Posts Tagged ‘Oakland A’s’

Brandon Workman, ladies and gentlemen! He was so close! He was so close; he had the no-hitter in the bag.  Except for the fact that he had about a third of the game to go, and he just couldn’t hold onto it.  And anytime you see a pitcher, especially someone who doesn’t get regular starting time, take a no-no bid deep and then lose it, it’s crushing.  It’s always crushing.  Six innings is a really long time to not allow any hits.  But in the end, we just couldn’t hold on.

We first scored in the sixth.  Ellsbury, Nava, and Pedroia hit back-to-back-to-back singles that resulted in one run.  Carp led off the seventh with a double and scored on a single by Holt.

Meanwhile, Brandon Workman was six innings into a no-hitter bid.  It was huge.  His walk in the fourth was the only thing not making it a bid for a perfect game.  He was solid gold for six full innings.  It was amazing.  When Buchholz pitched his no-no, he was a young kid new to the big show too.  It was an amazing thing to watch.  He faced the minimum through six and just plowed right through the A’s like they had never played a game of baseball before.  They just couldn’t figure him out.

And then Coco Crisp, of all people, singled on the fifth pitch of the seventh.  It was crushing.  Taking a no-hitter bid into the seventh is really exceptional, but they say that no-hitter bids can be won or lost in the seventh.  I guess the A’s had seen enough of Workman to figure him out, but it was a shame.  He looked like he had their number the entire time; there was no situation in which he was not in complete control of the ballgame.  And then one single changed that completely.

One out later, he gave up a two-run home run that tied the game, and Breslow came in.  Neither team scored in the eighth, or the ninth or tenth, which Uehara pitched.  We had the bases loaded in the eleventh with two out thanks to two walks and a hit batsman, but Holt struck out looking.

Matt Thornton came in for the bottom of the eleventh, and he didn’t do a bad job.  It’s just that the eleventh inning with a tie game is not exactly the greatest time to make a mistake.  And make a mistake he did.  He issued a walk, and two outs later, he issued another walk, and then two pitches later, he gave up an RBI single.

So the final score was 3-2.  We put up a good fight, but I just can’t believe we had the bases loaded the very inning in which we lost the game and did nothing with that opportunity.

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Make no mistake, folks.  We did not just play the Oakland A’s.  We played the Green Sox.  I know I’ve said this before, but every once in a while I just wonder at how true it is.  Every so often, we notice that there’s a particular team that absorbs several guys who used to play for us.  There was a time in the recent past when the Dodgers could be thought of as the Blue Sox.  The A’s now fit that bill.

This was kind of a quiet one.  No big heroics.  No extra-inning comebacks.  Just grinding through.  We seem to be doing a lot of that lately.

We scored first and put the A’s in an early two-run hole.  Napoli singled and moved to second on a throwing error.  Nava got hit.  Salty’s flyout put both runners in scoring position.  Iglesias flied out.  And both runners scored on Holt’s single; the associated throwing error was a nice touch.

Unfortunately, there weren’t that many scoring chances after that, and the ones we did have weren’t maximized.  Which is unfortunate because Lackey, who sailed pretty smoothly through four, allowed the A’s to score in the fifth and tie it in the sixth.  First he gave up a run thanks to a single-double combination.  Then he gave up a leadoff solo shot to, of all people, Jed Lowrie.

The rest of the time, as usual of late Lackey was fantastic.  He was weaving right through the batting order with no major trouble at all.  Those two runs were the only ones he relinquished, 

He left the game honored with the win.  We put it away in the eighth inning.  Iglesias singled, two outs later Victorino got hit, and both scored on a single by Pedroia.  Bailey pitched the eighth, Uehara pitched the ninth, and the final score was 4-2.

AP Photo

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Lester had one of his worst starts this year.  He only lasted five and two-thirds innings, and he gave up three runs on six hits while walking six and striking out only five.  This start pushed his ERA over 2.00; it’s now 2.27.

Lester gave up two walks and a single in the first.  He gave up another walk in the second.  He had a one-two-three third.  He gave up two singles and a home run in the fourth; that put us down by three.  He gave up another walk in the fifth.  He gave up a double, walk, and single while recording two strikeouts.  And then he was replaced by Tazawa, who recorded the final out of the sixth.

Objectively speaking, Lester’s start really wasn’t that bad.  He made one mistake, which resulted in the three-run home run.  Other than that, he was just very inefficient and didn’t have his usual control or command.  He had substantial trouble finding the strike zone, and his walks reduced his efficiency.  So that’s how stellar a pitcher he is.  There are pitchers out there whose best day doesn’t even come close to Lester’s start last night.

Tazawa secured the first two outs of the seventh and allowed a double followed by a single, which scored a run.  Miller then came in, finished the seventh.  Uehara came out for the eighth and gave up a solo shot before getting through the rest of the frame with flying colors.  Bailey had a fantastic ninth; three up, three down, all via the swinging strikeout.

