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Live Blogging: A’s @ White Sox Game 65

June 10, 2011

10:22PM CDT: Ball settles nicely and safely in Conor Jackson‘s glove meaning GAME OVER A’S WIN! Wow, what a finish. Two outs in the ninth on the road, on a ten game losing streak, who would’ve thought? Great game! I liked the energy I saw from guys on the bench, standing on that top step, being excited. This team needs some fire and maybe Melvin as a players manager can do that. So far his .500 winning percentage beats the other Bob! Bailey locks down the save – his first of the year. Good things to come, I am feeling optimistic and I haven’t in a while now. Change is good. A’s win!

10:17PM CDT: Harrell got Crisp swinging to end the ninth which means now it is Bailey time!

10:11PM CDT: Now he walks Jemile Weeks on his 38th pitch! Ozzie Guillen has seen enough and Santos is hitting the showers. What a comeback! New pitcher for Chicago is Lucas Harrell. Harrell has been a starter in the minors but in the majors has been a long man with just one appearance this year a four inning outing at the Rogers Centre in Toronto in a game that the Blue Jays won 13-4. In that game he allowed four earned runs, so his ERA stands at 9.00 yet his FIP at a much kinder 2.69 – both sort of meaningless statistics with just one four inning outing to your credit. With the Triple-A Charlotte Knights this year he has a 3.25 ERA, a 3.65 FIP with 7.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.

10:07PM CDT: Way to earn yourself some new fans in Oakland Scott! Sizemore hits it off the warning track in left field emptying the bases on a double. That ball just hung up there and hung up there and hung up there but Rios couldn’t get to it even with his speed. Great hit, clutch inning with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth. A’s LEAD 7-5 with Andrew Bailey warming in the bullpen to come in for the save. Nice to have taken Graham Godfrey off the hook here.

10:05PM CDT: After nearly hitting Willingham, Sergio Santos gets it in far enough to plunk Suzuki. Bases loaded for Scott Sizemore. Amazing that all of this has occurred with two outs, especially amazing after how much Pennington looked lost out there after having a great night, you figured Santos would be automatic tonight.

10:01PM CDT: Daric Barton walks, moves DeJesus to second. So tying run on second, go-ahead run at first. Kurt Suzuki can be a hero at U.S. Cellular Field again. He hit that shot on April 11th off of Jesse Crain, would be nice to see a three-run home run right here. Now I am waiting for that three-run homer!

9:59PM CDT: This game just got a little more interesting… Hideki Matsui plunks one into center in front of Rios and this is now a 5-4 ballgame. David DeJesus is going to pinch-run for Matsui to give Oakland some speed on the bases. Comes down to Daric Barton now. This comes back to my previous comment, Willingham would be on second right now or maybe (though I doubt it) third had they attempted to hold him on. Instead he scores. I get in some situations where the game could be cost by an errant throw or something but like it just seems stupid to me in games like this to not keep the runner stationed at first. As an A’s fan however, I suppose I shouldn’t be too upset about it, it did yield us a run, the White Sox errors are surely our benefit.

9:57PM CDT: Willingham advances to second on defense indifference. I still don’t get this. Why not train relievers to better hold runners? Easy out, game over am I alone on this?

9:56PM CDT: Tying run up with Matsui following the Willingham walk. Santos showed off some of his wildness, missing on a pitch that was square at Willingham’s head and then struggled to regain control in the sequence.

9:48PM CDT: Sergio Santos will be out for the White Sox as the A’s try to somehow get back into this game – the lead is not insurmountable, but we seldom seem to score two times in one inning so I am not holding my breath here. So it all comes down to Cliff Pennington, Conor Jackson and Josh Willingham. Santos is tough sporting a 10.5 K/9 with though he does a walk a few 4.8 BB/9. 2.10 ERA and a 2.64 FIP, tall task, for a team thats struggled to find a closer this guy has closer stuff.

9:40PM CDT: It doesn’t get much more shutdown than that for Thornton. One pitch outs to both Weeks and Crisp get him out of the inning on a mere two pitches. Terrible.

9:37PM CDT: Bruney got Kurt Suzuki swinging but a walk to Scott Sizemore meant his night was through. Two batters. Thirteen pitches. Two strikes. Two left on. New pitcher. The new pitcher is Matt Thornton, who lost the closer’s job earlier this year. Let’s hope his bad luck keeps up because he has a terrible shutdown to meltdown ratio of 4/9. Meaning if the A’s want to get back into this thing, here’s a guy to try and do it against. He comes in mightily struggling with his control (4.6 BB/9) and facing some tough luck (.361 BABIP and 55.3 LOB%).

9:29PM CDT: Ozzie Guillen sees a pitcher allow a hit to Daric Barton and that is all he needs to see. Can’t blame him, the way Barton has been swinging the bat most of the year you would have to assume something is seriously wrong with your pitcher if he is able to get a hit off of them. Brian Bruney is the new White Sox pitcher pitching in just his fourth game of the year. Bruney is one these pitchers who is a big burly guy and just looks like he shotputs the ball up there. Ugly pitching motion but he’s been good for strikeouts (8.7 K/9 in his career) but also terrible with control (6.5 BB/9 in his career) like a lot of these hard-throwing relievers across MLB.

