Live Blogging: Angels @ A’s Game 42
10:31PM PDT: Magnuson strikes out Conger and this game is over. First MLB strikeout for Magnuson. He was very consistent in his first outing, as he threw twelve pitches and of them ten were four-seam fastballs and of the four-seam fastballs nine were at exactly 93mph, the other one – his first MLB pitch – coming in at 91. So good outing for everyone on the A’s as pitching and hitting click. The Rangers lost 4-3 in Chicago tonight which means the A’s share first place, the first time they’ve been in first place this season and the first time they have been in first since June 3rd of last year. The record improves to 22-20, two games above .500 for the second time this year. So the A’s sweep this two-game set with the Halos and steal first place, the reeling Twinkies come to town for another two-game set with the A’s looking to string together a few wins and get some separation from the .500 mark.
10:26PM PDT: Trystan Magnuson in to finally make his MLB debut. He was called up from Sacramento last week to replace Jerry Blevins on the 25-man roster. I was surprised by the move, and after watching Joey Devine pitch in Nashville for the River Cats this past weekend am even further mystified by it as he looked good. But we want the best out of Magnuson and hope he does well as he begins his MLB career by allowing a single to Jeff Mathis (inauspicious start given that Mathis is a career .199/.261/.309 hitter in 357 games) on his first MLB pitch. Just occurred to me also, isn’t it strange that the Angels are carrying three catchers with them? Mathis, Conger and Wilson? Conger and Wilson have both DH’d before (albeit a combined two times) and Wilson has played some 1B (six times) – but the vast majority of these three players’ time has been at catcher and they all are on the roster simultaneously. Strange.
10:11PM PDT: So the book is closed on Gio Gonzalez. He throws seven innings of one-hit ball allowing just one walk and striking out seven Angels. Craig Breslow now is in the game to get some work – how low are you on the pecking order when you’re the first option to hold a fourteen run lead? The Angels meanwhile throw up their fourth straight pinch-hitter as Hendrick is replaced by Alexi Amarista who got his first MLB hit against the A’s earlier this year in Anaheim.
10:00PM PDT: Makes sense that Scioscia is starting to sit his regulars, Hank Conger bats for Bobby Abreu, now Bobby Wilson in for Izturis. Everyone is chanting “no more rain” – by everyone the like 18 people left in the stadium, and Reggie Willits on deck to hit for Hunter. Looks like this’ll end up a spring training like game perhaps for both clubs commensurate with a 14 run lead/deficit.
9:55PM PDT: Josh Willingham singles up the middle scoring two. Two touchdowns for the A’s who lead 14-0. So the book is now closed on Kevin Jepsen: five runs all earned in his inning of work. Dear Rich, thanks for all your hardwork, XOXO, Kevin.
9:52PM PDT: Daric Barton joins the walk with the bases loaded club and Ellis trots home. A’s 12, Angels 0.
9:49PM PDT: Ryan Sweeney, pinch-hitting for Coco Crisp, walks and with nowhere to put him it scores DeJesus from third. A’s now lead 11-0. Weird at-bat, Thompson had two 55 foot pitches with one bouncing off Jeff Mathis‘ shin guard all the way up the first base line, so much so that Kouz had to rush back to first. Then another in the dirt that he aptly kept in front of him. Then Sweeney was the victim of a “you guys are leading 10-0″ strike on a ball well below his knees, but ultimately Thompson couldn’t get it close enough to prevent a walk even with an expanded zone as BrooksBaseball.net shows us:
9:42PM PDT: Kevin Kouzmanoff with a single to load the bases again. Scioscia has seen enough of Kevin Jepsen, he departs responsible for the three runners on base, having allowed four hits, one walks and two (earned) runs (with the potential for more) in his inning of work. Due up from the Los Angeles bullpen is Rich Thompson who unlike any of the other pitchers we’ve seen this game has great peripherals (10.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9).
9:41PM PDT: Ellis keeps his hot streak alive drops one into no mans land behind first base scoring Zuk and giving the A’s a 10-0 lead. First time this year the A’s are in double digits.
9:30PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez keeps rolling. You need to hand it to him, in a game marred by rain, in a blowout where he has had to sit on the bench and it is easy to get distracted, he has just gone out and done his stuff. Through six, just one hit, one walk and six K’s. Solid performance and on a cold rainy 53° night – very impressive.
9:24PM PDT: Daric Barton grounds out – noteworthy as it makes him 0-for-4 and he remains the only Athletic to fail to reach base in the ball game. Cliff Pennington has yet to get a hit but has walked once. So we’ve played five full, and the A’s lead it 8-0!
9:19PM PDT: Mike Scioscia is removing Trevor Bell after he tosses two innings of three hit, one (earned) run ball with no K’s or walks. Don’t get the move really, let him keep going, you have a lot of innings to fill in what should be apparent to him is a lost cause. But in comes Kevin Jepsen. Jepsen was sent down to Salt Lake earlier as he has struggled. His poor peripherals make the poor peripherals of Chatwood and Bell look like HOF material as in 2011 he is currently owner of a 2.8 K/9 and 7.1 BB/9 rate. Unlike the other guys though, somehow his ERA manages to be higher than his FIP (7.11 to 6.72).
