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Posts Tagged ‘Josh Reddick’

It was another mediocre start for Lester.  I guess his final line wasn’t that bad, but to have actually watched him pitch was to have actually watched him fight and grind and wrestle.  He just didn’t really look like any of it came easily to him.  Even when there were moments where the real Jon Lester emerged, it didn’t look easy and effortless, which is what it looks like when he’s in top form.

He was golden through four and took care not to get himself into any jams of note.  But he gave up a solo shot with two out in the fifth, and he gave up another run in the sixth thanks to a walk-single-single combination, and he gave up a third run in the seventh thanks to a single-walk-single combination; the run was batted in by, of all people Coco Crisp after Tazawa came on.  The runner who scored, in case you were wondering, was Josh Reddick.

Tazawa pitched the eighth, and we didn’t score in the ninth.  Just like we didn’t score when at any other time in the whole game.

We had two on in the first and sixth and one on in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings.  We didn’t score at all.  So we lost, three-zip.

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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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Grandiose tends to refer to something that is absurdly exaggerated.  If we’re talking about goodness, then yes, I would say that there were enough aspects of yesterday’s performance that were sufficiently full of goodness so as to warrant the description of grandiose.

Doubront had himself another decent start.  He left two outs into the seventh after giving up three runs on three hits while walking five and striking out eight.  He threw 113 pitches, sixty-seven of which were strikes.

Unfortunately, he gave up some runs to some familiar faces.  Jed Lowrie walked to start the second, moved to third on a double, and scored on a wild pitch.  Josh Reddick was at bat at the time, and he ended up singling in another run.  In the fifth, Doubront loaded the bases thanks to two walks and a single; one of those walks was issued to Coco Crisp, who thankfully didn’t end up scoring.  The best part of  that inning was the fact that Doubront escaped that situation after allowing only one run, which scored on a sac fly.

Mortensen came in for the rest of the seventh; although he did record the first out of the eighth, he also gave up a walk, hit a batter, and then gave up two consecutive doubles, the second to Lowrie, which scored three runs all told.  If Victorino hadn’t hauled in the second out out of the frame with a clutch catch, things may have ended differently.  Alex Wilson relieved Mortensen, walked a batter, and was replaced by Tazawa, who finished the inning.  Bailey pitched the ninth.

Thankfully, and I mean really thankfully, none of the interminable mess that was the pitching staff’s performance yesterday impacted us.  We scored so many runs that the six the A’s managed to eke out made absolutely no difference on the game’s outcome.

We went down in order and on twelve pitches in the first, which was by no means an indication of what was to follow.  Papi and Napoli hit back-to-back doubles which put us on the board, shrinking the deficit to one.  Ellsbury doubled in the third, but it didn’t amount to anything, and Oakland fans were probably getting comfortable.

After Papi struck out to lead off the fourth, Napoli got hit and Nava doubled.  Middlebrooks took both a curveball and a fastball for balls and made the hitter’s count, count.  He got a big mistake of a slider and rocketed the ball beyond the Monster on a straight shot out of the park.  The ball looked like it was in a big hurry; he crushed it.  And we were instantly up by two.

That sac fly in the top of the inning raised the deficit to three.  It would be our last stint behind.

Victorino opened the fifth with a single on his third pitch.  Pedroia reached on a force attempt on his fourth pitch.  Papi walked on five pitches to load the bases.  But Napoli needed only two pitches.  He took a curveball for a strike.  Then he got an eighty-nine mile-per-hour four-seam fastball that looked prime for one of his power displays.  And he delivered.  Over the Monster too, no less.

Except that you should probably remember that the bases were loaded at the time.  So, basically, Napoli hit a grand slam.

Let me repeat that.  Mike Napoli, with nobody out in the fifth inning, hit a grand slam on a four-seam fastball over the Green Monster in Fenway Park.  It was the fourth grand slam of his career and, as I always say with his mammoth power swings, it looked like it was a regular, run-of-the-mill swing while it was happening.  It was only after the ball began its far yet fast journey out of the park did you realize what had just happened.  It was awesomeness in one of its purest forms.  Oh, by the way, Napoli leads the American League in RBIs.

