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Chris Young was activated off of the disabled list and to make room Daric Barton was designated for assignment yet again. I was a bit surprised this happened as it isn’t like Luke Montz has been performing and optioning him (I believe he has options) doesn’t seem as if it would have been too problematic. But the truth is, as it has been for a while, Barton simply was not producing. On the year Barton has hit .143/.217/.286 his usual saving grace of drawing walks at just 4.3% in an admittedly light 23 plate appearances while his K% was a sky high 30.4%. Barton did nothing with the opportunity the A’s gave him and has fully earned his second DFA with a -0.1 WAR. The question remains however will he be able to clear waivers (maybe a better question is should we even care if he does)?
Though he has proven yet again, and more vehemently in my mind despite the small sample size, that he does not belong on an MLB roster, I think this time, with it being later in the year with clubs seeing injuries mount that he gets plucked by some 0ther team hoping a change of scenery will return him to 2010 form. So I think now we can finally say so long to Barton.
Young’s return from the disabled list truly helps out Oakland. It allows Brandon Moss to move to first base and Young to slot in at right field regularly as we await Josh Reddick‘s return. That makes the A’s far better than they’ve been in recent days offensively. In 104 plate appearances Young has scuffled hitting .169/.279/.382 but I am hoping the .167 BABIP can take a lot of the blame for that slow start as Young should be a more accomplished hitter than that.
I haven’t thought Chris Resop has been a very good pitcher this year. That he has been used just four times in May compared to 14 times in April says that Bob Melvin may have been feeling the same way. On Tuesday Resop earned the loss in the tenth inning against the Rangers and today he lost his job with the A’s as they designated him for assignment. On the year Resop ends his Oakland tenure with 18 appearances for 18.0 innings pitched of 6.5 K/9, 5.0 BB/9 and 1.5 HR/9 baseball. He has a .322 BABIP (not much higher than his .316 career mark) but has been victimized by a higher than usual 15.0% HR/FB%. His ERA stands at an ugly 6.00, his FIP not much better at 5.75 and his xFIP if you want to give credit to that messed up HR/FB% still is high at 5.18 adding up to a grand total of -0.3 WAR. For what I think is an important stat for relievers he has two shutdowns to two meltdowns, the thing most striking to me there is how little he was used in a game with much risk as he only had four of those “decisions”. One can see his diminished stock as gmLI on the year was 0.94 but since April 14th he had been used in 1.00+ gmLI situations just twice including his final appearance.
Replacing Resop on the 25-man roster will be left-hander Hideki Okajima, a non-roster invitee who had been lighting the world on fire in Sacramento. In 14 appearances Okajima had thrown 16.2 innings of 9.7 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9 baseball for a 2.16 ERA and commensurate with that 2.18 FIP.
Players have been known to be designated for assignment and then outrighted and then later re-added to the 40-man roster (most recently of course being Daric Barton) and it is conceivable that happens with Resop as it seems very likely he’d clear waivers without issue.
Wrap: Texas 6, Oakland 2. A’s 20-22 (2nd Place, 7 games back)
A’s drop another series losing to Texas this afternoon. Bad offense and bad pitching don’t ever combine to turn into a win and it didn’t in this ballgame either. The A’s scored two runs while managing just five hits. The pitching gave up six runs. The A’s got down 6-0 early and Alexi Ogando had a no-hitter through five. That right about there says it all. Nelson Cruz was the A’s killer with a three-run home run and a great defensive play to end the sixth inning and keep A’s runs off the board.
The A’s just didn’t hit. First hit came in the sixth inning, a Sogard double. Crisp grounded out to the right side allowing Derek Norris to plate him on a sacrifice fly. Lowrie and Cespedes then had the next two hits (both single and still in the sixth inning) before that aforementioned Cruz catch that likely saved two runs. The bottom of seventh saw the A’s get two more of their hits, singles by Donaldson and Smith. An Adam Rosales walk would load the bases before a Coco sacrifice fly would plate Donaldson and the A’s second run. And with that the A’s offense would again cease to exist. Team went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, though in fairness they did have the two sacrifice flies so they weren’t useless and stranded seven.
