another leadoff runner for the A’s.

2:52PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 2 out – Big play for Detroit to negate Donaldson’s craftiness. Good play by Fielder to start the 3-6-1 double play. Good play by Fister too really there as Lowrie grounds into the double play.

2:54PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 3 out – Moss down on strikes. Eight pitch inning for Fister which he really needed. That double play was a big one. Lowrie really is not on the ball thus far in this series. Of course these things happen over the course of the season but my god how they magnify themselves in the postseason.

2:57PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 1 out – Like seeing Straily get out to leads starting Avila out 0-2 before he grounds out. Makes such a huge difference. Ground out ends it for the first out.

3:00PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 2 out – Sure, I say that then he gets behind Omar Infante. Regardless, Infante flies out to Reddick in right field and the inning is over.

3:01PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 3 out – Another efficient inning on the hill for Straily who has faced the minimum through three. Just 18 outs to go as he gets Jose Iglesias to ground out to first base. Still only at 31 pitches, so averaging a hair over 10 each inning.

3:05PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Iglesias is really a special defensive player. Tough hop, really great throw to get Cespedes. He has it all, the glove, the arm, the instinct. Really fun to watch as a fan of the game. I think Cespedes is probably safe with another shortstop there. Also, it is good to see Cespedes completely running full speed after he loafed one yesterday afternoon.

3:07PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – Smith grounds out to Prince Fielder. 61.5% GB% in the ballgame for Fister thus far.

3:08PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – Double for Reddick to center to keep the fourth inning alive and keep Fister from an issue-free inning. Nice to see his bat starting to show signs of life. Really enjoyed watching him launch a home run yesterday. If he could play anywhere near like he played last year he could be a huge piece in an otherwise sort of weak bottom part of the lineup.

3:09PM PDT – Top of 4th, 3 out – Vogt grounds out to the pitcher again. Nice play by Fister to end the inning and any A’s threat.

3:13PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Another strikeout for Jackson. Straily is looking great, better than I’d have expected with four K’s already.

3:14PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Hunter grounds out to third base. Donaldson over to Moss. Quick two outs.

3:15PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 3 out – Crisp doesn’t even have to move as Cabrera flies out. A’s pitchers have done a good job handling Cabrera who is now 3-for-14 (.214/.214/.214) with a K.

3:19 PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Sogard pulls a Sogard as one second baseman grounds out to another. I still wish it was Alberto Callaspo getting the start. I don’t think the A’s lose enough defensively to negatively offset the offensive gains, particularly with Callaspo’s familiarity and success against Fister.

3:20PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Coco with another hit a single just in front of Jackson. Would be nice to see him get into Fister’s head and use his speed to get Fister further off track and score some runs.

3:22PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Line out from Donaldson to Jackson for the second out of the inning. Crisp can’t move anywhere and remains on first.

3:24PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Redeemed thyself? Lowrie hits it to right field. Hunter kept running and running, he leaped and unlike a decade ago Hunter can’t steal it. That ball just carried and carried. Two-run home run just out of reach of Hunter’s outstretched arm. A’s up 3-0!

3:25PM PDT – Top of 5th, 3 out – Inning over as Moss flies out to Jackson to end the inning. Solid lead for the A’s as the Tigers presently are averaging just two runs a ballgame in this series – less if you wanted to count this as a half game. A’s in a good spot here. Straily has stepped up.

3:29PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 0 out – Fielder reached for that but it plunks down in front of Cespedes. Martinez says a stupid “singles won’t get it done for Detroit, they need to find the gaps and hit it out of the ballpark”. Yeah because like ten singles right now would just be disastrous. No runs have ever scored via singles. Ugh. I get his point, but like right now if I am a Detroit fan I am like, wow a baserunner. There isn’t ever a time I’d complain about a leadoff baserunner.

3:31PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 0 out – Martinez hits it between Sogard and Moss for a single into right. 1st and 2nd now for the Tigers. Little bit of adversity for Straily. A double play would be big with the lead-footed Peralta due up. A triple play would be better.

3:34PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 0 out – Maybe Jim Leyland was onto something. That was a no doubter. Valiant effort by Cespedes but that was a fat pitch and Peralta hit it a long way. This game is tied.

3:37PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – Good to get a strikeout there as Avila goes down swinging.

3:38PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 2 out – Infante flies out to Reddick in right. Back to back outs. Seems like Straily has recovered. Meanwhile, Scherzer is not up in the bullpen but Drew Smyly is for the Tigers.

3:39PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 3 out – Weak pop out for Iglesias to Moss. Inning done. Different ballgame witht he score tied.

3:44PM PDT – Top of 6th, 1 out – Ruh-roh, it seems like Scherzer may be stretching.  Nice play by Cabrera to backhand it and throw over to Fielder to nab Cespedes. Fister seems settled in. That Lowrie HR looked like a fly out that was wind aided.

