By Jason Wojciechowski on August 12, 2003 at 4:00 PM
Tim Hudson pitched an absolutely great game against the best offense in the league last night, the Red Sox. He allowed only two hits (both in the infield) and one walk, got double plays to erase both hits, stuck out seven, got 15 ground ball outs, and threw only 93 pitches in the shutout, to pick up his eleventh "win." David Pinto noted in the updated-at-an-amazing-pace Baseball Musings during the game last night that while Pedro Martinez was pitching what would be his final inning and was already nearing 100 pitches, Hudson had thrown just 54.
How good is that? He had a game score of 89, which has only been topped this year by Joe Kennedy and Billy Traber, and Kennedy's game doesn't count because it was the Tigers. Check out the OBP/SLG/EqA of each of the Sox hitters in the lineup last night:
Ok, that's preposterous. If Jason Varitek had been hitting eighth instead of behind the worst hitter in the lineup, the Red Sox would have lined up seven .300+ EqA's in a row. And Hudson kept these guys to two infield singles and a walk, and, most importantly, didn't let them run up his pitch count. No matter how patient you are, if the guy on the other side is throwing 70% of his pitches for strikes, you're not going to walk a lot.
The offense wasn't great, but four runs was fine for tonight. Mark Ellis and Chris Singleton each hit doubles against Pedro Martinez, Jose Guillen and Eric Chavez managed to walk once apiece (Guillen also had an RBI single), and Terrence Long hit a home run against a lefty, Casey Fossum.
The A's helped themselves a little bit today by making Fossum work a little, throwing 35 pitches, so he's probably unavailable today. Todd Jones and Scott Williamson only threw 13 and 9 pitches respectively, unfortunately. Luckily, though, it's just John Burkett getting the ball today for the Red Sox, while Barry Zito tries to live up to his teammate's performance for the A's.
Zito hasn't won since July 3rd, but here's a look at the seven starts he's made since then:
- Beat up by Tampa Bay for 15 hits and seven runs in five and a third innings. I guess they have to win sometimes.
- Eight shutout innings against Baltimore, but the A's couldn't score until Ramon Hernandez hit a weak RBI fielder's choice in the bottom of the ninth.
- Eight innings, three runs (two earned), nine strikeouts, but four walks against the Twins. The A's were shut down by Johan Santana, though, only scoring once in the eighth and once in the ninth (against Eddie Guardado), so Zito took a complete game loss.
- Four runs in six innings, despite only three hits against Seattle. Unfortunately, he also gave up six walks. It didn't really matter, since the A's were being shut out, but it wasn't a very pretty game for Zito.
- Seven innings of shutout ball, no walks, just four hits against Anaheim, but Ricardo Rincon gives up two runs in the bottom of the eighth, and the A's can only score one in the top of the ninth on an Erubiel Durazo home run.
- The awful three inning, eight run (though only three earned) beating by New York. The A's scored seven in the game, so their defense and pitching really let them down for once. I guess it happens to the best of them. Which, come to think of it, the A's are the best of them, in terms of pitching and team defense.
- Finally, eight innings, three runs (none earned) on a home run by Eric Munson for the Tigers, but the A's can only score twice on Jeremy Bonderman, and no times in four innings against the weak bullpen. Another complete game loss for Zito.
Since that last win, then, Zito has seen his ERA goes from 3.12 all the way up to 3.14 while running his record from 8-5 to 8-10. So do won-lost records still matter? I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I'm hoping Joe Morgan or some Cy Young voters will visit the site sometime. Youneverknow, right?
What did last night's win mean in terms of the standings? The A's were chasing the Sox in the wild card, but the win pulls them even, so that's exciting. I like the A's to win two of the next three, as the only matchup that really looks favorable for the Red Sox is the final game, when Ted Lilly goes up against Tim Wakefield. If things work out that way, then, Boston will leave Oakland a game back in the wild card.
Meanwhile, Seattle also lost as Mark Hendrickson and the Blue Jays bullpen kept them to only three runs, leaving Oakland three back again in the West.
I'm starting to believe again, though I admit it only grudgingly.