There just has to be a better option than Straily at this point who had another awful outing. Straily lasted just four and a third innings throwing 87 pitches and being tagged for five runs (four earned). Straily walked four, struck out two while also giving up four hits. Straily has no thanks to offer Chavez who came in in “relief” and started Cruz off with an 89 mph changeup that he promptly deposited in the seats for a three run jack. Two of those runs, of course, went to Straily. In fairness to Chavez, he was actually quite good in this lasting three and two-thirds innings of mop up work with that home run being his lone mistake otherwise managing one walk and three K’s and allowing just three hits including the homer. That said, a three run home run doesn’t help matters at all and a (at that time) 6-0 ballgame and 3-0 ballgame are very different things. Neshek pitched the final inning striking out one.
Straily is the zero. The A’s desperately need Brett Anderson back if his replacement pitcher is throwing up slop to the tune of this: 7.27 ERA. In fairness to him, he has been hurt by a likely to reduce .319 BABIP and a sure to improve 51.6% strand rate. But yeah, not pretty. 4.2 BB/9 isn’t going to get anyone into the Hall of Fame though you do have to still like the 9.4 K/9 which means we don’t give up on Straily entirely but we also perhaps don’t mind a trip down to Sacramento and recall Sonny Gray who has looked very sharp early (37.0 innings, 2.19 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 8.0 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and 0.0 HR/9) or maybe we should be using Chavez as a starter right now instead of longman and call up like a Hideki Okajima (16.2 innings, 2.16 ERA, 2.18 FIP, 9.7 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9) or Dan Otero (16.2 innings, 0.54 ERA, 1.88 FIP, 7.6 K/9, 0.5 BB/9 and 0.0 HR/9) to fill that bullpen spot?
Outfielder Coco Crisp is being activated for this afternoon’s game (he will bat leadoff) after spending the bare minimum 15 days on the 15-day disabled list. Crisp started the year at a torrid pace so he will be a welcomed addition back into the lineup (despite my many criticisms of him, he has been nothing short of great this season so I stand corrected). On the year Crisp is hitting .283/.388/.556 with a .401 wOBA and 158 wRC+ in his 117 plate appearances. He most impressively has a 14.5% BB% to just 6.0% K%. None of these numbers likely will hold up the remainder of the season, ZiPS has his wOBA falling to a still good .329 with a 107 wRC+ but he still is far better than the man he replaced today Michael Taylor.
Taylor was optioned to Sacramento after hitting an absymal .043/.120/.043 in 25 plate appearances. Taylor seems to do less with more as the more times he gets the plate it seems the further he sinks his WAR which stands at -0.4 (career mark now of -1.0) as he jettisons up I-80. Fair his BABIP of .056 is a bit harsh this year and wouldn’t keep up, but he has done really nothing to distinguish himself now in his entire 81 plate appearance career that has seen him stumble to a .135/.210/.189 slash line with a joke of a .189 wOBA and equally laughable 13 wRC+. It seems to me Taylor is forever destined to be AAA star and I wonder how many more opportunities he will have with the big league club prior to the 40-man roster expansion. If up to me, I would be giving up on Taylor about now.
Wrap: Texas 6, Oakland 5. A’s 20-21 (2nd Place, 6 games back)
A’s fans got free parking today the Coliseum. They got free baseball too as the game went into the tenth inning. What doesn’t come for free is a win and today the A’s did not earn one. Back and forth and back and forth this one went with blown saves on both sides of the ledger. In the end Chris Resop gave up two runs in the top half of the tenth inning with solo blasts delivered by Adrian Beltre (on a 3-0 pitch no less) and Mitch Moreland (his second of the game). When you have to get back two runs and have three outs to do it that is a tall order and the A’s, though they got back one and loaded the bases with one out, failed to tease home that second run and went to bed losers.
