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Live Blogging: Orioles @ A’s Game 54

May 29, 2011

3:48PM PDT: There is your ballgame. Celebrate the sweep! First of the year. Great weekend bring on the Yankees. Guillermo Moscoso earns the win, Fuentes earns the save. The A’s earn a standing ovation as they are now back to .500 at 27-27 for the fourteenth time this year. A’s still are in last, still are one and a half back of Texas – but keeping pace is great and the A’s are very much players in this division. The pitching stepping up with all the injuries is great to see. That’s all for today!

3:47PM PDT: Robert Andino singles to left field keeping this game alive. New hitter is Ryan Adams (R)… can’t ever just be 1-2-3 can it Brian? (How much must relievers hate Mariano Rivera who has propelled the myth of the shutdown 1-2-3 closer perhaps more than anybody anywhere ever?)

3:39PM PDT: Gregg manages to avoid having three walks in one inning bite him, so Fuentes will come in to close out the sweep with a 6-4 lead. Due up for the O’s: Hardy (R), Reynolds (R) and Andino (R).

3:37PM PDT: Make that three (Barton walks). What club doesn’t want a closer who walks the bases loaded? The O’s are paying Gregg $10M a year for this quality pitching.

3:35PM PDT: That 1.00 K/BB ratio looked good now that Gregg has walked Kouz and Coco this inning.

3:29PM PDT: Another 1.00 K/BB pitcher comes in for the Orioles – this time Kevin Gregg. Gregg is the closer, being summoned in early to get some work in I presume (Showalter apparently has little faith in the O’s regaining the lead in the top of the ninth – or hopefully because it would be better – doesn’t pitch his relievers with the save in mind). If Showalter communicated this with Gregg before hand, the O’s will not rip off a three game (maybe four if we hold on) winning streak and awakened bats. If he didn’t and Gregg talks to the media – Yankees and Red Sox watch out!

3:25PM PDT: Wow. Amazing 1-6-3 double play. Balfour with a great throw to Pennington, Pennington with a great toss to Barton and that stretch – ouch. Great play to double up Wieters on a tough play. Pennington’s throws are so great but look so effortless.

3:21PM PDT: So the “new” old situation is back and the eighth inning sees Grant Balfour go to the mound to hold the lead for Brian Fuentes to get the save. Balfour hasn’t looked great his past few outings but I have a lot of confidence in him, maybe because I get a false sense of confidence from relievers who look intense when on the mound.

3:14PM PDT: 1-2-3 inning for Bailey. Great to see him back and pitching well. Routinely hit 94 with the fastball fourteen pitches with nine for K’s.

3:09PM PDT: ANDREW BAILEY.

3:03PM PDT: First pitch swinging and Barton hits it to right field to sac fly Ellis in from third. A’s pad their lead to 6-4 and chase Zach Britton out of this game as Showalter trots out to take him out and input Jeremy Accardo. Accardo’s peripherals are awful with a matching 5.3 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9.

3:02PM PDT: Coco Crisp is getting the IBB from Britton and Wieters (well I guess really Buck Showalter) to face Daric Barton. Great shot at redemption for Barton here. He is a better hitter than he has been this year, would love to see him exit his slump right here.

3:00PM PDT: Its exciting to see Andrew Bailey pitch in the bullpen. It’ll be great to see him come into this game. Meanwhile A’s continue to hit Britton well as Mark Ellis and Kouz start the inning off with back-to-back singles. I suspect Pennington will bunt them over.

2:47PM PDT: So a rough inning for Britton – 31 pitches after just 56 in the previous four innings allowing five hits, four runs, including the Willingham shot. Don’t think anyone is working just yet in the O’s pen and with an overall pitch count of 87 wouldn’t be surprised to see Britton out again. Meanwhile the A’s need to lean on their bullpen because Craig Breslow will head out to the hill for the top of the sixth, the book is closed on Moscoso with him going five, allowing four runs (all earned), five hits, with two walks and a strikeout.

2:41PM PDT: Two out RBI continue! Knew it off the bat! Josh Willingham with RISP wow – HOME RUN! Willingham picks up Moscoso – three-run home run to deep left field into the BBQ Terrace. A’s retake the lead 5-4! Baseball is a funny game – sometimes that field looks so big that you think how can you not get lots of hits? Other times it feels so small like there are fielders everywhere. Most of the year I’ve felt the latter, lately I’ve been feeling the former and when Willingham came up, knowing how he has been with RISP and knowing how adept the A’s have been with two-outs I just felt good vibes and they came through. Awesome shot!