9:03PM PDT: When it rains it pours – not talking about the weather but the A’s hitting, really I swear! Zuk gets a double into right field, scores Hideki Matsui, A’s now lead 8-0, the rout is on (not that it wasn’t exactly on before…)
8:52PM PDT: Perfect game over after three and two-thirds as Maicer Izturis walks. Maybe next time.
8:46PM PDT: Gio Gonzalez will start the fourth trying to maintain his perfect game. What is rarer from the A’s a perfect game or seven runs through three innings from the offense? I’ll hazard a guess the latter these days?
8:42PM PDT: Coco Crisp doubles and scores Ellis. The offense just continues to go and go even off new Angels pitcher Trevor Bell. Athletics 7, Angels 0. Bell like Chatwood doesn’t have impressive peripherals, 5.6 K/9 to 4.5 BB/9 which also like Chatwood explain the disparity between a 3.38 ERA and 4.80 FIP. Some lucky guys pitching here for the Angels.
8:37PM PDT: I hope there is no bad karma at work here. A’s keep piling on. Kouzmanoff hits one under the glove of Albert Callaspo to score a sixth run (ruled an error). Oakland 6, Laguna Beach Angels of Ladera Ranch 0. This will also chase Tyler Chatwood out of the game, so the poor peripherals come back to finally get Chatwood. Chatwood K’s one, walks two, so his FIP is a not-so-terrible 4.64 on the outing, but the A’s get into the Angels pen far earlier than Mike Scioscia would’ve wanted.
8:31PM PDT: A’s bats look alive tonight. Kurt Suzuki gets the second hit of the bottom of the third. It’d be nice to get a few innings with a bunch of hits. Rain falling pretty steadily now, just need to get it through another little bit and make it official with the A’s on top.
8:26PM PDT: Nine up, nine down for Gio Gonzalez.
8:22PM PDT: Mark Trumbo doesn’t seem to like the offspeed stuff. He looked badly fooled by Brett Anderson yesterday and again tonight as Gio gets him to K. Texas Leaguers’ info confirms it as he whiffs 17.7% of the time on curveballs, 20.0% of the time on sliders and 28.6% of the time on changeups. Meanwhile on the 4-seamer he whiffs just 9.4% of the time, and on the 2-seamer a microscopic 1.9% of the time.
8:16PM PDT: Coco Crisp now singles and scores Kouzmanoff. Very very misty out, hopefully they keep playing this, would hate to see Gonzalez lose another start, especially if he comes out ahead in this one. A’s expand the lead to 3-0.
8:12PM PDT: Kevin Kouzmanoff hits one past Torii Hunter in right field for a double, it scores Ellis. A’s up 2-0. Perhaps tonight is the night everything catches up to Chatwood and he starts to pitch some 5.57 ball.
8:11PM PDT: The wildness of Tyler Chatwood hurts him, as Mark Ellis doubles to the left field corner which scores David DeJesus who had walked a batter earlier. A‘s have the early 1-0 lead. Ellis has been improving, in his last ten games coming into tonight he is hitting .258/.250/.258 (the reason for this anomaly of an OBP lower than the BA is that Ellis has both a sacrifice hit and sacrifice fly but no walks, both those count as plate appearances hurting the OBP, but don’t count as at bats).
7:51PM PDT: So we got under way on time at 7:45 and Gio quickly gets to work pitching a quick and perfect 11-pitch inning. Good beginning to the outing as is control is there.
6:58PM PDT: The A’s have their Opening Day starting lineup in, Gio Gonzalez on the mound, and another rain delay. The game is due to start at 7:45 now. The Angels have Tyler Chatwood starting tonight, he comes in for what will be his eighth start on the season, sporting a very strange peripheral line with 3.9 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9. Despite those numbers he has a 3.67 ERA, though his FIP indicates he hasn’t pitched nearly that well as it sits at a much higher and more reasonable given the numbers 5.57. So interestingly, back of the baseball card people, he has a nice looking 2-1, 3.67 line, yet sabermetrics folks is worth -0.2 WAR. He faced Oakland earlier this season in Orange County and interestingly enough despite earning the win there he had a negative WPA (-.116). Funny how that all works out. Gonzalez takes the mound for the “first time” since May 6th – of course he has pitched since then, against Texas in Arlington when he got absolutely shelled but Mother Nature was on the side of the A’s and the 7-0 game was cancelled on account of rain and the entire game was wiped off the record books, meaning the last start Gonzalez had was May 6th in Kansas City. He therefore looks to continue his two game win streak coming off two strong outings. As mentioned earlier, the Opening Day roster is in today and startlingly when looking at the lineup, the best batting average belongs to Coco Crisp at .265. Sort of puts things in perspective, but Los Angeles has four hitters above .265 in their lineup tonight, Erick Aybar (.339), Maicer Izturis (.331), Alberto Callaspo (.315) and Howie Kendrick (.310).