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Live Blogging: A’s @ Tigers Game 98

July 20, 2011

10:23PM EDT: 96 mph hour fastball safely in the glove of Kurt Suzuki after Miguel Cabrera waved at it. Game over. Hideki Matsui hits home run #500 (finally!), A’s win, all in all a good night. Joey Devine after relinquishing the lead, gets picked up by his teammates and earns the win (again, pitcher wins are so stupid, see this as to why) and the A’s send their former teammate David Purcey home with a loss as he walks all three batters he faces and all come around to score (one can argue reliever’s losses are well earned?). A’s get another off day tomorrow before they head to New York to take on the Evil Empire over the weekend.

10:21PM EDT: I would pitch to Miguel Cabrera here. Sure he can beat you with one swing, but if he does in fact “beat us” with one swing, it will result in this game being tied 7-7. That to me makes a lot more sense than intentionally walking him and facing Victor Martinez who also can beat you with one swing (albeit less likely) but his one swing would result in an 8-7 Tigers win.

10:17PM EDT: With the A’s unable to add an insurance run in the top of the ninth it is Andrew Bailey time. He is in to hold a two run lead after set up man Grant Balfour did his work in the eighth – textbook the way the club should be doing it. Bailey faces the top of the Tigers order as he looks to get save number ten on the year. For stats that matter he comes in with ten shutdowns to three meltdowns.

10:12PM EDT: I sure hope that Cliff Pennington does not have a green light to steal – or actually maybe I do, because I don’t know what it would say if the coaches are directing him to go like this. The reason being is with that caught stealing Pennington is now a miserable 6-for-14 on the year. In order to make steals worthwhile, you must be stealing at a success rate of 75% or higher, Pennington is shy of that by a little over 30% as he is a stealing at just a 42.9% rate. He owns the worst success rate for anyone with as many attempts as him.

10:02PM EDT: Glen Kuiper on the Mariners, “they’re just in a free fall and with that game they’re just a game above the Athletics.” This will never capture the inflection of how he said that, but it was priceless. It was basically translation, “the Mariners are so bad, they are nearly as bad as this team you are tuning into right now that employs me!” Love the honesty though Glen.

9:50PM EDT: Nice at-bat from Sogard though it ended in a strikeout (on a nasty slide piece). I love those lefties who like throw their whole body into the throw and fall off the mound like Furbush does – Brett Anderson sort of is that way. BrooksBaseball.net can show us the battle, but pitch #2 was a mean curve.

9:42PM EDT: The subject of some trade rumors, Charlie Furbush is in to pitch for the Tigers. The southpaw has 7.5 K/9 with 3.7 BB/9 and a high 1.6 HR/9. He has been worth -0.2 WAR, with a 4.03 ERA and 5.10 FIP. Speaking of trades and the Tigers, before the game they acquired Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for two minor leaguers (neither big-time prospects), for A’s fans this is good news as one club rumored to be interested in him was the Angels. The 0.4 WAR Betemit, has put up a .281/.341/.409 slash line but became expendable as Kansas City brought up their super-prospect Mike Moustakas.

9:40PM EDT: Breslow throws three pitches and gets Martinez to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play – inning over.

9:36PM EDT: Sometimes your best laid plans go to waste – Ziegler allows hits to Ordonez and Cabrera, so Craig Breslow will come into face the switch-hitting Martinez. Funny seeing Powell and Kurt Suzuki on the mound simultaneously, must be a little strange for them to be there together.

9:34PM EDT: Like seeing Brad Ziegler to face the heart of the Tigers lineup. Brennan Boesch, Ordonez and Cabrera are all right-handed, so having the groundball inducing ROOGY Ziegler in really makes a lot of sense to neutralize a formidable three.

9:29PM EDT: Tigers bullpen not looking good. CoJax gets an opposite field hit to right. Scores Pennington from third, A’s tack on, 7-5.

9:27PM EDT: Great night for Matsui, gets his third RBI as Coco scores on the single to right. A’s make the Tigers pay for the walks as all three come around to score. Athletics 6, Tigers 5.

9:23PM EDT: Sacrifice fly for Willingham. Game is tied again! Glad to see it if for no other reason it gets McCarthy off the hook. He has taken so many stupid losses this year along with so many games that should’ve been wins but weren’t, it is nice to see him not take anymore.

