Live Blogging: Orioles @ A’s Game 122
10:02PM EDT: A’s win (finally!)! In the top of the eighth inning in Seattle the Blue Jays lead the M’s 13-7 so if they can hold on the A’s will regain possession of third place. Good game from everyone. Brandon Allen continues to make a very crystal clear argument for being the starting first baseman for the remainder of the year, and a good outing from Guillermo Moscoso who continues to mystify me and confuse me and of whom I just don’t know what to think of anymore. Do it again tomorrow!
9:59PM EDT: The game is 8-4. In typical fashion of when closers come into laughers, a lead-off double by Guerrero comes around to score on a chopper up the middle by Andino that goes for an infield hit.
9:54PM EDT: Don’t like the move to put in Andrew Bailey with a five-run lead in the ninth. No point to it. Why not put Billings (who was warming up alongside Bailey) in? Great and presumably valuable experience facing three decent hitters in Guerrero, Wieters and Reynolds. No need to go to the closer here, waste of resources.
9:47PM EDT: Kurt Suzuki flies one out to the warning track in left and Allen trots home. A’s add on even more insurance, 8-3.
9:39PM EDT: Brandon Allen hits a triple (career first!) to the right field corner while testing the arm of Markakis (no slouch). There is increasingly no way Bob Melvin can justify putting Conor Jackson in the lineup when his neck feels better which as per Susan Slusser in today’s A’s Drumbeat,
“[The A's]‘re looking at Thursday for his return”
9:25PM EDT: Hideki Matsui had been the only A’s hitter sans a walk or hit, well no more as he singles and scores Crisp. A’s 7, O’s 3. Patton is being pulled by Buck Showalter having retired no one. On a related note, today at MLBTradeRumors.com they updated their reverse engineered Elias Rankings and Matsui has risen quite a bit and is in solid Type-B range with Josh Willingham being in Type-A range, and both Crisp and David DeJesus being Type-B’s as well. That said, I think offering Matsui arbitration is dangerous because I think he might very well accept it, whereas the other three of those guys if they were to accept I’d be totally fine with it. Chris Jakubauskas is the new pitcher for Baltimore, we might remember how he was one of the many “who is that guy?” pitchers that we made look like Cy Young this year.
9:23PM EDT: Patton may have looked good on paper but he gives it up to Coco who takes him to the gap over Reimold’s head to score both Pennington and Weeks and give the A’s two much needed insurance runs. A’s 6, O’s 3. All those runs are credited to Matusz, so his ERA on tonight’s game is 8.10 meaning he still has lowered it.
9:19PM EDT: Back-to-back singles from Pennington and Weeks knock Matusz out of the game. Great outing for Matusz relatively speaking, he did after all come in with an 8.77 ERA. New Orioles pitcher will be the lefty Troy Patton to turn Coco Crisp around. He has split his time between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk and sports a 3.77 ERA and a 2.73 FIP. He has great peripherals 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in his eight outings with the big league club.
9:05PM EDT: Melvin is out to replace Fuentes. He won’t let Fuentes pitch to Reimold (thank goodness!) but still not sure I like the process when Reynolds is an HR threat, Andino proved he could come up big last night and Bell though he K’d, has already driven in two guys tonight, and all are right-handed and Fuentes comes in with a 4.51 FIP versus RHBs. You need to test guys like Bruce Billings and Trystan Magnuson in a tight situation at some point – this seemed an opportune moment (even Fautino De Los Santos though he blew it last night would be a better candidate). It has worked out here but it is lucky and luck runs out.
9:03PM EDT: Andino with a base hit to right field. If Fuentes doesn’t double up Bell, he will have to face Nolan Reimold (R). Bad, bad, bad, bad move.
8:59PM EDT: Brian Fuentes comes in for the A’s. Fuentes comes in to hold the A’s lead and get them to Grant Balfour in the eighth. He has 16 shutdowns with 11 meltdowns in 2011 so the task won’t necessarily be an easy one. He faces Mark Reynolds (R), Robert Andino (R), and Josh Bell (S) so it seems like Bob Melvin is just using him as a “seventh inning guy” which is a role he is not well suited for. I do not like this decision at all. Fuentes is a LOOGY, let’s say that altogether again, Fuentes is a LOOGY.
8:54PM EDT: Adam Jones doubles off Willingham asleep at the wheel on a fly ball by Allen. And we want to re-sign him or we don’t?