2:36PM PDT: That line drive just kept sinking and sinking, seemed like Reimold should have gotten to it, but he didn’t so Conor Jackson‘s hit scores Cliff Pennington from second. If Barton hadn’t swung through ball four last at-bat things would be a lot tighter but another two-out RBI makes the game a bit closer with the Orioles 4, A’s 2.

2:24PM PDT: Guerrero grounds out and scores Pie. O’s take a 4-1 lead. Tough to avoid serious damage when you load the bases with nobody out and Moscoso is quickly figuring that out if we wasn’t aware already.

2:21PM PDT: Markakis grounds out to Barton but Robert Andino running on contact scores, so A’s now trail 3-1.

2:20PM PDT: Reimold walks which scores Mark Reynolds. O’s now lead 2-1. Danger quotient is rapidly increasing as bases are still full, no one is still out, but now we get to Nick Markakis, Vladimir Guerrero and Matt Wieters in the heart of the Baltimore lineup.

2:17PM PDT: Coco Crisp laid out and nearly made an incredible play but in baseball the ground can cause a fumble. But getting to it like he did, prevented several runs from scoring and it ends up being an incredible single for Felix Pie that scores just one and ties this game. Still in quite a pickle for Guillermo Moscoso – still nobody out, still bases loaded – and new edition Nolan Reimold to the plate (Reimold did not start the game but replaced Adam Jones for reasons still presently unknown).

2:13PM PDT: That is two blown calls in one inning now. First off I think Barton’s foot was on the bag when J.J. Hardy bounced deep into the hole to Pennington. And now Moscoso made a good play to get the lead runner (Hardy again) over at third. Kevin Kouzmanoff had his foot on the bag and Hardy who I don’t think should’ve been on base to begin with, gets saved again by poor officiating, as he is ruled safe when he was quite clearly out and by a considerable distance. Makes the situation and very sticky one for Moscoso – no one out and the bases loaded.

1:46PM PDT: Conor Jackson put himself into great position to get to that ball and then the momentum should’ve helped him double off Felix Pie at first but a terrible throw keeps the O’s alive. You win some, you lose some because earlier CoJax had a great toss.

1:31PM PDT: Good throw from CoJax and relay from Cliff Pennington make sure that Matt Wieters stayed on third and didn’t score on the J.J. Hardy double. Great to see the ultra-mo replay of Pennington and the great job he did at ensuring he had a lot on that throw to home. Pennington is a fun ballplayer to watch.

1:19PM PDT: Great start to today’s game. First what a nice opposite field hit by Daric Barton, maybe he is finally going to have a few drop? A CoJax walk and then Josh Willingham drives him in with a base hit to left field. Willingham has been great with RISP, unlike a lot of A’s, he owns a .333/.379/.549 slash line, and his K% is better at just 29.4%. So he gets his 32nd RBI of the year and the A’s give Moscoso an early 1-0 lead.

1:01PM PDT: A’s go for the sweep behind Guillermo Moscoso. First off some roster news for the A’s today: Andrew Bailey (as expected) is back! He is available to pitch though I would not expect him to start out with save situations given the comments Bob Geren has made recently and ultimately that is the right decision. Also unsurprisingly the corresponding move was to send Bobby Cramer back to Sacramento. In other transaction news however, the addition of Scott Sizemore created a log jam in the infield in Sacramento so the A’s shipped Steve Tolleson to the San Diego Padres this afternoon. There are conflicting reports as to whether or not the A’s received a player to be named later or cash considerations but regardless I would not anticipate the move to yield any sort of game changing return. For today’s game however, Moscoso will be countered by the rookie Zach Britton – who is making a case for Rookie of the Year honors – with a with a 5-2 record and 2.35 ERA though those sparkling numbers mask a bit more average 3.80 FIP and very pedestrian 4.9K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 peripherals. He has really been aided by a very low .241 BABIP so I’d anticipate that ERA will be closer to his FIP in short order, and perhaps even as early as today if under the daylight the A’s hitters can tag him for a few runs. Hideki Matsui gets another day off, with Josh Willingham covering the designated hitter role and Conor Jackson getting into the action in left field. Otherwise nothing to note in the lineup – I wish if they planned on using Hideki Matsui so sparingly we could just trade him and see what we get for him – but think that is unlikely – I’d much prefer they play him regularly and let him get into a groove. Guillermo Moscoso will attempt to win his second career start today, he won his first down in Anaheim last week looking very sharp in the six inning start.

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