The A’s scored in three innings: three runs in the fourth, one in the seventh, and one in the eighth.  We only scored in two innings, and we barely scored enough to compensate for the runs allowed by the relief corps.  But the fact is that we got through it, so we picked up the win.  Still, as long as the relief corps gives up runs late in the game, I will continue to make note of the fact that no good can come of it, win or no win.

Before and after the fourth and fifth, we had no scoring opportunities or rallies to speak of.  But those were some great innings.  It began modestly enough with a groundout by Pedroia.  Then Papi and Napoli hit back-to-back doubles that resulted in our first run.  Gomes walked but was out at second thanks to a force by Middlebrooks that still put runners at the corners.  In the end, it didn’t matter where anyone was standing; Drew hit a bases-clearing triple.  The frame ended with a strikeout by Ross.

Ellsbury led off the fifth with a single, stole second, and scored on a double by Victorino.  Pedroia singled, and runners were again at the corners; Victorino scored on a single by Papi.  After a pitching change, Napoli got hit to load the bases.  Nava came in to pinch-hit for Gomes and singled in Pedroia.  Then we went down in order.

Half of our ten hits were for extra bases.  Pedroia went two for five, Papi went two for four, and Nava was a perfect two for two.  Papi played an essential role in our rallies; it’s so good to have him back.  We also had two walks to our credit en route to a 6-5 win.

AP Photo

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It’s bad enough to allow your opposition to score runs.  It’s bad enough to allow your opposition to score a lot of runs.  It’s even worse to allow your opposition to score a lot of runs while you yourself score absolutely no runs.  But one of the worst scenarios is when you allow your opposition to score a lot of runs while you yourself score absolutely no runs because the opposing pitcher is someone who used to pitch for you and is somehow having a great day.

There are various teams in the majors that tend to absorb our players when we allow them to walk or when we trade them away.  Oakland has apparently become one of those teams.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Green Sox.

Bartolo Colon held us to zero runs.  Meanwhile, Aceves lasted less than four innings; he recorded the first run in the fourth and was taken out in favor of Steven Wright, but both should share in the blame. Aceves had a one-two-three first.  It was his first good inning.  He gave up a single and a walk in the second but didn’t give up any runs.  It was his last good inning.  Then he imploded.

Aceves issued a four-pitch walk to open the third.  He gave up a single to Coco Crisp and another walk to load the bases.  He then walked in the first run of the game; it would be the first of six that inning alone.  Yes, walking in a run was embarrassing but, in the grand scheme of how the game turned out, not nearly as embarrassing as how it would end.  Aceves finally recorded the inning’s first out but then gave up a single that scored two.  Then he balked, which put two runners in scoring position; a sac fly scored one, and a single by Josh Reddick scored the other and put him at second thanks to a throwing error by Aceves himself.  Then he balked again, which moved Reddick to third, and he scored on a throwing error.  The inning finally ended with a groundout.

Crisp grounded out to open the fourth, and then Aceves went right back to it.  He gave up a double and then a home run.  Then Jed Lowrie singled, and Wright came in, ending the inning on a double play.

Wright didn’t let any of his inherited runners score.  He just put his own runners on base and let them score.  He gave up a single to lead off the fifth, struck out Reddick, and issued two consecutive walks.  He then gave up a double to Crisp, which scored two, followed by a single, which scored two.  Then there was a passed ball, a fielder’s choice, and finally a flyout.

Wright issued two consecutive walks yet again to begin the sixth.  He gave up a double to Reddick that scored one and then send the A’s down in order.  Wright gave up two singles in the seventh but didn’t allow any runs.

And that’s as far as we got.  Rain prevented the playing of the game’s last two innings.  I at least would have wanted to see the contest through, but perhaps we’ll be able to draw on the extra rest to win a sorely needed contest at some point.  Baseball works in mysterious ways sometimes, but the outcome of this one, at least, was decisive.  We lost, thirteen-zip.  We had three hits and only one walk; we were 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and left four on base.  Pedroia, Salty, and Gomes were the ones who singled; nobody hit anything for extra bases.  Ellsbury was the one who walked.  Aceves took the loss.

In other news, the Flyers beat the Bruins, 5-2.

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Since our miniature spree, if you could even call it that, which I really don’t think you can, we added one more name to the list: Drew.  The other Drew.  We signed Stephen to a one-year deal worth $9.5 million.

His numbers last year were not that great.  He batted .223 with a .309 on-base percentage and hit seven home runs while batting in twenty-eight.  He only played in seventy-nine games; he broke his right ankle in 2011 and had all sorts of issues with it throughout last season.  He started the year in Arizona and ended it in Oakland, where he had an optimistic finish.  He’s an okay fielder; his fielding percentage last year was in the neighborhood of .970.  That’s lower than I’d like for a shortstop, which, as we all know, is probably the most challenging infield position defensively.

This means that Jose Iglesias won’t be our starting shortstop for next year, at least, in case you were wondering.

In other news, the 49ers beat the Pats, 41-34.

I’ll be taking a break for about a week and a half.  Hopefully we’ll have gotten some good, solid things going in that time.


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