Game 5 by Jason Wojciechowski Monday, April 10th, 2010, 9:45 am
I'm still watching last night's game on my DVR (the Angels are televised here, so I just DVR'd the HD version rather than do battle with MLB.tv), so a couple of notes as I continue watching.
The A's have been really aggressive on the bases, as the Angels announcers have noted a couple of times -- Daric Barton went hard to second on his double that drove in Rajai Davis, and Barton again went hard to go first to third on Ryan Sweeney's single up the middle in the fifth. Rajai Davis, of course, turned a bleeder up the middle into a double ahead of Barton's double, but Davis running hard and being aggressive is a given. When your first baseman joins your center fielder in picking up extra bases that past A's teams might not have taken, we're talking about an entirely different A's team. (Of course, I don't want to judge whether it'll be a better A's team, because if Barton starts getting thrown out left and right, runs are coming off the board. But on a team that's as underpowered as the A's, in a ballpark that suppresses power, you can't count on ringing gap doubles and homers to drive guys home from first.)
Gio Gonzalez has looked really good through four innings. The first inning
in particular was really impressive: eight pitches, eight strikes, two whiffs.
He gave up the homer to Hideki Matsui, but that'll happen from time to time,
and Matsui is a big-time hitter with little discernible platoon split. The
Angels have hit a couple of balls hard (the line drive that Kouzmanoff caught
comes to mind), but for the most part, Gio has been striking guys out and not
walking them while using a variety of pitches at a variety of times. It's the
perpetual "if" with Gonzalez, but if he can harness his arm all year long
This fifth inning was borderline disastrous -- Gio walked a guy for the
first time, a couple of hits drive in a run, Barton dropped the ball that could
have ended the inning as the runner on second rounded too far, and then hurt
himself trying to recover the loose ball. Hopefully Barton is ok and doesn't
have any lingering effects or serious issues in his ankle. The rest of the game hasn't shown anything negative, but you never know.
It's becoming clear that this is a very patient A's team. Daric Barton's eye has been remarkably good so far this year, Cliff Pennington's three-run homer in the seventh (maybe the A's can wait for the big jack) was set up by working a full count, Ryan Sweeney has looked patient, and Kurt Suzuki and Mark Ellis have always been fairly good at not being overly aggressive. Eric Chavez, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Rajai Davis are up to their usual tricks, of course, but a lot of these A's batters aren't going to give pitchers easy outs.
After Pennington's three-run homer, putting the A's up by eight, I kept watching but I've decided that further note-taking is silly. Maybe someone will pitch who I haven't really seen yet (like Tyson Ross, whose earlier appearance I missed), or maybe Adam Rosales will get into a damn game, but I'm not going to write about that.
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