3:46PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Smith grounds out. Fielder to Fister. GB% is down a bit from earlier but still great at 54.5% for Fister. That is just slightly higher than his season mark of 54.3%.

3:47PM PDT – Top of 6th, 3 out – If I am Leyland I would not go with Scherzer. I have long been a fan of Fister but he has been pitching very well. A rocky first, and then a bad pitch to Lowrie, otherwise a very solid outing. Another ground out. Reddick to Infante. Infante to Fielder. Inning over. Fister has been pitching well under pressure though, because this is the first 1-2-3 inning for him all afternoon.

3:51PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Jackson is doing everything he can to send the A’s to the ALCS. Hat trick for him as he goes down a third time on strikes, this time looking.

3:53PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 2 out – Second strikeout of the game for Hunter, seventh strikeout of the game for Straily. Still a good outing. One really bad pitch is all that separates him from a shutout right now.

3:54PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 2 out – Single for Cabrera into left field. Better a single than a home run that lands in Canada. This marks the 28th straight postseason game that Cabrera has reached base which is an MLB record. That is pretty impressive. Who knew?

3:56PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 3 out – Another strikeout. Number eight for Straily as Fielder goes down hacking.

3:58PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Fister’s day is done. Six innings, three earned runs on seven hits including the Lowrie HR, one walk and just one strikeout. Interestingly, I thought the outing wasn’t so terrible but the numbers don’t make it at all pretty: 4.50 ERA, 5.38 FIP. But a good 56.5% ground ball rate. The new pitcher for the Tigers will indeed be Scherzer. I don’t know that I would do this if I were Leyland, their bullpen doesn’t seem to be that sketchy after all Jose Alvarez did a great job yesterday and this means no Scherzer in a possible Game Five. Scherzer’s last bullpen outing came way back on August 31, 2008 when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. For what it was worth in his nine relief appearances he had a 2.37 ERA (4.03 FIP) with 8.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9 in 19 innings.

4:01PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Base hit for Vogt up the middle. Sogard better bunt him over and test Cabrera. No excuses.

4:02PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – He tested Fielder instead, but Sogie gets it down. Sacrifice and Vogt is at second.

4:06PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – Dare I say it? The sacrifice bunt worked! I wanted a sacrifice! It happened! It panned out! The world as we know it is off its axis. Coco with a hit right up the middle. Scherzer is tagged for a run as Vogt scores from second uncontested. The A’s are back up at 4-3.

4:10PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Donaldson grounds out to third and Cabrera gets the lead runner at second but no more.

4:11PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 out – Straight up the chute. Lowrie fouls out to Avila. Inning over. A’s lead! I suppose Straily’s day is done. It’ll be interesting to see as we head into the stretch. Nine outs to go.

4:13PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Sean Doolittle is in for the A’s. Doolittle has appeared in two games this postseason. He has faced ten hitters, striking out four while walking one. He has yet to allow a hit.

4:15PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Home run for Martinez. Second pitch from Doolittle. Both Crisp and Reddick are arguing interference but it doesn’t look like anyone is paying it any attention. Bob Melvin however is coming out so we might get a second look.

4:16PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – It really looks like Reddick might have been able to get that. The fan certainly got in the way. This could be interesting.

4:18PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Umpires say home run. Tie game again. Can one really have definitive proof in this sort of situation? Probably not.

4:19PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Peralta laces it down the left field line past Donaldson. Double. Wheels seem like they may be coming off for Doolittle.

4:22PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 1 out – Joaquin Benoit is warming for the Tigers (a little presumptuous) , but in the interim Doolittle recovers and strikes out Avila. Seemed silly for Leyland to ask him to attempt a bunt against a guy like Doolittle. But with two foul offs attempt the bunt, it was clear he would be swinging and Doolittle sets him down.

4:24PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Sharp line drive for Infante to center but straight at Coco. No advance possible for Andy Dirks (pinch running for Peralta) which is all fine and dandy.

4:26PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Doolittle not looking so hot, walks Iglesias.

4:29PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Jackson comes through. Redemption for him. Broken bat single just in front of Reddick who nearly gets to it. Dirks scores from second. Tigers up 5-4 late. Melvin is making a move and dumping Doolittle. Nothing good to say of his outing, just two thirds of an inning, allows two earned runs on three hits including the VMart home run, walking one and striking out one. He had Jackson down 0-2 and lost him.

4:31PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – The new A’s pitcher will be Dan Otero who has just been great this postseason (granted, same could be said of Doolittle) with three innings and a third innings, allowing two hits, walking no one and striking out one in his two appearances.

4:33PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 3 out – Otero K’s Hunter but the damage is done. A 4-3 lead now a 5-4 deficit. A’s have six outs to work with which is more than enough time.

