Live Blogging: Orioles @ A’s Game 121
10:03PM PEDT: Weeks flies out to center. Game over. With that loss they fall to 15 games below .500 but also, they fall behind the Mariners and into last place in the American League West presently a distant 16 games behind first place Texas, though that should turn into 16 1/2 should the Rangers finish off the Halos whom they currently lead 8-4 in the ninth. Gio Gonzalez melts down in the seventh. Fautino De Los Santos helps him out in that cause, A’s lose. All round stinker of a game.
9:56PM PDT: Cliff Pennington with a great at bat, eleven pitches before plunking one into left field. It’d be nice to see them make a run of it here in the ninth. Not holding my breath, but it would be nice.
9:51PM PDT: The Orioles closer Kevin Gregg is due to come in. Gregg quite certainly is one of the worst closers in all of baseball. While he has the intense look and freaky glasses, scarier still for O’s fans would be his 6.0 BB/9. The 4.20 ERA, 4.72 FIP pitcher has -0.2 WAR this year which is just funny. The guy whose job it is to lock down close tight games, a relatively important task, is performing at a level below what would be expected from some scrub being called up from the Norfolk Tides. He has eighteen shutdowns and eight meltdowns on the year so somehow he makes it all work out. This is a non-save situation, so he has some leeway.
9:45PM PDT: Trystan Magnuson gives up the 27th home run of Mark Reynolds‘ season. Magnuson came in with a 0.11 leverage index which is about par for the course for the level of tension he is injected into. Orioles 6, Athletics 2 as Kevin Gregg‘s agent curses Reynolds and Magnuson both for making this a non-save situation.
9:30PM PDT: Craig Breslow is in to pitch for the A’s. Seems his role is back to the doghouse he found himself earlier this year following a really bad start – pitching more in games where the A’s are behind. His ERA at 4.32 is bad, but his FIP is better than it has been since joining the A’s at 3.37 and his 0.4 WAR matches the WAR he put up in a full 2009 (0.6 WAR came with Oakland that year while -0.2 WAR came with Minnesota) and in his 2010 campaign as well. That said, while his advanced stats might be good his timing for having bad numbers is not good at all he has only seven shutdowns to nine meltdowns. This explains why the eyeball will tell you Breslow is having a terrible year. Tough call on this one as to whether or not his year is good or not.
9:27PM PDT: Tommy Hunter got himself into a wee bit of trouble, allowing an Eric Sogard single before walking Coco and being removed by Buck Showalter. Showalter elected to go with Mike Gonzalez the lefty to face Hideki Matsui (not sure why when Matsui has hit most of his home runs off southpaws and this is a situation where he could tie it with a lone swing of the bat). Matsui swung first pitch and flew out so any concerns were rendered moot.
9:11PM PDT: Josh Bell bounces one up the middle into center field and two runs score. Orioles up 5-2. What a miserable inning, what a miserable week, what a miserable year!
9:08PM PDT: After predictably striking out Reynolds, Robert Andino on his first pitch (a 96 mph fastball up) doubles it over the head of Coco Crisp scoring two runs. Orioles lead 3-2 now, Gio is currently on the hook for the loss.
9:03PM PDT: Gio walks Wieters to load the bases with nobody out. Bob Melvin goes to his pen to get Fautino De Los Santos (remarkable how his usage has changed – this is most definitely not the low-leverage situation that he had been utilized in previously). FDLS still has crazy cool and fun K/9 rates: 11.2 and he is facing a guy who could assist him in raising that rate in Mark Reynolds (29.8% K%).
8:53PM PDT: Brandon Allen with his second straight three-hit ballgame. Could we have our answer at first base (yes, I know, small sample size – but people can get excited still!)?
8:47PM PDT: This game is in hyperdrive compared to some we have seen lately. Through six and a half the O’s have been held to the one run coming on the Wieters HR and one other hit. Gio has been solid but not dominant, walking two and K’ing four, up to 94 pitches, I’d assume the next would be his last followed by the typical Grant Balfour to Andrew Bailey sequence.
7:45PM PDT: Pennington singles to left and it plates DeJesus. A’s get the lead 2-1.
7:43PM PDT: Base-hit for Brandon Allen. The A’s have shown you can play you way into this lineup (Weeks) and take advantage of another guy’s injury (in Weeks’ case it was Mark Ellis on the DL). Conor Jackson‘s job could be in jeopardy if Allen continues to hit this way. He hasn’t been a dead pull hitter either showing some opposite field hits here tonight and yesterday as well.
7:29PM PDT: Wieters is the early star of this game, hits it way deep half way up the concrete “batter’s eye” thing in center field. I can’t believe the Orioles are third in the AL in home runs, ahead of even the Rangers. Who’d a thunk that? Orioles 1, A’s 0.
7:22PM PDT: At least Jemile is sliding with his feet first. Matt Wieters had Jemile out by a mile. Why can’t our catchers do that?
7:19PM PDT: Jemile Weeks leads off the game with a single for the A’s. It’d be nice to get ahead early and keep it that way. O’s are second worst team in baseball (only Astros are worse) and worst in the AL, take advantage! Score early! Score often!
6:58PM PDT: A’s and the last-place Orioles start their three game set at the O.com Coliseum tonight. Gio Gonzalez takes the hill for the A’s, he has struggled as of late but on the year has a 3.23 ERA and a 3.53 FIP. The 2.5 WAR Gonzalez has featured 9.0 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. Strangely in the last 30 days the ERA has been completely off the handle at 6.35 but the FIP has been an improved 3.19 as he has been victimized by a .388 BABIP. But the other interesting thing that I’ve much observed before, is the strange inverse relationship Gio has between K’s and BB’s, where when the K’s come down the BB’s go up and vice versa – last 30 days: 9.9 K/9 but 5.4 BB/9. He faces Tommy Hunter, formerly of the Texas Rangers who came to the O’s in a deadline deal that sent Koji Uehara to Texas and Hunter and Chris Davis back east to Baltimore. In his split time this year Hunter has 4.3 K/9 but pinpoint control with 1.7 BB/9. His ERA therefore is a messy 4.67 but his FIP is a tidy 3.19. This is his third start of the year, all of them have been since he joined the Orioles. To face Hunter the A’s have a pretty typical lineup through the top four before featuring David DeJesus hitting fifth, Brandon Allen hitting sixth, Cliff Pennington hitting seventh. At the bottom of the lineup is Eric Sogard, playing third base tonight.