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Live Blogging: A’s @ Rays Game 27

May 4, 2012

A’s take on the Rays winners of 12 out of 13 at Tropicana Field this year. The A’s throw Tyson Ross out there who had a miserable outing his last time out and in 16 2/3 innings this year owns a terrible 6.48 ERA, with middling peripherals (4.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9) that care of allowing no home runs results in a decent 3.08 FIP that isn’t very indicative of his actual value. He faces David Price who has a 2.67 ERA, 3.06 FIP and has some improving still to do at just 6.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 across his 30 1/3 innings of work. Kurt Suzuki is still in despite being hit on the hand and new addition Michael Taylor gets the start in left field and hits eighth.

  • 4:13PM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Price strikes out Jemile Weeks. No concerns about weak contact as he watches it cross the plate strike three.
  • 4:18PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 0 out – Desmond Jennings takes Ross’ first pitch of the game and turns it around for a base hit. Not a great start for Ross who was very unimpressive his last time out. Dangerous guy to let on base as he has seven steals to just one caught stealing thus far this year.
  • 4:25PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – Matt Joyce is hit by pitch, well his jersey is hit by a pitch which is all it takes. Two men on, two out. Vis-a-vis Price control just isn’t there, 13 pitches, seven strikes for Ross to the 12 pitches, 10 strikes from Price.
  • 4:31PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 0 out – Jonny Gomes with a double inside the bag at first. Didn’t think he’d make it but he was thinking double all the way slid in head first and made it. I have been impressed with Gomes thus far, wasn’t happy with the signing still don’t think it made the most sense but it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Manny Ramirez is activated.
  • 4:37PM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out – Suzuki doubles it into the left field corner, that scores Gomes and gives the A’s a 1-0 lead.
  • 4:52PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – Price sets Taylor down on strikes. Fooled him on the offspeed stuff as he swung and missed a first pitch change and then was fooled by a curveball in the dirt to finish him off.
  • 4:54PM PDT – Top of 3rd, 2 out – Wow. Great play by Joyce to rob Weeks of a potential double or triple right there. Nice play to hold on as he skid into the wall on a full extension head first dive.
  • 4:58PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 0 out – Don’t get why Jennings is trying to bunt there following the leadoff double by Sean Rodriguez. Facing Ross, I’d have little concern as the Rays about putting a few runs on the board here.
  • 5:01PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 1 out – Misplay by Yoenis Cespedes breaking in first, but Rodriguez would’ve scored from third regardless. Instead it is a double over Cespedes’ head for B.J. Upton. Terrible pitch from Ross leaving it right over. Also as a side note, seems that Brandon Inge is now wearing number seven. He wore eighteen the entire time in Boston. Game is tied at one.
  • 5:03PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 2 out – Good time for Ross to get his first strikeout. Hard slider that had Carlos Pena fishing.
  • 5:06PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 2 out – Ross with a four pitch walk to Joyce, then for good measure before he can throw the first pitch to Luke Scott he balks to put both Joyce and Upton in scoring position (2nd and 3rd).
  • 5:07PM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 2 out – Scott makes the balk pay off for the Rays as it gets past Weeks and into right field to plate two runs. Rays 3, A’s 1.
  • 5:16PM PDT – Top of 4th, 3 out – Price gets both Cespedes and Gomes down on strikes for seven K’s in just four innings of work. He is on.
  • 5:19PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Base hit for Will Rhymes gets between Taylor coming in and Cliff Pennington running out. Seems like the near collision was more the fault of Penny on that one as Taylor can clearly be seen calling him off.
  • 5:21PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – That ball dropping in also comes back to haunt Ross as Jose Molina deposits it into the left field bleachers. Ross just keeps leaving pitches well over the plate. Major League hitters will hit pitches down the middle and Molina proves that point to Ross. Rays now up 5-1.
  • 5:25PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Upton doubles inside the bag past Inge and into the left field corner. Jennings just flies around the bases and scores easily from first. This will prompt a meeting on the mound with Curt Young. Pretty simple advice he ought to offer: don’t leave flat pitches over the heart of the plate. Beginning to get out of hand as it is Tampa Bay 6, Oakland 1.
