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Live Blogging: A’s @ Mariners Game 8

April 13, 2012

Though the A’s have been very much so on the road, this is their first real road game as the A’s travel to beautiful Seattle, Washington for a game with the roof open at Safeco Field for the Mariners home opener. Felix Hernandez squares off against Bartolo Colon in a rematch of the game the two played against one another last week where Felix did not look sharp though nor did Colon. Three straight starts for these guys against the same team, have to wonder how that’ll adversely effect the pitchers as familiarity can set in. Big thing to watch is Hernandez’ velocity, it had been 95-100 mph earlier in his career. Over the past two games the velocity has been off for King Felix in the 90-93 mph range, as discussed in this FanGraphs piece by Dave Cameron, which doesn’t allow for the stark differentiation between his fastball and change. The lineup that the A’s have to try and take advantage of this is a bit more “traditional” with no one anywhere they truly should not be. The M’s (4-4) and A’s (3-4) are battling for third place as we can expect all year long.

  • 7:13PM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Back-to-back strikeouts of Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp. Velocity or not (he is topping out at 93 so far) he is a very good pitcher.
  • 7:25PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – Walk to Justin Smoak puts two men on for Kyle Seager. A’s really can’t afford to give the Mariners an early lead with Hernandez on the hill opposite them.
  • 7:34PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 1 out – Great at bat from Seth Smith. Hernandez had him 0-2, Smith brought it all the way to 3-2 before taking a good down and away 2-seamer and plunking it into left field in front of Chone Figgins. Should be seeing more of Smith going forward as the A’s look to be facing a bunch of right-handed pitchers.
  • 7:35PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Conversely Kurt Suzuki has a very bad at bat against Hernandez promptly grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
  • 7:41PM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 2 out – Really nice pitch to freeze Michael Saunders on the 92 mph fastball on the outside corner. Nice pitching there. First K of the night for Colon.
  • 7:46PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 0 out – Daric Barton sneaks one past Dustin Ackley on the right side to get a single to right field. M’s really play Barton up the middle because normally that seemed like a ball Barton should have had no trouble getting to.
  • 7:47PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – Josh Donaldson still not yet looking very good. He hit the pitch so poorly thankfully that it bounced over to Brendan Ryan giving him not enough time to make the turn at second.
  • 7:49PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – Cliff Pennington doubles off the base of the wall in right center field. That ball probably is a home run in a lot of parks. Scores Barton from second easily. A’s take a 1-0 lead.
  • 7:51PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – Hernandez walks Weeks 3-2. Prompts a meeting on the mound from Miguel Olivo. Hernandez is not looking his best here in the third inning. A’s need to just attack, attack, attack. How much more do you need to see him before you can start hitting him right?
  • 7:54PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – A gift pitch to Crisp there keeps the at bat alive and he plunks it into left field in front of Figgins who then bobbles the ball allowing Pennington to score from second and expand the A’s lead to 2-0.
  • 7:59PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 3 out – Yoenis Cespedes pops out to the mound where there was a near collision between the do-it-yourself King Felix and Smoak. I like seeing pitchers go and get it. You have a glove, use it.
  • 8:14PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Walk for Barton, Suzuki on board with a single goes to second. A’s have something going here possibly.
  • 8:15PM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Base hit for Donaldson. Loads the bases as Suzuki stops at third care of a strong throw from Saunders. A’s really in business here – bases loaded.
  • 8:18PM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – With Weeks up great block by Olivo, prevents a run from coming in. He isn’t a particularly noteworthy defensive catcher but that was a nice play right there.
  • 8:19PM PDT – Top of 4th, 3 out – Weak pop out for Weeks ends the A’s threat. Can’t really load the bases against Felix with one out and not score. You really need to cash in someone there somehow. Not a recipe for a victory right there.
  • 8:23PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Ichiro Suzuki bounces one in front of Crisp in left for just the second base hit of the game. Colon has settled in a bit after a rough first inning, hopefully this does not portend a recurrence of those troubles.
  • 8:31PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Jesus Montero with a long single to the gap in left center. Ichiro to third, standing and Colon finds himself in the very tro
  • 8:33PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Saunders has a long foul ball to right field. Kind of lucky this isnt a 3-2 ballgame right now..