And we weren’t even done.  Nava reached on a fielding error, and then Middlebrooks popped right into a force out and scored on a double by Salty.  Then we were done.

The final score was 9-6.  It should have been nine to something much lower than six, preferably nine-zip.  The pitching staff, particularly the relievers, should not have given up all those runs or all those walks to begin with.  We were fortunate that we’d scored nine runs and could take it.  As we’ve seen recently, that’s not always the case.  But for now, at least, we can still celebrate.

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We lost again.  What else is new? Considering our season, what an appropriate way to usher in September.

Doubront only lasted three innings; he gave up five runs on six hits while walking two and striking out six.  His fourth pitch of the game was hit for a solo shot by Coco Crisp.  He got through the second inning alright but tanked in the third.  He gave up a single to Crisp and then a double, but Crisp was successfully thrown out at the plate, which was an awesome play to watch.  Then Doubront struck out Josh Reddick, but then he gave up an RBI single that may as well have been a triple because it was followed by two steals, and then he gave up a walk, and then he gave up a double that scored two and a single that scored one.

So Aceves came on for the fourth, fifth (when he gave up an RBI single), and sixth.  A note about Aceves: he and Pedroia had an argument in the dugout in the bottom of the fourth because Aceves got in Salty’s way of catching a popup and then dropped it and then made a bunch of pickoff attempts to second base, the last of which came when Pedroia wasn’t ready.  Third base coach Jerry Royster separated them.  Now, I wasn’t there, but I know that it’s nothing to be too shocked about.  The team is losing, the team is frustrated, and the team spends a lot of time together in the clubhouse.  Things like this are normal; it’s just surprising to outsiders because usually it happens behind closed doors.

Anyway, Bard gave up a solo shot on the fourth pitch of his appearance in the seventh.  Hill and Bailey combined to pitch the eighth.

Meanwhile, we were the victims of a bid for a perfect game through four.  Salty managed to finally eke out a single in the fifth.  It was a bunt single and the A’s fans were not happy, but you know what? That’s baseball.  Literally.  As in, players are trying to get on base.  And if the situation were reversed, we would be the unhappy ones and they would be saying that to us.

Then Lavarnway led off the sixth with a single but was out at second thanks to a force out by Ciriaco, who moved to second on a groundout by Ellsbury and scored on a single by Pedroia.  It was reasonable to hope that AJ Griffin would then unravel as so many do after losing perfect or no-no bids, but unfortunately he didn’t.  We went down in order in the seventh, Griffin’s last inning of th game, and in the eighth.  Ellsbury singled in the ninth but we went down in order after that.

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So…I mean…what? Did that actually happen? I mean, I saw it with my own eyes, myself, in real-time, and I still can not believe that it actually happened.  As it was happening, I couldn’t believe that it was happening.  It was the most absurd, embarrassing, humiliating, pathetic display of an excuse for baseball that I have seen in recent memory.  And given the season we’ve had, that says a ton.  I can’t believe it.  I really just can’t.  I don’t even want to talk about it, because I’m fully conscious of how incredibly awful and horrible and terrible and truly, extremely, exceptionally abysmal it was, and yet at the same time I just can’t believe it.

I’ll start with the offense, since unfortunately that provides the least to report.  Why couldn’t it have been a double slugfest so that at least we would have had something to show for the fact that we came to play?

We scored our first run in the fourth, when Salty hit a solo shot on his fourth pitch on a 1-2 count.  The first was a curveball, the second was a sinker, and then he got two cutters.  Both were around ninety miles per hour.  He fouled off the first one and then lit into the second one, pulverizing it into a home run out to right field.  We didn’t score again until the seventh, when with one out Ciriaco singled and Iglesias got hit; both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, and Ciriaco scored on a groundout by Gomez.

In the interest of painting the big picture, I’ll tell you what we did in all of the other innings: nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  We started the game with two back-to-back singles in the first, which amounted to nothing.  We hit two singles again in the second and in the sixth, which amounted to nothing.  We singled and walked in the eighth, which amounted to nothing.  And we went down in order in the third and the fifth and the ninth.

