Live Blogging: Twins @ A’s Game 106
10:15PM PDT: Perkins strikes out both Pennington and Weeks so Gardenhire’s thinking worked there. A’s fall to the Twinkies. Bad way to open the series. Michael Wuertz just looks awful lately, he is just begging to have that option bought out. Wonder if the A’s can unload him at this point, his trade value has to have absolutely plummeted. Gio Gonzalez didn’t look good either, but Francisco Liriano did and that’s all for tonight another bad loss.
10:09PM PDT: Terrible strike three call on Kurt Suzuki. He was right to jaw with the home plate ump a bit on that. BrooksBaseball.net‘s Pitch f/x shows us just how off the plate this pitch was. Terrible call. Despite the “K”, Gardenhire is putting in the lefty reliever Glen Perkins to turn around Pennington and Weeks (and potentially Coco).
10:05PM PDT: Alex Burnett who warmed up earlier when Francisco Liriano ran into some trouble, comes into the game now. He like Mijares is not very good though he has some very unique stats. On the year Burnett has an awful 6.15 ERA, but perhaps he is the American League’s most unlucky pitcher as his FIP is an average 3.91. He has a 60.2% strand rate, a .330 BABIP despite a 47.2% GB%. Strange numbers.
9:59PM PDT: Trystan Magnuson comes in, the leverage index is: 0.05 – Magnuson has by far Oakland’s least pressure situations with his gLI on the year a microscopic 0.15. Magnuson has not pitched much but when he has pitched it generally hasn’t won many admirers as his 8.59 ERA can attest. His FIP is still ugly at 5.71 but that is largely due to his problems with the long balls (2.5 HR/9 and an 18.2% HR/FB ratio).
9:53PM PDT: Are the scouts watching? Atlanta is rumored to be looking for an outfielder. Josh Willingham tightens this game up to 9-5 with a three-run shot of his own, his second dinger of the game. I said Mijares was a “run allower” still have four to go for the A’s to tie this thing up though as its still Twins 9, Athletics 5. All of the A’s runs tonight are care of Willingham HRs.
9:47PM PDT: Liriano’s night is through as Gardenhire goes to Jose Mijares in relief. Mijares isn’t having a great year with a 5.47 ERA, the FIP is a cleaner 4.39 mind you though having not given up a home run this year his xFIP is a nasty 6.26. He might not be good, but he likely isn’t give up seven runs right here bad.
9:40PM PDT: Not to outdo himself Wuertz now hits Luke Hughes taking out both batter and somehow his catcher too in the process. Finally Melvin removes him and the A’s official give up hope by summoning Brian Fuentes with Tolbert (S) and Butera (R) due up. Granted not the most scary hitters on earth but this guy has no business facing any right-handed hitters these days.
9:34PM PDT: There is a school of thought that says any intentional walk really is counterproductive, because in all but a few situations it inevitably leads to more runs. This is a school of thought that I subscribe to. Michael Wuertz intentionally walked Joe Mauer to face Michael Cuddyer, who just hit his 16th home run of 2011 over the center field wall for a three-run shot. Makes the game all but over at 9-2 Minnesota.
9:30PM PDT: Michael Wuertz is now in for the A’s, and he again doesn’t look so great giving up a run-scoring single to Trevor Plouffe (who has scored twice, and driven in two so he’s been a part of a lot of the scoring tonight) that scores Butera. Twins are up 6-2 now. The bullpen has been pretty shaky as of late. This game isn’t particularly entertaining – slowish pace, not much happening really.
9:03PM PDT: DeJesus grounds into a double play to end the threat. While there is a part of me that realizes that DeJesus will regress to the mean versus southpaws – there is another part of me that says screw it just bench him versus lefties. Not sure with this non-existant bench we have right now how you exactly do that. Landon Powell at first with Conor Jackson in right?
9:00PM PDT: A’s are threatening and Ron Gardenhire has Alex Burnett up throwing in the pen. Liriano is just at 79 pitches as Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson goes to the mound to talk with Francisco Liriano. First and second no outs. Good chance for the A’s to get back into this thing.
