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Live Blogging: A’s @ Yankees Game 100

July 23, 2011

4:51PM EDT: A’s win! Liza Minelli will be playing at Yankee Stadium (I can’t believe people are calling the new one “the Stadium” – the old one was, had a bunch of opportunities to see a game there and what a magical place it was) because she’s on when the Yankees lose, and they lose today as Cano bounces out to Sizemore. A’s end their eleven game losing streak against the Yankees, after making it interesting in the ninth, well over three hours before this thing started. How on earth a nine inning 4-3 ballgame can last around three hours and forty-eight minutes is beyond me. A Seattle loss in Boston this evening gives the A’s sole possession of third place in the AL West.

4:48PM EDT: Teixeira hits it deep enough to right field to score Gardner from third and let Jeter advance to third. The Yankees are a wild pitch or passed ball away from tying this (gulp). But on that pitch it could’ve been much worse. Yankees cut the lead to 4-3, Robinson Cano due up…

4:47PM EDT: Yankees pull off a double steal as Granderson strikes out. Wow. Aggressive baseball. Yankees aren’t afraid. Can’t blame them, because any of their hitters coming up is basically a runner in scoring position with their power. Now the tying run (Jeter) is in scoring position at second.

4:45PM EDT: Derek Jeter with his patented inside out swing into right field. Gardner didn’t run hard off first so couldn’t take advantage off of the DeJesus stumble. First and second, no one out. Jeter represents the tying run. Granderson at the plate the go-ahead.

4:42PM EDT: Brett Gardner works a walk against Bailey. That guy sees more pitches than most in baseball, last year he led this year he is 6th at 4.24. Four Yankees in top twelve – this is why their games are long and this is why they are dangerous: Granderson (1st – 4.50), Swisher (9th – 4.20), Teixeira (12th – 4.05).

4:37PM EDT: A’s load the bases nothing to show for it so Bailey will come in to face the top of the order with a two run lead. Should be more than enough to hang on. Can’t allow baserunners.

4:32PM EDT: Again with two outs the A’s rally. Willingham singles, DeJesus and Sizemore walk. Bases loaded for Ryan Sweeney - all against the All-Star David Robertson who came into today’s game with an amazing 1.6 WAR from a middle reliever.

4:18PM EDT: Balfour gets a 6-4-3 inning ending double play from Posada. A’s hold on. Prior to this Posada was 4-for-4 versus his former AL East foe. Ninth inning, nice to get an additional run or two and lock this thing up. The A’s have their 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Speaking of their #4 hitter Josh Willingham, whose days appear as if they are numbered with the A’s, I spoke with Indians blog Did the Tribe Win Last Night? about the A’s trade pieces and the rumors associated with them making a move with Cleveland. Cool blog, check out what I think about the two teams making a deal.

4:15PM EDT: Balfour has been less than sharp and after Nunez fails to bunt the two runners to second and third. Yankees go with a pinch-hitter for Laird: Jorge Posada. Brian Fuentes is up in the pen and there is talk putting Fuentes in to move him around to the opposite side of the plate. I just don’t like that idea at all. It appears as though Melvin will leave Balfour in to face Posada though so all is good.

4:08PM EDT: Balfour walks Swisher on four pitches. Amazingly the A’s have walked six batters yet have not had any come around to score. Don’t get away with that often. Also as an aside, the length of these games with the Yankees just kills me. Bottom of the eighth nobody out and we’re already at three hours plus. The Yankees take a lot of pitches which is great strategically but these games just are painfully slow.

4:03PM EDT: Weeks really is the guy you want up with a runner in scoring position. Entering this game he has an amazing .414/.419/.483 slash line with RISP. Today he is 1-for-2 with RISP.

4:01PM EDT: Brett Gardner‘s fun day in left field continues. Conor Jackson doubles with one out. Nice to get him home somehow and add on one more insurance run for Balfour and Bailey.

3:54PM EDT: Inning should be over. Poor job defensively by the A’s – blame lays mostly with the coaching staff. Conor Jackson with the shift on, should be prepared to get the ball at first. Weeks got the ball well in the hole due to the shift but CoJax who went for it initially couldn’t get back to first to get the throw. Meanwhile Balfour needs to be assigned some blame too, just stood on the mound basically giving Teixeira first base unchallenged. Whoever coaches the infield (Mike Gallego, I think?) should’ve had CoJax tied closer to first. Jeter doesn’t score, so no harm but you don’t want to give New York extra outs.

3:49PM EDT: With a runner on second, Breslow K’s Curtis Granderson, but Melvin wants Grant Balfour to extinguish Teixeira. I am little surprised that they want Teixeira to hit from the left side just because of the way Yankee Stadium favors left-handed hitters, but it seems that Melvin is most afraid of the home run. Teixeira hits home runs from the right side more often than the left. He has a weird split:

  HR BA OBP SLG
as LHB vs. RHP 18 .224 .342 .492
as RHB vs. LHP 8 .281 .336 .509

3:42PM EDT: After a shaky outing last night, Breslow is in to face the top of the Yankees order. A’s have a little more leeway this inning. This lineup still scares the crap out of me and should most pitchers as well.

3:37PM EDT: Never a reason to slide into first base. Only slows you. I think if DeJesus runs through Mark Teixeira might not have gotten him. We’ll never know. Still don’t like to see guys dive into first. Run full speed, you can run through. Teixeira lunged and dove, good play by him, but I think an upright DeJesus is tougher to do that with. Maybe still clips an ankle or calf?

3:34PM EDT: Go me on that prediction? Matsui drills it to right-field. Home run. A’s 4, Yankees 2.