8:51PM EDT: Guillermo Moscoso allowed a leadoff single to Nick Markakis but then took care of business to get out of the inning unscathed. At 98 pitches, I imagine his day is through, having gone six innings allowing three runs (two earned), on five hits, walking one and K’ing four. Not a terrible outing. A little less strange statistically that others. Ground ball percentage still really low at 31.3% for the game.
8:27PM EDT: Bell singles to score Andino as an unearned run. Orioles just aren’t going way and close the gap to one run and make it 4-3.
8:25PM EDT: Josh Willingham with an error (Oakland hits the century mark for 2011 with that one) that allows last night’s hero Robert Andino to get to second. I was just having a back and forth on Twitter about Josh Willingham and his one-dimensional attributes. He doesn’t walk so much, and aside from power he seems destined to be a DH making me weary of signing him. DH’s can be had for pennies on the dollar these days (such a far cry from the 1990s and early 2000s when they were among the highest paid players on a team – what a strange shift) and for a guy who seems headed on a collision course with becoming a designated hitter his contract could rapidly become a big albatross to a small-market club. I absolutely support offering him arbitration no matter what, but an extension, I need to wait on that decision myself. That all said I think without any doubt you offer Willingham arbitration after the season – worth the risk he signs for a year, though I could never imagine his agent suggesting he accept the offer.
8:13PM EDT: Vladimir Guerrero doubles home Jones on board with a single. O’s continue to counter the A’s scoring with run scoring of their own, Oakland still leads 4-2.
8:00PM EDT: Remember 3.2 HR/9 for Brian Matusz. Willingham launches one to left field. A’s 4, O’s 1 on his twentieth home run on the season.
7:55PM EDT: Josh Bell grounds out to first, where Allen makes a nice backhanded play and then makes a great toss to Guillermo Moscoso headed to first. I’m really liking this guy. Despite that on the play Mark Reynolds aboard with a leadoff double scores. A’s 3, O’s 1.
7:46PM EDT: Adam Jones just threw a rocket to home to get Pennington trying to tag up. Even more credit has to go to Matt Wieters, who caught the ball a bit in front of the plate and up the line, but reaches back and applied the tag. Wow. Wild play.
7:45PM EDT: Jemile Weeks now with a bloop in pretty much the same spot, being faster he gets a double. A’s 3, O’s 0.
7:43PM EDT: Bloop single from Cliff Pennington over the first base bag gets Sizemore home. A’s 2, O’s 0.
7:38PM PDT: Scott Sizemore gets an RBI double. Hit the wall at the base below that smiling bus thing in the Chevron ad and just died. Allen ran from first and scored. Great throw from Nolan Reimold to J.J. Hardy and another good throw from Hardy home, but what a great and smart slide from Allen. He slid way to the outside, and reached back. That’s the way to do it. A’s 1, O’s 0.
7:36PM PDT: I’m really liking Brandon Allen. He’s making a good first impression this week, draws a walk following a good nine-pitch at bat, all that following an inning where he did a good job turning the 3-6-3 double play.
7:00PM PDT: The amazing Guillermo Moscoso takes the hill today. No one is more confusing to me than he and he keeps getting more confusing. I highlight virtually all his stats every start and every time I expect him to begin regressing to normal numbers, sometimes he does, but most of the time he doesn’t and on the whole his season still confounds me. The bizarre ERA/FIP/xFIP gap still exists and still is separated by about a run each at 3.52/4.64/5.30. The 0.3 WAR Moscoso still has a pretty low K/9 rate at 4.8 and an unimpressive 3.4 BB/9 to go with it. Only 26.9% of Moscoso’s contact results in ground balls and despite that only 6.5% of his fly balls end up in the seats, given how many fly balls he allows his HR/9 is a noteworthy low 1.1 HR/9. On top of all this his BABIP is still an incredible .235. So go figure, but I still think he returns to somewhere near expected levels of an MLB pitcher at some point. He is facing the very disappointing Brian Matusz, who has made just six starts so far in Baltimore, putting up an 8.47 ERA. Amazingly his FIP is not much better at 7.45 and his xFIP at 5.19 is only awful as opposed to horrifying. He has been worth -0.5 WAR while putting up 6.3 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and what has to be an MLB high 3.2 HR/9 (checking, he doesn’t qualify on innings and Bronson Arroyo leads there at only 2.0 HR/9 but amongst those with at least 25 innings he is head and shoulders above the rest – Ryan Franklin of the Cardinals is second at 2.9 HR/9 in 27 2/3 innings of work. A’s lineup is similar to what we’ve seen, except that Brandon Allen at first base is now hitting fifth, I think it is safe to say Conor Jackson‘s job may be in serious jeopardy (and hopefully that is the case).