  • 8:38PM PDT – Top of 5th, 0 out – Leadoff five pitch walk to Crisp. The Mariners in their disjointed first series with the A’s were very aggressive on the basepaths. Contrary to sabermetric thought, I think the A’s should try to do the same. They have a good deal of speed on this team. Need more smart baserunners, Pennington and Weeks in particular can at times be very poor with their decision making, but Crisp is someone I wouldn’t mind seeing test Olivo’s arm right here. When his number three spot comes up first, treat him like a leadoff hitter. Let him loose, he has proven he can steal with a high success rate at 78.5% for his career.
  • 8:53PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 3 0ut – Colon with a nice inning, K’s Figgins his fourth.
  • 9:00PM PDT – Top of 6th, 3 out – Sixth strikeout for Felix, gets Donaldson swinging. Only pitch Donaldson took was a clear over the head sort of miss from Hernandez. He looks uncomfortable up there, needs to slow things down. His spot is basically assured right now, there isn’t that pressure of someone breathing down your neck, but he will only create that pressure if he continues to play as he has.
  • 9:06PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 3 out – Both pitchers have settled in as Colon now gets the M’s 1-2-3. Not surprising to have an M’s-A’s matchup at 2-0. Or maybe it is surprising that someone scored twice?
  • 9:09PM PDT – Top of 7th, 0 out – Pennington, off to a slow start this year, gets a single to right. That makes him 2-for-3 on the day. It’d be nice for the A’s to get some sort of insurance runs here. Breaks up Hernandez’ six straight set down. Hernandez is now at 99 pitches, so good chance for the A’s to get into the bullpen and perhaps lock this into the win column.
  • 9:14PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – Weird double play there. 3-6-3. Weeks just stopped halfway down the line have to think he thought it was foul. Still need to keep on running. Can’t imagine with his speed it isn’t at least close. The throw from Ryan was this loopy one, and on the television feed you couldn’t tell Weeks had stopped running so it seemed like just a 3-6 to get the lead runner. Like they say in Little League always run it out, never know what can happen.
  • 9:15PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 out – Nice running catch by Ichiro heading to the corner to steal a double, maybe triple from Coco. Hernandez has gone through seven, have to imagine this is the end of the line for him. Seven innings, seven hits, but a somewhat pedestrian (for Felix at least), three walks and six strikeouts on 107 pitches, 69 for strikes.
  • 9:18PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 1 out – Cespedes says to Ichiro, anything you can do, I can do better and robs Kyle Seager of a hit with a diving catch in center. He played it right breaking straight in, unlike some of the curious routes he took back in Oakland. I think that ball hit the ground and was trapped, but I am totally good with that. It is an out as far as the umpiring crew is concerned.
  • 9:22PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 3 out – Strikeout for Saunders. Tenth straight Mariner set down by Colon. Saunders flips the bat and the helmet. That guy really has not earned the right to do that yet in Major League Baseball. You need to show you can hit, before you can show you know the strikezone better than the men in blue.
  • 9:25PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Southpaw Rule V draft pick Lucas Luetge into the game to face the lefty Josh Reddick.
  • 9:26PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – That was quick. Second pitch is a hit into right field for Reddick and Eric Wedge is pulling Luetge in favor of Tom Wilhelmsen to face Cespedes. Wilhelmsen will now have pitched in 55.6% of the M’s games, now of course that is effected by the weirdness of opening in Tokyo and having days off when guys typically don’t, but seems he will be a go-to guy for Wedge this year.
  • 9:31PM PDT – Top of 8th, 0 out – Reddick steals second. This is sort of the baserunning I mentioned earlier in the game. Just get guys into scoring position. Increase pressure on the pitcher and defense.
  • 9:38PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Suzuki with a fly ball to center. Saunders who has a very good arm throws home, but Reddick on third care of a passed ball score easily despite the throw being way high. A’s up 3-0.
  • 9:42PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Colon’s night is done. 106 pitches, 72 for strikes. He goes seven, just three hits and a walk, striking out five while shutting out the M’s. Ryan Cook, the set up man comes in. Like Cook a lot. Really want to know the behind the scenes story of why Fautino De Los Santos is suddenly persona non grata.
  • 9:47PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Olivo and Ryan draw walks. Not a way to start an inning in a close game…
  • 9:51PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – 1-6-3 double play. Just what Cook needed. Nice slider that had Figgins put it on the ground. Good play also by Cook. Don’t see too much of the fielding from relievers but solid play.
  • 9:56PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Charlie Furbush comes in for the
  • 10:03PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Weeks with his second home run of the year! Into the A’s bullpen in left field, and the A’s now have an extra insurance run 4-0. Not sure if Balfour
  • 10:07PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Despite it now, no longer being a save opportunity. Grant Balfour will come in to set down the A’s facing the 3-4-5 hitters.
  • 10:12PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – Balfour sets them down 1-2-3. A’s are victorious. Good way to start of the series. Good win against a tough pitcher. Great outing from A’s pitching keeping runs off the board despite some sticky situations.
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