4:38PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Moss draws a leadoff walk off of Scherzer. Meanwhile Leyland keeps Cabrera in at third. Don’t get why the TBS crew is surprised by this as Leyland has picked offense over defense all along.

4:40PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Cespedes didn’t have trouble with Scherzer in Game One. Doesn’t have trouble with him here as the ball gets past Hunter in right field before he bobbles it making it second and third with no one out.

4:41PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Interesting decision. Smyly looks to be coming in to face the three lefties (though I have to think there’ll be at least one pinch hitter in there for Vogt) and Scherzer is intentionally walking Smith to bring those three to the plate.

4:42PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Even more interesting. Scherzer is set to face Reddick not Smyly. I don’t get why the Tigers would be so concerned with Derek Norris (presumed pinch hitter for Vogt) but Leyland likes Scherzer/Reddick more than Smyly/Norris.

4:45PM PDT – Top of 8th, 1 out – Ouch. Nasty change up down and in fools Reddick and sets him down on strikes. That was a tough pitch and would have been a game tying walk as it was out of the zone.

4:48PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Wow. Strikeout of Vogt. A’s can’t load the bases with no one out and get nothing. Callaspo will pinch hit for Sogard (thank goodness).

4:53PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Callaspo nearly ripped one into the left field corner. But after getting the count to full, Callaspo lines out to Jackson in center field. Wow. That was just incredible. I wonder if Leyland just sticks with Scherzer in the ninth? I’d choose him over Benoit if I were him.

4:55PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Ryan Cook makes his ALDS debut. Callaspo takes over at second. Cook this year threw 67 1/3 innings for the A’s putting up 9.0 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and 0.3 HR/9 for a 2.54 ERA and 2.74 FIP.

4:57PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 1 out – 3-0 count and Cabrera saves Cook with a groundout to Donaldson.

4:59PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Straight down the middle and Prince watches it for strike three. Nice pitch to freeze him.

5:00PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Martinez keeps giving A’s fans reasons not to like him and a single here off Cook doesn’t do anything to earn him any favor with A’s fans.

5:04PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Dirks draws a walk. Leyland looking to add on pinch runs with Hernan Perez. Cook is out of the ballgame and Anderson is being sent in to get the A’s out of this mess. On the year Anderson has made five starts in 16 appearances. Out of the pen this year he has thrown 21 innings of 9.4 K/9. 3.4 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 baseball for a 4.71 ERA and 3.33 FIP.

5:09PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – The A’s are getting into a mess as quickly as the Tigers got out of one. Five pitch walk to Avila. Bases juiced.

5:10PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Tigers add on the insurance run. Tigers 6, A’s 4. Perez gets home from third on the wild pitch from Anderson.

5:11PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – And the rout is on. Double by Infante into the left field corner drives in two. Tigers 8, A’s 4. Closes the book on Cook, two thirds of an inning, two runs (both earned) on one hit, one walk, one K.

5:12PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 3 out – Iglesias strikes out and the inning mercifully is over.

5:15PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Benoit in. Benoit got the four out save in Game One. Faced four hitters and K’d three of them.

5:16PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Base hit into right field from Coco. Great day for him fourth hit.

5:19PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Donaldson K’s. Down to their final two outs.

5:21PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Benoit now walks Lowrie. Game is at least becoming a little bit more interesting.

5:25PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Moss grounds out to first base. Fielder just goes to the bag so Crisp and Lowrie advance to second and third.

5:26PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Cespedes comes through again. Takes the fastball and puts it right back where it came from with a hit up the middle. Good enough to plate Crisp and Lowrie and close the gap to Detroit 8, Oakland 6. Tying run will be up in Seth Smith. Frustrating that if Cook could have got out of that inning A’s would be in the driver’s seat.

5:28PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Defensive indifference allows Cespedes to second.

5:33PM PDT – Top of 9th, 3 out – Took eight pitches but Smith finally breaks and strikes out. The series goes back to Oakland.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    October 9, 2013 1:16 am

    I noticed Benoit kept rubbing his forehead and then the baseball almost after every pitch. It might have just been sweat but the ball sure would take a dive on some of those pitches he threw. I hate to see Donaldson come up here lately, he swings at everything. The only time he seemed to lay off was when the ball was extremely out of the zone or in the dirt. Also what is with the close ups all the freaking time? I know what these guys look like and who is who, I swear you can almost see the facial hair growing day to day with all these close ups.

    • October 9, 2013 6:07 pm

      I didn’t notice that with Benoit but will have to check it out. I imagine given the playoffs the Melvin wasn’t concerned since they check for that sort of things in routine games it’d be quite a big deal if he went for it in the playoffs – that said I think Kenny Rogers with Detroit was accused of that in 2006 if I recall correctly. Donaldson has been swinging quite freely, my biggest issue really is Sogard starting over Callaspo.

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