9:22PM EDT: Nice work by Cliff Pennington to just poke it into right field over the head of Guillen. Powell scores. Lead is cut to 5-4. Bases still loaded nobody out. Willingham is up – show off for those scouts.

9:17PM EDT: Make that three walks (and zero outs)! Coco Crisp gets a free pass as well and Leyland can’t get out to the mound soon enough, it will be Joaquin Benoit coming in for Detroit as they look to cling to their 5-3 lead.

9:14PM EDT: Two straight walks from Purcey. The second of the four-pitch variety to Sogard. A’s look to make something happen and get back some of these runs.

9:10PM EDT: New pitcher for the Tigers is David Purcey. Purcey of course was with the A’s earlier this year prior to being traded to Detroit in the deal that snagged the A’s Scott Sizemore. Overall in his time with three clubs he has ended up with 5.9 K/9 to 5.6 BB/9 (not a ratio any of those three clubs would be pleased with), a 4.22 ERA and a 4.34 FIP for a grand total -0.1 WAR year. Interestingly his best time was in pitcher-friendly Oakland where he was worth 1.0 WAR to his 0.0 WAR in Toronto and his -0.1 WAR in Detroit.

9:03PM EDT: Kelly gets a sac fly. VMart scores. Tigers expand the lead to 5-3. What a mess.

9:02PM EDT: Joey Devine walks Alex Avila. The mess grows larger as it is now bases loaded no one out.

8:58PM EDT: Victor Martinez promptly doubles and scores two. Devine’s inherited runners scoring percentage promptly jumps to a higher than the team average 42.3% and the Tigers take the lead for the first time tonight 4-3.

8:54PM EDT: No 1-2-3 inning as Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera get back-to-back singles. Bob Melvin has seen enough of Brandon McCarthy despite his only going 5+ on 85 pitches. While not a great outing, I didn’t think this was so terrible as to not let him try and solve this problem. But it will be Joey Devine in to fix things. Devine has been good with inherited runners scoring allowing on 20.0% to reach home (1-of-5) – far better than the club average which is 31.5% (35-of-111).

8:50PM EDT: The A’s need to keep everything cool having gained the lead. McCarthy needs a 1-2-3 inning so as to not go through the psychological pain that comes with blowing a lead like before.

8:45PM EDT: New pitcher for the Tigers is Lester Oliveros. The 23 year old right-handed rookie, is appearing in his seventh game. In six and a third innings, he has some pretty bad peripherals (mind you, it is six and a third innings): 2.8 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. His 55.6% strand rate has helped his ERA climb to 5.68 but his lack of a home run allowed keeps his FIP at a much more managable 3.75.

8:41PM EDT: 500!! Hideki Matsui hits his 500th home run in professional baseball split between Japan and America. 168 of them coming stateside and of those seven coming with the A’s. He hits it off the foul pole, but what a great accomplishment for someone who seems like a real class act. Below surrenders the first HR of his career and a milestone shot it is. It also will end his first career start as Jim Leyland looks to make a change.

8:30PM EDT: The A’s want to trade Willingham – everyone knows this, shoot for all his denials Willingham himself knows this. How are we going to get anything in return if the night all the scouts are watching you strike out twice against a guy who has faced a total of 3 (first K) and 21 (second K) batters in his career? In fact, Willingham represents 100% of Below’s strikeouts. Frustrating.

8:22PM EDT: Nice play by both Eric Sogard and Brandon McCarthy to back up Powell who lets a ball past him on a dive at first to get Carlos Guillen out. I haven’t been high on Sogard but he really is a solid capable player, great play to get behind that ball, but a lot of credit is owed to McCarthy too who hustled over there and made a good play.

8:05PM EDT: Base hit up the middle from Magglio Ordonez scores Austin Jackson. Game tied. Frustrating when this happens. McCarthy has been a sore luck loser a lot but this inning was all his doing – it happens.

8:00PM EDT: Ramon Santiago ground out scores Kelly from third. Tigers halve the lead to 2-1. Though interrupted by a two year stint in Seattle, Santiago is one of two Tigers remaining from the 2003 debacle when the Tigers went 43-119 and were only saved from not having the worst record in the 162 game schedule history by winning five of their last six.

