I have not written a game recap in quite some number of days, but I have been
watching the games. For form and posterity's sake, then, some abbreviated recaps
of the games I've missed.
Brett Anderson doesn't get smacked around so often, but the Rangers made it
count in this one, knocking three homers en route to seven runs in the first
five innings. The A's offense being what it is, and Colby Lewis being what he is
(a halfway decent pitcher, I mean), the A's were doomed after the top of the
fifth, down five runs. Of course, that's not really fair to the A's --
baseball being what it is, the A's were doomed. Per the win probabilities on
Fangraphs, just 3.7% of teams have come back to win given the
situation the A's were facing.
David DeJesus has not hit the ball with authority often this year, so it was
nice to see him roping a double on a hanging changeup (?) over the head of David
Murphy in center.
Conor Jackson got lucky on his bloop single in the first, getting jammed by a
fastball but managing to dump it into center anyway. He made up for that luck by
stealing second on a 1-2 curveball with Josh Willingham at the plate. Willingham
couldn't bring him around to score, unfortunately.
The A's don't hit enough homers for me not to mention them, even when they
come in 11-2 losses and aren't particularly notable for either depth or
just-got-out-ness, so: Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki homered to very similar
parts of the ballpark, over the scoreboard in left, in the second and fourth
innings. Suzuki's was more of a long line-drive, while Willingham's looked like
a classic fly-ball home run.
Suzuki's home run actually was notable for one thing: Colby Lewis looked
like he actually started hanging his head about how awful his hanging
curve was before Suzuki even swung the bat. That was probably my mind
playing tricks on me, but I'd swear it's what I saw.
Colby Lewis worked Kevin Kouzmanoff like a heavy bag. First at-bat: fastball
outer half (whiff), then inner half (whiff), then up and in, then away (whiff).
Second at-bat: change inside corner (strike); slider low and away (taken);
fastball up (whiff); fastball inside corner (strike). Third at-bat: slider at
the knees (foul); slider at the knees on the outside corner (foul); fb at the
knees on the outside corner (whiff).
In the first two trips, Lewis changed Kouzmanoff's eye level and worked
him in and out. In the third at-bat, he just put three pitches where
Kouzmanoff couldn't really do anything with them and took advantage of
The Caveman's lack of contact ability.
It's no wonder Ryan Sweeney hit for Kouzmanoff in the ninth inning of an
On the flip side, Kouzmanoff made a sweet play on the very first batter
of the game, falling to his right to knock down a low, hard-hit, one-hop
grounder from Ian Kinsler, getting up, picking up the ball, and rifling
an accurate throw across to first.
Speaking of the ninth inning of an 11-2 game, Andy LaRoche came awfully close
to a homer in his last at-bat, lining a double off the top of the scoreboard in
left. It's not just ballgames where inches matter -- it's for personal stats,
Because he added a single to a ball hit not significantly different from
Kurt Suzuki's homer, LaRoche is the Offensive Player of the Game
despite not being one of the two guys to knock the ball out of the
LaRoche has played significantly more third base (2500+ innings) than
second (shy of 100 innings) in his major league career, and it showed on
a play in the first frame. With Elvis Andrus on base after a walk,
Michael Young hit a chopper to LaRoche, who charged and made the play.
Andrus stopped between first and second, leaving LaRoche with a choice
-- he could either chase Andrus back to first and apply the tag, and
thus very likely not achieve a double play, or he could throw to second
to get the force and possibly give Cliff Pennington a shot at Michael
Young. Instead, he made neither play and threw to first, letting Andrus
reach second. It was precisely the wrong play, and it's possible it hurt
the A's as Adrian Beltre's double scored Andrus from second without
question -- might Michael Young have not scored from first on the same
ball? (Ignore the fallacy, if you would.)
LaRoche also biffed a ball in the ninth that the official scorer ruled a
single for David Murphy. It was a grounder that pulled LaRoche a few
steps to his left -- he went to his knees, but the ball went off his
glove. It wasn't an easy play, by any means, and I am agnostic on the
question of whether it was fairly called an error or a hit. It was, on
the other hand, a play we've seen Mark Ellis make a billion times over
Daric Barton nearly lost the A's another pickoff in the third inning, when
Brett Anderson got Mike Napoli going. Barton's throw didn't stay inside the bag,
where it should have, but it somehow whizzed over Napoli to Pennington for the
It's bordering on the obvious to say, when you can see Brett Anderson's
pitching line above, that he wasn't sharp. Four walks and a hit batter, three
homers, and just three whiffs? That's not stellar.
Weirdly, all three of Anderson's strikeouts came in the second inning,
which went: BB, K, BB, K, K. I'd love to tell you that the key was
getting a first-pitch strike, but I'd be lying: Anderson started each of
the five batters in that inning with a ball.
Jerry Blevins has an ugly line, but he got a groundout by Michael Young, a
shoulda-been groundout by Adrian Beltre, and a strikeout of Nelson Cruz in the
first three batters. That would have been the inning except that Cliff
Pennington threw away Beltre's grounder, looking all too casual on the play.
Blevins followed this up with a walk, then got another grounder from David
Murphy. Unfortunately, this was the Adam LaRoche ball I mentioned above, so yet
another should-have-been was turned into a hit. Even the two RBI hits given up
to Yorvit Torrealba and Julio Borbon weren't free of bad luck -- Torrealba's
double down the line was just fair, and Borbo's single was a soft one over
short, not a well-struck liner.
I've decided to start leaving out WPA for a whole variety of reasons
that I don't necessarily need to get into. Suffice it to say that I
don't think it added any value to these posts, and it's information
that's easily available from other sources. ↩
I include home runs in "BIP", because my goal with this particular
number is not to indicate whether the defense made plays it should have
but whether the pitcher got batters to hit the ball on the ground.
Obviously, if a batter hits a home run, the pitcher has failed to keep
the ball on the ground. ↩