9:20PM CDT: Joey Devine comes in to pitch to face the 3-4-5 hitters – the heart of the Pale Hose lineup. Devine comes into this game with some nice looking numbers 1.93 ERA but some nice so sterling peripherals that explain his 3.26 FIP and 5.09 xFIP (he has yet to allow a home run). Devine, a big time strikeout pitcher, is just doing a career low 5.8 K/9 so far through nine and a third in 2011. Small sample size sure, but still off his pace. He also has been the beneficiary of an amazing .120 BABIP That being said, in 2008 with Oakland he had a .217 BABIP and the year before the he had a .292 BABIP with Atlanta. His ERA both years were phenomenal (0.59 in ’08, 1.08 in ’07) yet his FIP was wildly different (1.97 in ’08, 4.44 in ’07). Not sure how he manages to keep that ERA so much lower than his FIP consistently but I have to assume that it is largely owing to the fact that Devine hasn’t allowed a home run since April 7th, 2006 (his first outing of the 2006 season) in San Francisco when he allowed a home run to Moises Alou. As people familiar with FIP will know, home runs allowed are a huge component.

9:15PM CDT: CoJax grounds out to Beckham and scores Crisp. Lead trimmed to 5-3.

9:13PM CDT: Pennington with a solid double to left-center. Crisp is able to get to third but can’t score. Conor Jackson comes in to pinch hit for Sweeney with nobody out and men on second and third. Good opportunity to get back into this game. Also, I am little surprised by the lack of power from Jackson, I attributed the power numbers to his power (as a person really) being stunted by the valley fever, yet those numbers haven’t rebounded as I’d have expected despite some decent hitting from him this year. In other words, I am not waiting on a three-run homer.

9:09PM CDT: Coco Crisp with a leadoff single against new White Sox pitcher Chris Sale. Hopefully with a new pitcher the A’s can do something finally and get some runs home. They were able to get on base against Edwin Jackson but struggled to get runs across the plate despite a decent 3-for-9 with RISP as a club they have seven left on base. Strange because that is better than the White Sox have hit (2-for-8) yet the White Sox are clearly more adept at scoring tonight with a comparable six left on base themselves.

8:51PM CDT: Even the shift can’t contain Adam Dunn who singles it just past Weeks in shallow right field. So Wuertz allows both of his inherited runners to score. 35% of inherited runners have gone into score for the 2011 A’s and Wuertz is the second worst offender (50%) after Jerry Blevins (70%). White Sox make it a 5-2 lead and the A’s begin to stare down eleven straight L’s. Wuertz really messes up Graham Godfrey‘s night, he left the game with an ugly 6.23 ERA, then after Wuertz was through he owned a horrific 10.38 ERA.

8:49PM CDT: One of those inherited runners scores as Rios grounds out but its deep enough to score Quentin from third. White Sox pad their lead to 4-2.

8:45PM CDT: Nice final play of the outing for Godfrey as he aptly backed up the errant Ryan Sweeney throw and prevented Quentin from scoring on the A.J. Pierzynski hit. But, he hasn’t made things easy on himself tonight and in his four and a third innings of work, finds himself having allowed three earned runs off of nine hits (including the Konerko bomb) with two walks and two strikeouts. He remains responsible for the two men on base and Bob Melvin is going to have Michael Wuertz be the guy to try and leave them where they stand. Can’t expect a ton out of a guy in their MLB debut, but his outing wasn’t bad. He worked out a ton of trouble that was largely self-created, but ultimately that ran up the pitch count to 90 pitches.

8:41PM CDT: Well that doesn’t seem fair. But Scott Sizemore throws the ball to first, it hits Carlos Quentin and bounces down the line so A’s killer Alexei Ramirez scores and with that the White Sox again lead 3-2.

8:28PM CDT: There we go! Three up, three down for Godfrey. He’s settled in. They showed a graphic earlier that showed how he has struggled in the first inning this year before settling down and that seems to be the case tonight. Can’t blame the guy for having some jitters and nerves. As a 26 year old rookie who began the season off the 40-man roster, he had to be wondering if his shot would ever come.

8:12PM CDT: Graham Godfrey still has had the 1-2-3 inning elude him, but its another scoreless one – 13 pitches, 10 strikes. Slowly but surely.

8:06PM CDT: Ray Fosse is talking about the Flying Elvis’ at U.S. Cellular Field a few years ago. I was at that game! May 23rd, 2006. Javier Vazquez versus Kirk Saarloos. Two current A’s participated in that game, Mark Ellis who hit leadoff for Oakland and Brandon McCarthy who pitched two innings of relief for the White Sox. Flying Elvises are a must see. They parachute down from planes, with sparks flying behind them if I recall things correctly, and then just dance and sing Elvis on the field. Great fun on a nice warm night.

