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A Win, Two Losses and a Hurricane

August 28, 2011

I am on vacation this week, so the posts will be more infrequent than usual. I will try to recap games as often as possible but it is very unlikely there will be any live blogs this week and my analysis will be rather simple. There also have been several transactions this weekend with men shuffling up and down between Oakland and Sacramento (or more specifically geographically Boston and Fresno). First off prior to Friday night’s game after the debacle in New York, two of the key “debacle enablers” were sent down to Sacramento, Bruce Billings and Jordan Norberto who allowed a combined eleven runs in two innings while walking nine. Yes, I repeat that happened merely in two innings. Called up from Sacramento to replace them were two lefties in Jerry Blevins (who is racking up the frequent flyer miles on the Sacramento shuttle) and Josh Outman.

Onto Friday’s game. A day after being lambasted for twenty-two runs by the Yankees, the A’s went into Boston and put up 15 of their own (granted they had managed nine runs in their defeat to New York). When a knuckleballer is on, his stuff floats around and is impossible to hit. I think it was Keith Olbermann who when talking about the 2003 American League Championship Series commented regarding the Aaron Boone home run and specifically Tim Wakefield, that a knuckleball is terrible for your timing, and that good hitters will be off, whereas a guy who is all out of sorts can have his poor timing, collide with someone else’s pitch that create bad timing and result in success. The converse is true also in that if a knuckleball doesn’t float or dance around, there is better time to hit it. The A’s showed that Friday, as Wakefield surrendered eight runs and two home runs in his four inning outing. The fourth inning is what did in Wakefield. He had two outs then surrendered a home run to Scott Sizemore that scored two and made the score 4-1. Wakefield then got Jemile Weeks swinging for an inning-ending strikeout but Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t keep the ball in front of him allowing Weeks to first. A walk to Coco Crisp, a two-run double to Hideki Matsui and an over the monster home run by Josh Willingham made the lead swell to 8-1. Gio Gonzalez, who was far from sharp (5 2/3 innings, four earned runs, seven hits (two HRs), with three walks and five K’s) benefited from the offensive onslaught that only continued as the A’s added another seven runs. Somewhat surprisingly the A’s did end up using a good chunk of their bullpen ahead of a doubleheader Saturday, and Jerry Blevins allowed his required run per outing while in the bullpen.

Then following the win, a miserable Saturday began for Oakland. A doubleheader was scheduled in advance of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Irene, scrapping Sunday’s game. The first game of the twinbill was interrupted by rain for three hours. The game itself was a mere three hours six minutes. Guillermo Moscoso took the hill for Oakland and coming on the heels of a great article by danmerqury about Moscoso’s recent success in which he highlights how in his previous five starts to Saturday’s he had a stellar 2.90 ERA but it matched his 2.97 FIP (as you know one common thread on this blog is the discussion of the disparity between ERA and FIP all throughout the year for Moscoso). His K/9 is up, his BB/9 is down in these fives starts, though he still has a seemingly unsustainable 0.3 HR/9 rate aided by a very low and unsustainable HR/FB rate. That incredible change was absolutely not on display in the first game of the doubleheader for Moscoso. Moscoso got rocked, four innings, allowing eight runs (seven earned), on nine hits including a home run, walking two and getting none down on strikes. No way anyone can win that game and Moscoso didn’t. Against Jon Lester who was good but not great, the A’s lineup didn’t get very far save for a solo home run by Brandon Allen and fell to the Red Sox 9-3.

Two days of Blevins was apparently more than the management could bear (OK, in fairness I am near 100% certain this was pre-planned) as after game one he was designated for assignment (yet again) but it was a weekend which explains it (see the most read piece ever on this site for an explanation). In his place the A’s recalled Graham Godfrey to start the second of the two games – I don’t get why they didn’t opt for Josh Outman to start it given that he was higher on the depth chart than Godfrey but he didn’t.

The second game of the twinbill was also three hours and six minutes. The rain delays another two hours and fifty-two minutes, basically if you went to Fenway Park to watch these games, you got to sit in dreadful weather – for close to twelve hours and you likely got a cold. Godfrey’s start was nearly wiped out as the rain delay occurred after he had pitched four innings. His first four innings weren’t great, but were about what you’d expect from a (what is he?) ninth starter as he went four innings of three run (all earned) work allowing a home run to David Ortiz and striking out just one while walking nobody. Josh Outman came out to pitch the remainder of the game following the rain delay and his four innings were better than Godfrey’s allowing just one unearned run, while striking out seven, and walking just one. He didn’t get the start because…? The A’s offense meanwhile couldn’t muster up anything and got shutout. The lone bright spot being Anthony Recker getting his first career MLB hit.

That was the soggy weekend in Boston. It wasn’t pretty.

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