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Live Blogging: Mariners @ A’s Game 4

April 7, 2012

Bartolo Colon squares off against Felix Hernandez today in the last game of the series which creates a rare Sunday off day for both the A’s and M’s tomorrow. The 462 foot home run from last night may have moved Bob Melvin to put Yoenis Cespedes in the cleanup spot which is where he finds himself today. In other news, Brandon Allen (hitting 8th) and Eric Sogard (hitting 9th) get the starts at two of the most uncertain spots for the A’s. This lineup is even more peculiar than some others we’ve seen as Cliff Pennington hits seventh ahead of big power threats like Allen.

  • 6:10PM PDT – Top of 1st, 0 out – Chone Figgins leads off the game with a triple to right field. This raises his batting average to .385 on the year. Of course it is very easy to say small sample size but I wonder if the hitting in the leadoff spot is what has ailed him in Seattle as he is a career .289/.367/.380 hitter from the leadoff spot compared to .281/.352/.368 overall, though strangely his numbers are even worse leading off a game (.262/.337/.361) and leading off an inning (.277/.349/.367). But this sort of thing makes me think there may be a weird psychological thing at play, then again it is four games and I am sure Figgins has hit .385 over the course of three games and one at bat before in his time in Seattle (then again maybe he hasn’t) so we’ll have to wait and see.
  • 6:11PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Dustin Ackley grounds out to second, Jemile Weeks smartly throws to first instead of testing getting Figgins. Figgins scores, M’s take an early 1-0 lead. WPA doesn’t account for this but I bet Hernandez’ chances of winning this game just went up far more than they would with a typical pitcher on the mound. That said, he does have a 12-44 record when 0-2 runs are scored by the Mariners in his career across a total of 71 starts.
  • 6:21 PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Hernandez gets both Josh Reddick and before him Coco Crisp down on strikes. He is looking good early, but does he ever not look good? I really like watching him pitch. The gum chewing and almost bored expression his face as he just chews through lineups.
  • 6:26PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Very quick second inning for Colon. Anyone else notice that Colon hasn’t changed his jersey since Japan? It still has that “Gloops” patch on the right sleeve.
  • 6:30PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out – Cespedes looked very fooled on the offspeed stuff from Felix and strikes out. His swings all looked wild when Felix pulled the string on him.
  • 6:45PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 3 out – Nice strikeout from Colon – his second – since he allowed Figgins’ triple he has been perfect. Impressed so far with what we have seen out of him.
  • 6:49PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 1 out – Allen did not look good there striking out against Felix. Still hitless in 2012. He and Kila Ka’aihue – who isn’t look as bad – are sure helping Daric Barton get opportunities to play, his stint on the DL ends tomorrow…
  • 6:56PM PDT – Top of 4th, 0 out – Cespedes looks lost again on a ball hit straight at him. Comes in on the Ichiro Suzuki hit, then backs up, it was over his head. Ackley, on first with a single off of Pennington’s glove, scores all the way from first and Ichiro ends up on third with a triple that should have been an out. M’s 2, A’s 0.
  • 6:58PM PDT – Top of 4th, 0 out – Broken bat single for Justin Smoak scores Ichiro. M’s 3, A’s 0.
  • 7:00PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Kyle Seager gets a hit now to right field. This inning sort of is just compounded problems. Colon allowed the hit to Ackley that was reasonable. But the Ichiro triple should’ve been an out. Ichiro on third meant the infield played in so Smoak’s hit normally would have been caught and the inning just snowballs from there.
  • 7:02PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Another single. Miguel Olivo hits it to left, Crisp shows off his complete and utter lack of an arm and Smoak scores from second making it Mariners 4, Athletics 0. For what it is worth when Felix has 3-5 runs of run support things change dramatically for him, in those 82 starts his record is 38-18.
  • 7:04PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – Ball takes a weird hop on Pennington and with that Munenori Kawasaki earns his first ever MLB hit which scores Seager. The terrible throw from Coco hits Seager, skips away allowing Olivo to third and Kawasaki for second. M’s up their lead to 5-0.
  • 7:06PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – When it rains it pours. Figgins doubles off the base of the wall in right (which just killed any bounce getting to Reddick) both Olivo and Kawasaki score. M’s break it open 7-0. Melvin has Jerry Blevins throwing in the pen. A’s still have an oversized bullpen because of the lack of a need for a fifth starter for a while, but I don’t like that they don’t have a true swingman or good guy to go say three innings.
  • 7:10PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – First pitch swinging and Coco sends it right into center field for a base hit. It’ll be interesting to see if they try running him with the lead so wide.
  • 7:12 PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Reddick gets somewhat lucky infield hit as Kawasaki lays out but can’t get up to throw anyone out. A’s seem to have what at this point could be best described as a too little too late scoring opportunity? Big man Cespedes is due up.
  • 7:14PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Cespedes is plunked. Barely grazes him up he glares at Felix. Nice.
  • 7:16PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Seth Smith with a fly out to Michael Saunders in center. With a seven run lead, Saunders doesn’t even bother with Crisp at third. Sac fly. A’s narrow the lead to a mere 7-1.
  • 7:19PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 3 out – A foul out from Kurt Suzuki, weak pop out by Pennington and the threat is over. Shocker. The A’s will truly need a lot of time to remedy these offensive woes, at least Cespedes looks like a strong step in the right direction.
  • 7:26PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Suzuki had a great throw that had Ichiro picked off on a broken hit and run with Smoak striking out. Ichiro retreated to first and Pennington should’ve had an easy throw to Allen to get him but throws it away. Awful play. Lost opportunity.