7:56PM EDT: Don Kelly gets a triple in triples alley in right center field. Once a ball gets there it is a triple for anyone except Landon Powell, who likely would manage a very long single? McCarthy works himself into a mess with a leadoff triple here in the bottom half of the third inning. I’m sure I could look it up or calculate it, but it seems the A’s don’t do very well in the inning following their scoring – which psychologically is just terrible.

7:50PM EDT: Hideki Matsui legs out an infield hit! Powell scores on it! Perhaps one of the slowest motion plays in Athletics history. Athletics 2, Tigers 0.

7:48PM EDT: …and they all watch Duane Below notch his first career strikeout.

7:46PM EDT: Bases are loaded for Josh Willingham. All eyes in Comerica Park, particularly the scouts from Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are watching…

7:39PM EDT: Eric Sogard grounds out deep to second base so DeJesus scores and the A’s take an early 1-0 lead on the first runs scored against Below in his career, incidentally on the first RBI of Sogard’s career.

7:38PM EDT: Landon Powell with a base hit clear into left center, moves David DeJesus to third. DeJesus got on board on a Carlos Guillen error, the first baserunner in Duane Below‘s career. Now Powell, the first hit in Below’s career, gets him to third. A’s need to capitalize on the error, first and third nobody out, can’t repeat yesterday’s mistake of not scoring in this situation (yesterday was even worse with the bases loaded).

7:22PM EDT: Great catch from Austin Jackson to rob Conor Jackson of a double. On these catches where the guy seemingly comes out of nowhere on the screen as did Jackson, I sometimes wonder if the fact that the camera wasn’t following him makes the catch look more improbable than it was?

7:10PM EDT: Three up, three down for Duane Below in his debut. I guess these days if you are going to make a debut you might as well as a pitcher hope for it to be against the 2011 A’s. Today you don’t even have to face all the 2011 A’s starters! This kid could earn an extension after he pitches a near perfect game in his debut! The CSNCalifornia crew commented on how Below grew up a Tigers fan and went to games as a kid. Below is 25 years old, so his first game was likely at Tiger Stadium (the best place ever to watch a baseball game but that’s a whole other post) and that is the true sad story in all of these debuts these days. Aside from the statistical odds of being signed by your hometown team, making the Majors, etc – with all the new stadiums how many kids actually get to start in the stadium they first went to? Very few, I imagine.

7:01PM EDT: It is hot and hazy in my wonderful hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Brandon McCarthy takes the hill for the A’s, he has been the best A’s pitcher this year coming into this matchup with 2.4 WAR. McCarthy has been hurt by a high BABIP (.319), low strand rate (63.7%) and minimal run support (3.6 RS/GS) which lead to a 2-5 record and his ability to go under the radar despite a stellar season. He has however kept walks to a minimum (1.4 BB/9) as well as home runs (0.3 HR/9) giving him a great 2.62 FIP. He takes the mound against a kid making his MLB debut, Duane Below. Below (pronounced Bee-low), is a native of southeast Michigan and will face a very weird Athletics lineup particularly in the infield: Conor Jackson at third, Eric Sogard at second, Landon Powell at first. Below has spent 2011 with the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League, where he has a 3.13 ERA and 4.21 FIP while having 6.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. elmaquino permalink
    July 21, 2011 12:35 am

    Hey, I remember you had something earlier this year about TLR’s bunting success (or something like that) and you looked up every time his teams bunted (very fuzzy recollection)

    anyway, can you look up when teams attempt suicide squeezes? if so, how? thanks…

    • July 21, 2011 8:49 am

      I used Fangraphs’ game logs after using Baseball Reference to find the sacrifices. That said what I did didn’t measure sacrifice bunt success rates (i.e. say a guy tried to move runners over but popped out to the pitcher) it measured the win probability added to successful sacrifices. I assume you could find successful squeeze plays by looking at play logs and figuring out the circumstances but can’t see how you’d differentiate between suicide or safety squeezes or find ones that didn’t meet their objectives which instead I think would appear a’s things like “grounded out the catcher” etc

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