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Live Blogging: A’s @ Angels Game 25

April 27, 2011

7:06PM PDT: Ziegler with a nice 1-2-3 inning (maybe he should close?) seals the deal. A’s win. Tyson Ross deserved a victory, Fuentes screwed that up for him, or no – it wasn’t Fuentes as much as it was Kouzmanoff and even more so Geren. Bob Geren is setting up Brian Fuentes to fail, he needs to smarten up with how he uses his bullpen. That’s all, it’s a win, can’t complain. 23-1 and 2-1 after blowing it in the ninth and coming back all look the same in the standings.

7:01PM PDT: So here we go, 2-1 lead bottom of the tenth. Brad Ziegler was throwing in the bullpen and I assume he will be coming in for the bottom of the tenth. It is time for a change, we should think SpeeDee…

6:58PM PDT: A very high chopper by Conor Jackson guarantees that Cliff Pennington scores, A’s retake the lead 2-1. So fielder’s choice means with RISP the A’s now are 0-for-10 today but I won’t complain with the run scoring. Message to Bob Geren: do not under any circumstances leave Fuentes in for the bottom of the tenth. Remember what happened against Detroit!

6:54PM PDT: DeJesus got out (make it 0-for-9 with RISP) and Daric Barton is given the free pass to set up the double play. Ballsy move by Scioscia since as I said CoJax is the best hitter on the club so far this year.

6:52PM PDT: New Angel pitcher Jordan Walden in and Cliff Pennington gets to third as the ball gets by Vernon Wells. They have ruled it a triple. So a guy on third to lead off an inning (no matter what they call it, triple, E7 whatever) the A’s must score him. So far this series they are 0-for-8 today with RISP and 0-for-17 in this series here in Orange County.

6:48PM PDT: Callaspo pop up means extra innings or free baseball for fans sitting in Anaheim watching their hometown Costa Mesa Angels of Garden Grove. How many times does Fuentes have to screw up a game before Bob Geren gets it that he is not being used properly by using him as a closer? Given that this is going to be his third meltdown of the season that number is at the very least greater than three. Furthermore, as we lay blame, Kevin Kouzamnoff has been unable to field well, and doesn’t exactly make up for it with his bat (.221/.243/.368) and he again blew a routine play over at third for his sixth error of the season in just his 23rd game. So if he plays the 142 games he played in last year at that rate that’d turn into 37 errors (over three times the 12 he had last year). This team is flawed and the biggest flaw the inability of Geren to recognize what the strengths of his players are. He needs to realize 1) Brian Fuentes should not be a closer and 2) Kevin Kouzmanoff can no longer be a regular.

6:45PM PDT: Big strikeout of Wells. The hitting-right-handed Alberto Callaspo comes up with Abreu in scoring position.

6:41PM PDT: Don’t like the idea of walking Torii Hunter to have Fuentes face Vernon Wells. I know Wells is scuttling, but he is still a very good (and very right-handed) hitter.

6:40PM PDT: Blown save. Bobby Abreu double ties it at one.

6:36PM PDT: That was a pretty impressive throw by Fuentes fielding that sacrifice by Aybar. Not an easy play, looked like it would go foul, but ultimately couldn’t chance it. One down, Trumbo is on second.

6:34PM PDT: Why sacrifice when Fuentes will just throw it at you? Oh wait! Appeal to first base! They say he bunted at it! Lucky break for the A’s there because Erick Aybar pulled it back.

6:31PM PDT: E5! UGH! Come on now. Kevin Kouzmanoff‘s 16.1+ fielding strikes again. Mark Trumbo pinch-runs for Izturis (sort of strange but apparently he has an injury that makes Trumbo a better option on the basepaths).

6:30PM PDT: Everyday we hear of these great bullpen sessions that Andrew Bailey is having. I want him on minor-league rehab assignments because I want him back in Oakland! Fuentes gives me a heart condition. Mike Scioscia puts in Maicer Izturis as a pinch-hitter to begin the inning.

6:18PM PDT: I’m still annoyed that Geren took out Ross despite the good inning of work by Balfour. But maybe I am the only one, but the “when it’s time for a change think SpeeDee oil change and tune up” always pisses me off when it is Geren making crazy moves and it most definitely is not time for a change.

6:15PM PDT: 1-2-3 for Balfour as he gets out 0-to-60 in .00000000001 seconds Peter Bourjos to end the frame. We gotta try tacking on an insurance run here off of Rich Thompson (career FIP: 5.06), I hate going to Fuentes to hold a 1-0 lead…

6:09PM PDT: Uh-oh everyone in Anaheim is “jumping around”. Rally monkey is out. Bob Geren… damn is he making me crazy. Tyson Ross‘ pitch count is at 76 and he pulls him. Why!? Grant Balfour is in for the eighth. Just don’t get it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I am not looking forward to seeing Brian Fuentes in Anaheim for the ninth, though as an Angel Fuentes went had a SD/MD ratio of 5 which is pretty solid (50:10).

6:04PM PDT: Double for Barton, puts Jackson up with a man in scoring position. I really think that Jackson is the A’s best hitter this year, coming into today’s game he his third on the club in WAR among hitters (0.5), among those with over 40 plate appearances he leads with a wRC+ of 127, and a wOBA of .349. As I felt before the season began, I think he is over his valley fever and is ready to really shine. It’d be nice to see him drive Daric in from second somehow.

6:02PM PDT: So indeed in comes Takahashi to face DeJesus, Barton and Jackson. He has pitched very close to his ERA in his brief MLB career. Last year with the Mets he was good for a 3.61 ERA (3.65 FIP) and this year he is at a 5.59 ERA (6.14 FIP). He has had trouble with control this year so far, so it’d be good to see the A’s be patient (5.6 BB/9).