Stranding runners was the A’s forte in this ballgame with eleven all said and done. Hitting just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position doesn’t help and five of those stranded were left in scoring position. The offense was concentrated between three guys too which doesn’t aid in a lot of run scoring: Donaldson went 4-for-5 with a run scored and two doubles; Smith went 3-for-5 with two runs scored an RBI and a double; and Freiman went 2-for-3 with a run scored before being pulled in favor of Brandon Moss. Those who have struggled with the average struggled in this matchup: Cespedes (.202) 0-for-5; Montz (.182) 0-for-2 with two K’s; Taylor (.043) 0-for-1 with two walks and a K; and finally Daric Barton (.125) 0-for-2 with a strikeout with the bases loaded and one out and Joe Nathan on the hill. He just need to get the ball into the outfield or anywhere but right at an infielder and instead he strikes out. That was the kind of day it was for A’s hitters.
Appearances: Bartolo Colon, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins, Grant Balfour, Resop.
Colon is just not very impressive. Aside from the walk thing (he allowed just his second of the year in this ballgame for a 0.4 BB/9) what does he really offer? His K/9 is now 5.1. His HR/9 is 1.3. His ERA is 4.56 but largely due to the insane walk rate his FIP is 3.93. While I think he likely is about a 4.00 pitcher, and while there certainly is value in that, I guess I still just find that unimpressive and pedestrian. That is exactly what Colon in his six innings of work was today with three earned runs coming on four hits (including a Moreland home run), while walking the one guy (the very patient Lance Berkman) and striking out nobody. No Ranger hitter was struck out by Colon. That is just annoying. And I think you can’t have sustained success if you are constantly putting the ball in play like that. Doolittle had a shaky inning with a Lowrie error and a single by Craig Gentry but struck out Ian Kinsler swinging to earn a hold and end the frame. Doolittle has been nothing short of fantastic with a 1.06 ERA and 2.97 FIP as he amasses 9.5 K/9 though the 100.0% strand rate and .132 BABIP are destined to alter dramatically by season’s end. Six shutdowns and two meltdowns on the year for Doolittle. Cook meanwhile allowed two singles (to Elvis Andrus and Beltre) that Nelson Cruz was able to sacrifice fly home the tying run earning him a blown save, and leaving Blevins to record the eighth inning’s final out. Balfour came in for the top of the ninth after Bob Melvin got ejected arguing whether or not Barton was safe at first on a groundout (replays seem to agree with Melvin), and got into a similar mess to Doolittle’s being victimized by a single and Rosales error. He struck out all three other hitters however to get out of the ninth unscathed. Enter the tenth inning and Resop on the hill: ground out, homer allowed to Beltre on a 3-0 pitch, line out, home allowed to Moreland his second of the game, strike out. Ugly. Loss. Done.
See above. Resop is the zero. Two solo shots. ERA swells to 6.00. Loss earned making him just 1-1 on the year. This was the first tough spot he got into leverage wise in ages as it seems he has only been put into the game when there is nothing to lose (a barely above average leverage of 1.07 in Boston on April 24th is the only “tough spot” since a 4.32 outing on the 12th of April against Detroit when I saw him pitch live). He did not put Oakland in a position to win, though amazingly he could’ve allowed the Beltre home run and the A’s got a run back in the bottom half. The surrendering two home runs however was too much for the A’s bats to recover from. Failure.
Wrap: Oakland 5, Texas 1. A’s 20-20 (2nd Place, 5 games back)
It has been awhile since the A’s faced the Rangers and the last time they did it was pretty good times as the A’s won the American League West on the last day of the season while Josh Hamilton and his glove sat and watched them celebrate. Flash forward a year forward and the A’s now just stand at .500 five games behind the visiting Rangers and 2012 Wild Card team. However regardless of their place in the standings, the A’s yet again are victorious with a good outing from both the offense and defense which was a bit unique as Yoenis Cespedes left the game with a stomach issue pressing Brandon Moss into center field duties. Anyhow, 40 games is the point where you’ve completed basically a quarter of the season and everything starts to sort itself out and you can truly assess where you stand. At 20-20 and at .500 that seems about right for this team, which I figured was not more than a few games better than .500 at best. Granted with all the injuries, this team could conceivably be better than they’ve played so that is why they still play the remaining 122 games.