3:33PM EDT: Lefty Boone Logan in for the Yankees to face 3-4-5 hitters. Matsui has hit all but one of his home runs against left-handed pitchers this season. Nice to see them pick up another insurance run here.

3:28PM EDT: Answer to the seventh inning question appears to be Craig Breslow working in the pen. Showcasing him for the Yankees who allegedly are interested? Meanwhile Ziegler loses Nunez on a 3-2.

3:22PM EDT: Nick Swisher takes his former teammate DEEP to right field. Doesn’t matter if there is a short porch or not on that one. Hits the facing above the second deck down there. Yankees cut the lead back to one, it is 3-2 Oakland – insurance run already looms large. This also will mark the end of Harden’s afternoon as Ziegler will be summoned from the bullpen. It’ll be interesting to see what Melvin does with the seventh inning now should the A’s hold the lead. More than one from Ziegler? More than one from Balfour? Or does he trust the “anti-sweat lotion” that has been given to Joey Devine to aid his grip on the baseball?

3:21PM EDT: Harden comes out for the bottom of the sixth. Great news for the A’s beleaguered bullpen.

3:14PM EDT: Jemile Weeks comes through with a bloop single off of Wade right in front of former Athletic Nick Swisher. Scores one and everyone else moves up a base. A’s get a key insurance run and lead 3-1. Brad Ziegler is warming in the pen, which makes me guess that he is coming in for the bottom half of the inning, makes me wonder how we piece together this win. Joey Devine has been the sort of go-to seventh inning guy but he struggled big-time yesterday and also in Detroit. Michael Wuertz also seems completely unreliable. Could Balfour go two? Or Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey split three innings?

3:10PM EDT: A.J. Burnett is beginning to get unglued here and Joe Girardi doesn’t want to see any more of him. Gets two outs, then he allows a single to Swingles, walks CoJax and Powell to load ‘em up. Yankees new pitcher will be Cory Wade. In twelve appearances so far in 2011 Wade has a great 1.32 ERA aided by a sky-high 94.8% strand rate and .222 BABIP. His FIP is more telling at 3.19, though his peripherals look good.

2:55PM EDT: Really important inning from Rich Harden in the bottom of the fifth. Melvin and the A’s needed a short inning, Harden delivered, 12-pitch inning allowed a hit to Jeter but left him stuck on first.

2:41PM EDT: Very good point by Ray Fosse regarding Brett Gardner “if you’re going to play shallow you better be able to get back on the ball”. Gardner wasn’t, Weeks ends up on second.

2:37PM EDT: Harden takes care of business strikes out Laird – salvages the A’s lead.

2:34PM EDT: Harden loses Eduardo Nunez 3-2, bases loaded. Four walks, four strikeouts. Pitch count at 83 is high for three and two-thirds, just 46 strikes. High pitch count spells trouble for Bob Melvin and working with his tired bullpen.

2:29PM EDT: Big strikeout for Rich Harden getting Martin swinging, especially after losing Nick Swisher 3-2.

1:59PM EDT: There is no way that typical jump across the body throw from Jeter we’ve grown accustomed to seeing beat DeJesus… waiting for the television crew to show a replay. DeJesus should be hot under the collar over that one on first glance.

1:58PM EDT: A’s take back the lead. Josh Willingham takes him deep to left-center field into the bullpen out there. That is a long way. Number thirteen on the year for him and the A’s lead 2-1 as it scores Hideki Matsui. Hope all the scouts in attendance for the numerous clubs rumored to be interested in Willingham caught that one. Destroyed it. Real nice looking swing.

1:54PM EDT: Can’t really fault Jemile Weeks on that pickoff. Also you can’t credit Burnett that much with it either. Weeks slipped, that was the difference. No slip, no out.

1:46PM EDT: One Canadian singles off another as Russell Martin with a chopper up the middle, scores Robinson Cano and gives the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

1:35PM EDT: A’s need to take advantage of the fact that Brandon Laird didn’t tag Scott Sizemore out going from second to third. Ball was in front of him. Could’ve cut down the lead runner but the rookie Laird (game number two of his career) tossed out Conor Jackson running to first. Powell needs a single to get Sizemore home, make the Yankees pay for their rare mental error.

1:24PM EDT: Not an easy play for David DeJesus stealing a sure double, possible triple from Derek Jeter. He is really fun to watch in the field. Surprised he is rated as a barely above average fielder, because I think he is so much better than that. I am never sure where I stand on advanced fielding metrics.

1:01PM EDT: The A’s and Yankees square off again this afternoon under the hot Bronx sun and both teams I think are hoping this game isn’t the lengthy contest that last night’s game was. Bob Melvin in particular has to be hoping for a long outing from Rich Harden who takes the hill in his fourth start of 2011, after utilizing six different relievers in last night’s match. Harden has been uneven in his three starts, with a very strong 8.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 coupled with a messy 2.0 HR/9. He has an even 5.00 ERA and a 4.64 FIP. The Athletics’ lineup today isn’t anything too different, with two backups starting, Ryan Sweeney gets the nod in center today hitting 7th and Landon Powell is at the bottom of the order and playing catcher. They will face A.J. Burnett, who has struggled his past two seasons in New York. While last year he was a monumental disaster, this year he hasn’t been great but has also not been disastrous on the mound for the Bombers posting a 4.19 ERA with a slightly worse 4.57 FIP. He has been worth 0.9 WAR in 2011, as his K/9 (7.5), BB/9 (4.2) and HR/9 (1.2) are all worse than his career average (8.2, 3.8 and 0.9 respectively). A’s look to snap an eleven game losing streak versus New York that stretches back to April 22nd of last year – the infamous Dallas Braden “Get Off My Mound” game. Both participants in that altercation find themselves on the disabled list today.

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