It’s good to be home. It was really fun battering Texas and all, but it’s good to be home. This homestand is nine games long, so let’s make the most of it. Due to anticipation of Hurricane Irene on Sunday, we’re playing a doubleheader today, so we get two days off before the Yankees come to town. I’ll take that tradeoff.
Apparently it’s not so great for Wake to be home. Actually, he’s still stuck on win number 199, so rather than it not being great for him to be home, I don’t think it made any difference. The only pitcher who’s taken longer to reach his two hundredth win was Steve Carlton. It took him eight tries to get there.
I think we would have been able to deal with the fact that he again didn’t get it done if it weren’t for the fact that he was absolutely pummeled. He was great in the first and great in the third, and he lost all control of the second, and especially the fourth, when the A’s touched him for six runs. He only lasted four innings and in that time managed to give up eight runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out three. It was his shortest start of the season, and it could not have come at a worse time because we need the bullpen fresh for today’s doubleheader. But here’s the kicker. Only four of his runs were earned. With two out in the fourth, Salty passed a ball that would have been an unassuming third strike to end the inning. Instead, the inning continued, and the A’s put up four more runs. It was just painful to watch. Sometimes he threw the knuckleball so well that you wondered how anybody could possibly read the pitch, and sometimes he threw it so badly that you wondered how anybody could possibly not read it. Wake didn’t have it, and on top of that this passed ball ruined everything.
We’re going to need these off days to rest up the bullpen because it worked overtime last night. Atchison, who was recalled, gave up one run in three innings. Albers came on in the eighth and allowed four runs on four hits in that inning alone. And then McDonald – yes, as in Darnell McDonald – came in to pitch the ninth. It was interesting, to say the least. In the first pitching appearance of his career, he got his fastball up to ninety miles per hour but allowed two runs of his own. Tito had no other choice; with a doubleheader today, he had to keep the bullpen as fresh as possible.
Ellsbury led off the bottom of the first with a double. He stole third, and Gonzalez brought him home with a single. Obviously that one-run lead did not last. We didn’t score again until the fourth, when Pedroia and Papi led off the inning with back-to-back jacks. Both pitches were fastballs. Pedroia took his to left, and Papi took his to center. Both home runs were moon shots. Pedroia’s ball bounced off the top of the billboard on the Monster. Papi’s ball bounced into the bullpen just to the right of the Triangle. Ellsbury led off the fifth with a triple and scored on a groundout by Scutaro. Lastly, in the bottom of the ninth, Reddick doubled in our final run.
We collected eleven hits to their sixteen. But six of ours were for extra bases, compared with ten of theirs. We left eleven on base and went two for ten with runners in scoring position; they left eight on base and went nine for twenty with runners in scoring position. Hence the final score of 15-5. It was painful. I guess now we know how the Rangers feel. Slugfests are bitter medicine indeed.