5:55PM PDT: Way to take advantage of a home run happy Torii Hunter. Look at the slop he swung at (I love BrooksBaseball.net and highly recommend it for messing around with their Pitch f/x tools):

5:49PM PDT: 1-2-3 inning for Dan Haren again. He has been real sharp – I am sure many of the A’s pitchers can commiserate with how his afternoon is going so far. Seems like this’ll be the end of the road for him as Hisanori Takahashi is warming in the LA bullpen. If it is the end, a good line, seven innings of work with two walks, five strikeouts and the one unearned run that came in that 30-pitch third. Ultimately if not for that third inning’s pitch count, we’d likely have to face another inning of the former Athletic hurler.

5:43PM PDT: Another double play. Real nice play there. Perhaps it was just luck – or maybe Ross knew where Cliff Pennington was playing – but instead of making that sort of stab at it play that a lot of pitchers make which causes some weird infield hit where everyone is safe, Ross ducked out of the way, let the ball get to Pennington who stepped on second then threw to first to complete the double play. Nice play to get out of the inning, third double play of the day already which is what in large part is helping keep Ross’ pitch count down, it is only at 63 through six.

5:32PM PDT: For all the talk of Tyson Ross‘ strong start, can’t discount what Dan Haren has done. However that 30 pitch third inning has come back to haunt him a bit already as his pitch count after getting Ryan Sweeney to fly out to right to end the top of the sixth stands at 100 pitches (64 strikes). So to put it into perspective, he averaged 14 pitches in every inning aside from the third, so that’s like pitching two plus innings in one. Or to put it into another perspective, he has over twice as many pitches as Tyson Ross (48) in just one extra inning of work.

5:25PM PDT: Another three up-three down inning for Tyson Ross as he gets Hank Conger to strike out swinging to end the fifth. He has been very efficient with his pitch count which is great (48 pitches). The K of Conger was only his second on the night, he has shown off his high K rates that he’s had in the minors (7.9 K/9) yet in his time in the show (7.0 K/9 but only 5.8 K/9 so far in 2011).

5:09PM PDT: As the shadows start to creep further out, Torii Hunter saves Tyson Ross who after six straight balls gets Hunter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.

5:07PM PDT: Four pitch walk to Bobby Abreu is how Tyson Ross starts the fourth. An inauspicious start as Ross struggled with his control in his only other start.

4:58PM PDT: Mark Ellis gets a hit, he has been on quite the skid lately so it is good to see him get a base hit. Don’t understand why yesterday Bob Geren gave Daric Barton the night off (he ended up playing once the injury to Coco Crisp occurred) in an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle Susan Slusser reported that Geren said of Barton prior to yesterday’s game,

“He’ll watch the game tonight. Sometimes that’s a good thing to get a guy going.”

Which really doesn’t make sense unless Geren feels the box score (0-for-4) told him more about Barton than did watching the game in person where he saw a missed foul ball call that would’ve been a double and a legged out single to the hole on which he was called out. Nonsensical. Yet Mark Ellis, who has suffered a lot of injuries and was on a 2-for-25 road trip (3-for-27 now) gets penciled into the lineup everyday. Glad Ellis got the hit today, but don’t get why an iron man like Barton is rested “to watch” and yet Ellis is trotted out there to fail. Poor managing.

4:46PM PDT: That is what the A’s needed to do – a thirty pitch inning for Dan Haren. While it only results in one run, it likely will help shorten his day and I like our chances against the Halo bullpen more so than against a solid Haren. Decent work, could’ve been more productive but you take what you can get.

4:44PM PDT: Sac fly for Barton to get Landon Powell home. Though he’d have had to hit it to San Bernardino in order to give Powell enough time to chug home, but he makes it without a throw. A’s 1, Angels 0.

4:42PM PDT: Gotta love an 0-2 HBP. David DeJesus who has struggled against Haren in his career (1-for-17, 1BB, 5K) gets plunked to load the bases for Daric Barton. Nice to see Barton get out of his slump with one productive swing of the bat.

4:39PM PDT: Shadow is starting to creep out past home plate. This game will be an edge to the pitchers, so Ross better be on his game.

4:30PM PDT: Tyson Ross looks very sharp, much different than his outing in Seattle. On the broadcast Ray Fosse said it is due to him not having a hitch where his glove sort of “bounces” off of his knee before he throws. Thus far the adjustment has worked as he has gotten through two innings relying on only 18 pitches, 12 for strikes with a strikeout.

4:12PM PDT: 1-2-3 inning for Dan Haren. Crappy job by A’s hitters of trying to make him work, he gets away with only eleven pitches – seven for strikes.

4:05PM PDT: Dan Haren – off to a very good start – 1.46 ERA, 2.01 FIP with a 6.6 BB/K ratio – is pitching for Los Angeles. Not the type of guy you expect to suddenly have your struggling offense bounce out of a slump against but the A’s need to get out of Orange County with at least a win. Conor Jackson again gets the start in place of the injured Josh Willingham, Ryan Sweeney takes over for the injured Coco Crisp in center and Landon Powell starts behind the plate as Kurt Suzuki is out for paternity leave (Josh Donaldson has been called up from Sacramento but doesn’t figure to see any action). All of these guys will be playing behind Tyson Ross making his second start of the spring following a lackluster appearance in Seattle (four and a third innings, with four walks and no strikeouts while allowing three earned runs on seventy-six pitches).

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