  • 7:27PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Jesus Montero singles to left field and that chases Colon from the game. Blevins is going to come in. Not the outing Colon wanted as his ERA balloons to 5.84 (he also is responsible for the two men on base so it can go higher) and presently his line is 4 1/3 innings pitched, ten hits, seven runs all earned (though, some misplays that weren’t errors play in there), no walks and three strikeouts. Ugly. Though FIP will like this outing as it all was a series of hits – and some really proved the importance of defense independent pitching stats.
  • 7:31 PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Ichiro steals third easily but a heads up play by the other Suzuki, Kurt, who throws behind Montero at first and gets him leaning.  So one of the two inherited runners moves up and one is eliminated.
  • 7:37PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – When do we give up on Allen? He is looking awful. Strikes out again. Out of options makes you really want to give him a shot, crappy roster crunch to be in. I guess with the A’s not looking at contending and options available on Barton, doesn’t hurt to just let him sink or swim.
  • 7:40PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 2 out – Home run Weeks! Not who I’d have put my money on hitting one out tonight. 91 mph fastball right down the middle. First row in right field. A’s cut the lead to 7-2.
  • 7:47PM PDT – Top of 6th, 1 out – That home run you knew from the swing, the sound, everything before the camera even panned to show where it was going. Blevins knew it too. Saunders with a no doubter to right field. M’s get the run back and it is 8-2.
  • 7:54PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Can Cespedes be anymore out in front of that curve ball and what I think was a change? Nice sequencing from him and Olivo. I think the steady dose of offspeed stuff is the kryptonite for Cespedes until he proves otherwise, which will happen.
  • 7:58PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Good night for Smith. Gets down 0-2 but works his way back full and eventually draws a walk off of Hernandez. Bit of a rally opportunity for the A’s with the leadoff hit from Reddick and now with Smith on at first.
  • 7:59PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Suzuki nearly hits it out, but it hits the top of the wall in left center and both Reddick and Smith call, pretty bad throw from Kawasaki that is cut off at the mound and probably keeps Suzuki stuck at second instead of over at third. Prompts Lucas Luetge to start warming in the bullpen a Rule V draft selection they got from the Milwaukee Brewers and who made the MLB roster. M’s 8, A’s 4.
  • 8:03PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 3 out – Strike three swinging. Three strikeouts for Allen now. Ugh.
  • 8:06PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Ryan Cook out to start the seventh inning. Funny Ray Fosse said, “the regular eighth inning guy”, because in the fourth game of the year we already have regulars?
  • 8:09PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 out – Great 1-2-3 inning for Cook. Yes, I highlight the small sample size in my previous comment but I really am excited to see what he has. Like the little I’ve seen so far in the spring and in the first few games.
  • 8:12PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 0 out – Nice little bunt single from Sogard there. Seager couldn’t barehand the ball but it was laid down well. Love seeing that. Bunt for a hit is a great exciting play and keeps the defense honest, or at least on their toes.
  • 8:15PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 1 out – Crisp has a base hit past Ackley which gets through as the hole was there for the double play and Smoak covering first. That is the nail in the coffin of King Felix as the southpaw Luetge will enter the ballgame to make his major league debut, second of the game since this was also Kawasaki’s first pro game.
  • 8:19PM PDT – Bottom of the 7th, 2 out – Luetge is used as a LOOGY and he does what he has to. Three pitch strikeout of Reddick. Nice debut for him. Can’t be any better. New pitcher to enter will be the oft-seen Steve Delabar to face Cespedes.
  • 8:23 PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Wow. This Cespedes kid is really something. Another home run to deep right center field. Third on the season. He just crushes them. It is a three run home run and now this game looks a lot different. M’s lead cut to one, 8-7. If he keeps this up, he is a no-doubt Rookie of the Year. Four games, three home runs. Unbelievable.
  • 8:27PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Brian Fuentes comes into the game to face Montero (R), Seager (L), Olivo (R). Not the best time to use him…
  • 8:30PM PDT – Top of 8th, 1 out – Go figure the lefty gets a hit off Fuentes. Seager on with a single. After Olivo it is Saunders (L).
  • 8:35PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Fuentes walks Saunders bringing up Kawasaki (L). Fuentes is just difficult to watch. It seems everything is hanging on by a string. Not sure if that is actually the case or if it just seems that way given his early struggles last year cementing that impression. I’m going to lean that it is the former, but aided by the latter.
  • 8:37PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Big strikeout to get Kawasaki. A’s keep the score where it is. Phew.
  • 8:40PM PDT – Bottom of the 8th, 0 out – Tom Wilhelmsen enters the game for the Mariners. He looked great opening day, earning the win, didn’t look as great last night.
  • 8:43PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – This is telling. Mevlin pinch hits for Allen with Ka’aihue. Allen has three K’s in three trips to the plate today so the golden sombrero is avoided. Ka’aihue meanwhile is 3-for-7 on the young season.
  • 8:45PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 3 out – Well golden sombrero from first base of the Oakland Athletics is earned as Wilhelmsen gets Ka’aihue swinging.
  • 8:48PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Grant Balfour is coming in to this one. Good to be using the best available pitcher to keep this M’s lead at one.
  • 8:54PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Great throw by Suzuki to cut Ackley down trying to swipe second! Great throw. Mariners are really aggressive on the basepaths, nice to shut that down and hurt the M’s shot at an insurance run.
  • 8:57PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Brandon League is in to shut this one down for the Mariners. Due up for the A’s, Sogard, Weeks and Crisp. Not the three I’d necessarily want to come out and try and win this but those are the three we’ve got.
  • 9:05PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – Crisp flies out. Game over. Cespedes is sort of where this entire game rests. If not for his fielding miscue they potentially win this game. If not for the home run, clearly they aren’t even close. Interesting how the game hinges on him that way both positively and negatively.
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