The A’s had a big second inning with three singles and a walk that gave them a 2-1 lead they never gave up. The next inning Oakland got back-to-back dingers from Cespedes and Moss in the bottom of the third inning to give them a 4-1 lead. A Norris double in the sixth would plate the fifth and final run. It was an interesting way to put together runs on the day as the A’s failed miserably with runners in scoring position (2-for-8) yet ultimately got enough runs to win the game. Jaso was the only A’s hitter with multiple hits (2-for-4 with an RBI and two K’s).
Griffin looked great. 108 pitches, 72 for strikes net him seven innings of one run (a Mitch Moreland home run the lone mistake), six hit, no walk, eight K baseball. Great outing. The peripherals on the year (6.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9) are moving closer to last season’s (7.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9) for Griffin which is a good sign, as he has been successful despite the decline with his FIP swelling to 4.33 this season from 2012′s 3.85. Doolittle and Cook, two requisite guys to pitch when Oakland is ahead, pitched with Doolittle throwing a perfect inning with three K’s ending the inning with three straight fastballs looking to Craig Gentry.
Griffin pitched a hell of a game or helluva for those who prefer that spelling. Either way he was great and fully earned any plaudits he received for the outing. If he continues to pitch like this and impress, and I am growing in my level of appreciation of him, the A’s could have a frontline type pitcher on their hands.
Wrap: Seattle 6, Oakland 1. A’s 19-20 (2nd Place, 6 games back)
A’s lose yet again to drop the series in the Pacific Northwest, they are now losers of six of their last seven. It is more of the same with both the hitting and pitching equally taking part in the losing effort. Not really anything positive to note in this game, they barely stay ahead of the M’s in the standings (1/2 game) they fall further behind Texas, fall under .500, no big positive takeaways.
The first six hitters in the starting lineup all had a hit each. Donaldson’s and Montz’ hits were both back-to-back doubles accounting for the only run in the game. The A’s managed to strikeout ten times in this one despite facing Saunders (5.1 K/9 in his career) who was responsible for six of them. Yoervis Medina with 11.2 K/9 in his short career (7.8 K/9 in his MiLB career) and Oliver Perez (9.1 K/9) A’s hitters had more excuses against and Perez in particular was hot striking out the three hitters he faced: Freiman swinging, Moss looking and Taylor swinging. Moss the only lefty of the bunch to face the southpaw Saunders was particularly awful earning a golden sombrero. All in all the A’s were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight baserunners stranded. Speedster Norris stole his third base of the year off of Jesus Montero who is 1-for-17 throwing out runners.
Milone looked awful in this game: five innings, five earned runs, on six hits (one of which was a Kendrys Morales home run), with three walks and four strikeouts. Milone threw 90 pitches only 55 for strikes earning himself an ugly 5.81 FIP with a minuscule 25.0% ground ball percentage. On the season Milone now is a decent for his spot in the rotation 3.71 ERA (which actually is lower than last year still when it was 3.74), 3.62 FIP (well lower than his 3.93 last year) pitcher. His WAR is now at 0.9 WAR, his K/9 a career best 7.9 K/9, a 1.6 BB/9 (also career best) and 1.2 HR/9 (a career worst). Neshek pitched a perfect inning. Blevins was perfect save for a Jason Bay home run – which is far from perfect, while Chavez had an inefficient 21 pitch one walk, one hit, two strikeout inning.
You can’t let five runs in in five innings pitched and win a game – well you can, but not with the way this offense has been playing. That is why Milone is the zero. Awful stuff, awful outing, total zero.