8:44PM PDT: Two straight walks. One to Drew Butera to load ‘em up and then one to Ben Revere to give the Twinkies their fifth run of the night. Bob Melvin doesn’t need to see anymore and thankfully after 112 pitches removes Gio Gonzalez from the game with the Twins holding a 5-2 lead. Fautino De Los Santos is due to come into the game, still has gaudy strikeout numbers at 13.1 K/9.
8:39PM PDT: Gio up to 102 pitches. It is games like this that make me question the “the only thing the pitchers control is walks, strikeouts and home runs theory”. Gio looks bad, he looks hittable, and so far with nine hits allowed now with Tolbert singling al he has been hittable. Whereas the defense-independent stats will say this game is looking good at a 1.68 FIP the 5.06 ERA really feels a lot more like how this game has gone. Ultimately it is hard to say where the pitcher stops and the defense begins, but that sort of thing creeps into your mind more on games like this.
8:31PM PDT: 13 down only 44 to go before Cliff Pennington breaks Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak. Quite a ways to go – still nice to see Penny hit in thirteen straight with that single there off Liriano.
8:19PM PDT: Plouffe singles it up the middle. Revere’s stolen base – which he had a bad jump on, and where a good throw, even just an OK throw would’ve got him – turns into a run. Twins 4, A’s 2.
8:18PM PDT: Another terrible throw from Suzuki to try and get Revere at second. He is overthrowing the base, but it is almost as if he is throwing sliders down to second. These throws keep ending up on the shortstop side of the bag.
8:16PM PDT: What a bizarre bunt from Ben Revere. Bunts it over Gio’s head for a single. It was a “line drive bunt” if that makes any sense.
8:08PM PDT: Leadoff double for Hideki Matsui, just rips it down the left field line. A’s need to take advantage. Willingham can show off for the scouts and drive him home.
7:48PM PDT: A’s defense strikes again as it is back-to-back errors from Scott Sizemore and Gio Gonzalez result in men on the corners with no outs to start the third. Ray Fosse just said “you can’t do that with the Twins”, you really can’t afford to do that with anybody!
7:34PM PDT: Nice pitch from Gio, but way off the mark throw up the third base line from Zuk that allows Matt Tolbert a stolen base. Tolbert picks his spots well as he is 16-of-20 in his career with that steal, but he isn’t exactly a speedy guy that is sixteen steals in 216 career games. With a pitch straight down the middle, you’d think Suzuki could at least make it close.
7:26PM PDT: Swinging 3-0 and Willingham launches it to left-field. Liriano just was throwing that over, wow that got pulverized. Ties it up with Coco Crisp on base 2-2 ballgame. Haven’t heard many rumors about Willingham as of late after a flurry of reports linking him to the Phillies, Braves and Pirates. When talking with another blog about Willingham as a trade target for the Indians, I speculated that once Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence were dealt that could end the logjam and teams would start being really interested in more scrap heap material like Crisp or Willingham, it’ll be interesting to see if with less than two days left that comes to fruition.
7:17PM PDT: I thought that Jason Kubel just seems to kill Gio Gonzalez but really he doesn’t. With that double he is now 3-for-10 against Gio with a home run – that home run coming in that crazy game on July 20th of 2009 where the A’s game back to beat Minnesota 14-13 after trailing 12-2 at one point with 11 of those runs coming off Gio (all earned). Regardless this double plates two (Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer). Mauer looked like he could’ve been thrown out, but Kurt Suzuki couldn’t get the ball it bounced away and the run goes up on the board. A more fleet-of-foot outfielder than Josh Willingham I think would’ve gotten to that ball anyhow rendering the rest moot anyhow. A’s trail 2-0.
7:01PM PDT: Two young flame-throwing southpaws face each other today in Francisco Liriano and Gio Gonzalez. The Twins believe themselves to be buyers coming up to the trade deadline, allegedly looking for relief help despite a 49-56 record and being six and a half games out. Liriano, a guy often talked about as a major trade piece this past offseason, like the Twins has been disappointing with a 4.13 FIP, career low 7.6 K/9 and a career high 5.0 BB/9. The A’s lineup has Coco Crisp back in playing center and hitting second, and otherwise is not particularly noteworthy except that inexplicably David DeJesus is still hitting as high as sixth versus a left-handed pitcher despite his struggles against them in 2011.