But our lack of offense was honestly the least of our problems yesterday, which can be summarized in one word: pitching.  Our pitching delivered a literally unspeakably horrifying performance.  Seriously, it was terrifying beyond words.  Our pitchers, who, the last time I checked, were indeed pitching in the Major Leagues, looked like a bunch of minor leaguers considering themselves lucky to throw pitches during batting practice.  That’s what it looked like.  It looked like the Oakland A’s were having themselves a fun and fruitful batting practice before an actual Major League game.  Honestly, I sincerely hope that our pitchers just lost the memo that said that it was actually a Major League game and not batting practice, because if that wasn’t the case, then the only other explanation for the painful and devastating humiliation we suffered last night would be that our pitchers are really just that bad.  And that’s a level of badness that, even with the kind of season we’ve been having, I really would never have actually thought we’d reach.

We sent out seven pitchers, so there goes the day off they had as a result of Lester’s complete game.  Only one of them did not allow any runs.  And only one of the six pitchers that did allow runs allowed only one run, and only one of the six pitchers that did allow runs did not allow a home run.

We’ll start with Cook, since he was the first one.  He took the loss, although technically the bullpen in its entirety deserved it more since collectively they gave up more than twice the amount of runs that he gave up.  He went one-two-three in the first, which at the time didn’t even provide that much false hope because it was easily observable that all three outs were hit well; still, even so, we could never have imagined at the conclusion of that inning the kind of implosion and devolution that was about to ensue.  He gave up a single to start the second and then allowed three straight scoring plays: an RBI double, an RBI single, and a two-run home run.  And then he ended the inning with three straight outs.  Cook began the third with a flyout and then allowed a double to Josh Reddick of all people.  He got another flyout and then gave up an RBI double which scored Reddick with a little help from a deflection by Iglesias, and then he gave up an RBI single.

That was when he was replaced by Tazawa, the one pitcher who didn’t allow any runs.  Tazawa got the final out of the third and pitched a beautiful one-two-three fourth.  Based on that performance alone as compared with what everyone else had to show for themselves, Tazawa should have been allowed not only to stay in the game but to pitch the entire game.  But no.  Aceves came on for the fifth; with two out, he hit a batter and then gave up a home run that plated two.  Bard came on for the sixth and gave up a solo shot with one out; he then gave up a single but managed to get out of the inning, so he’s the one, out of the pitchers who gave up runs, who gave up only one run.

Breslow came on for the seventh; he got Reddick to pop out but then gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases.  A fielding error by Gomez allowed a run to score by allowing a runner to reach on a force attempt.  And then Breslow allowed a single that plated two.  He was then replaced by Melancon, who allowed a double that plated one.  He then walked Coco Crisp of all people and then gave up an RBI single followed by one of the worst indignities a pitcher could ever suffer, a scoring play so devastating and complete that it broadcasts to the world not only the mistake that a pitcher made on that one pitch that started the scoring play but also all the mistakes that led to its being possible at all, a play so rare and elusive that we can only hope and dream for it when we need it most because it never really seems to come our way at the right time, a play so devastating that it causes nothing but shame and anger on the part of the pitcher who facilitated it: the grand slam.  Hit by – you guessed it – Reddick.

And then Padilla came on for the eighth; he opened the inning with a popout but then gave up a double followed by a home run.

All told, our pitching staff gave up only two walks but nineteen hits last night, five of which were doubles and five of which were home runs.  Cook gave up six runs, Tazawa gave up no runs, Aceves gave up two runs, Bard gave up one run, Breslow gave up five runs, Melancon gave up four runs, and Padilla gave up two runs.  So Cook gave up six runs, and the bullpen collectively gave up fourteen.

You read right.  That makes the final score a humiliating, embarrassing, painful, devastating, abysmal, horrible, terrible, unspeakable, unbelievable 20-2.  A fitting end for a month we finish with a record of nine and twenty-one.  And that’s all I have to say about it.

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