7:59PM CDT: Mr. I Love the Two Spot Cliff Pennington with an infield single scoring Jemile Weeks. A’s tie this thing up. The hope is that now with a tie maybe Godfrey can settle down a bit. A’s really need a win, and they’ve skated through some danger already tonight. It’d be good to see them just batten down at this point.

7:55PM CDT: Weeks can really fly. Ball got over Alex Rios‘ head then it was off to the races as Weeks turned on the after burners. This is his second triple of the year, the first one went unreported in the live blog because it was a ball lost in the lights at Oriole Park at Camden Yards initially ruled a three base E7, but yesterday they changed that, so Weeks has two three baggers on the year now. This is the first triple he’s been able to celebrate at the moment he got it.

7:52PM CDT: Jemile Weeks picks up his former teammate with a nice play off the ball that ricocheted off of Godfrey to end the inning and leave Brent Morel stranded at third. Any sort of dicey inning from Godfrey but an improvement, as he tosses an 18 pitch (11 strike) but most importantly scoreless second.

7:37PM CDT: So a shaky first inning ends well as Godfrey gets Gordon Beckham to swing and miss for strike three with the bases full of South Siders. The inning was a length one for Godfrey so it might be a taxing game on the bullpen and another opportunity to see how Melvin manages the pen because of his 36 pitches thrown (20 for strikes).

7:30PM CDT: First two outs came easy, but now two straight singles following the Konerko dinger. Can’t be easy starting you first MLB game, really can’t when you’re doing it for a club that has lost ten in a row…

7:27PM CDT: Welcome to the Majors Graham Godfrey. A walk to Carlos Quentin, first pitch to the next batter Paul Konerko, down the middle and well over the 376 mark in left center “knew it off the bat gone” home run. A’s are now down 2-1 – that was short lived.

7:19PM CDT: A single to left-field scores Cliff Pennington and the A’s take an early 1-0 lead. I like the idea of Pennington in the number two slot, even though you’d typically want someone with a higher OBP in that spot. I just am starting think that having someone like Pennington who can take a lot of pitches, has some speed. Gives us some extra options because we can’t wait for that three-run homer as Melvin said yesterday.

6:58PM CDT: Day two of the Bob Melvin era, and speaking of two’s it seems like Cliff Pennington is going to stick in the #2 spot in the lineup. Jane Lee of www.oaklandas.com tweeted,

“Melvin says Pennington a natural fit in the No. 2 slot. Expect him to get a long look there.”

That is where Pennington starts today. Apparently Melvin heard about the Daric Barton hitting sixth experiment working thus far, and he puts him there behind Hideki Matsui. Kurt Suzuki hits seventh and Scott Sizemore hits eighth playing third. Interestingly, no David DeJesus in the lineup – wonder what that means if anything? Pitching matchup pits the rookie making his Major League debut Graham Godfrey against Edwin Jackson. Godfrey is a Vanderbilt alum, and a former teammate on the 2008 California League champion Stockton Ports of Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill. A 34th Round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2004 Amateur Draft, he was acquired by the A’s along with fellow pitcher Kristian Bell in exchange for infielder Marco Scutaro in a trade on November 18th, 2007. So finally three and a half years later this trade will start paying some sort of dividend (Bell is no longer with the organization or in professional baseball). Edwin Jackson meanwhile hasn’t pitched as poorly as it looks, as he sports a 4.50 ERA but a career low 3.44 FIP. The 1.6 WAR pitcher has been a victim of poor luck as the BABIP of his opponents is a high .349.

Susan Slusser just had an interesting post in the Drumbeat. Rich Harden – remember him? – is throwing again and his arm has not yet fallen off. Slusser is aware of jokes like that because she wrote this,

“I look forward to the usual comments below pooh-poohing this notion, but Harden felt good, he had good late life on his fastball according to Adam Rosales and Bob Melvin, and he also was using his changeup for the first time as he comes back from that pesky muscle strain under his right arm. Harden first strained that muscle on reporting day, so it’s been almost four months.

Yes, he’s been fragile throughout his career, but when healthy, even just using fastball/change, Harden can be very effective, and the A’s need starters. Mock all you like, he might be a plus for Oakland in another few weeks or so.”

Also interesting in that same article, Slusser discusses Matsui’s status writing,

Hideki Matsui will be in the lineup every night, and today he said he finally got a chance to look at all the numbers – and Melvin was surprised to see that Matsui, who hadn’t started against a left-hander in more than a month until Melvin had him in Thursday, is hitting left-handers better than right-handers.”

Even more intriguing to me was this sort of throw away line but she added,

“Melvin noted that one thing that didn’t help Geren was the team’s lack of a prototypical No. 3 hitter. It sounds as if Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson might be in almost a platoon there.”

I found that interesting because, what team has a platoon in the number three spot? I mean it is one thing to have a platoon at seven, eight or nine. Or maybe a different leadoff guy here and there, but a number three spot? Wow, not sure I like that that is the case.

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