  • 5:28PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Ross walks Pena. Pedro Figueroa (almost forgot he was on the club with how little he has been used) is warming in the pen. CSNCalifornia crew remarked about how slow a worker Ross is, the pace statistic from FanGraphs disagrees and has nine A’s pitchers as working slower this year, led by the slowest Mr. Eight Pitches for the A’s himself Rich Thompson.
  • 5:32PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Joyce singles, Upton scores. Rays 7, A’s 1. Another terrible start for Ross who is being replaced by Figueroa, taking over with men on the corners (Pena on third and Joyce on first).
  • 5:36PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Ball skipped away from Suzuki on that Figueroa pitch. Joyce advances to 2nd. But Pena did not score. Thing is Figueroa did a garbage job, just sort of stood there on the mound not even thinking to go to the plate. Not sure that Pena could have scored, but seemed like the plate was left wholly unprotected there.
  • 5:38PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 3 out – Big break for the A’s as Scott lines out to Pennington who can tag Joyce to double him off and get Figueroa and the A’s out of the inning. Closes the book on Ross: three and a third innings, of seven earned runs on nine hits (including the Molina home run), with two walks and just two strikeouts. Yuck. ERA jumps to 8.55 on the year. Don’t see how he is not demoted after this. The way he has pitched is infinitely worse than what earned Graham Godfrey a demotion.
  • 5:51PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – Taylor dives to rob a single from Ben Zobrist. Nice play there in left, those sinking liners can be tough.
  • 6:02PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 0 out – New pitcher for Oakland is Jerry Blevins. Blevins has pitched nine and a third innings in 2012, with 5.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 1.9 HR/9. It is that last number that hurts him as his FIP is a high 5.43 despite an ERA of 1.93.
  • 6:15PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – Just the third hit for the A’s as Gomes hits it deep into the hole. Nice play by Rodriguez to even get to it, but the throw pulls Pena off the bag. A’s offense not helping the cause too much here thus far.
  • 6:19PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 0 out  - Suzuki strikes out to make it ten for Price who is pitching one heck of a game, with the lone blemish really being the second inning run.
  • 6:25PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Really nice curveball for Blevins to freeze Scott. Second straight K for Blevins. But that’ll be it for him as Bob Melvin elects to replace him with Jim Miller out of the pen. One and two-thirds for Blevins with a walk and three K’s.
  • 6:37PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Two more strikeouts in the inning making it twelve strikeouts as he gets Kila Ka’aihue looking to start the inning then Weeks swinging to end it. Wow.
  • 6:44PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Brandon Gomes comes out to the close this one out for Price who went eight innings allowing just a hit, one run (earned), with a walk and twelve K’s. Gomes comes in with two innings of work with a 13.50 ERA meaning he has allowed three runs, the same amount of walks he has to four strikeouts.
  • 6:47PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – No doubter, Pennington hits into the right field bleachers to make it 7-2. Too little, too late in all likelihood.
  • 6:49PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – A’s insist on making it interesting at the very least. Cespedes singles to center field. The fifth hit for the A’s as they look to score a slew here against the Rays bullpen.
  • 6:50PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Gomes on Gomes and Gomes hits Gomes. First and second for the A’s and Joel Peralta begins to warm for the Rays in the bullpen.
  • 6:54PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Brandon on Brandon and Brandon K’s Brandon. How many times do you have that situation? Face a guy with the same last name as you, then face a guy with the same first name as you?
  • 6:55PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Out comes Seth Smith to pinch-hit for Zuk with men on second and third hoping to keep the A’s alive.
  • 6:57PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Gomes loses Smith and Joe Maddon, whom I like perhaps more than any other manager in baseball, is making a pitching change going to Peralta. To me this is overkill. Yes, it now technically is a save situation as the runner on deck represents the tying run, but Peralta isn’t the closer anyhow. Can Ka’aihue tie in one at bat, no. He can make it 7-6 and I get that is something be avoided, but at the same time, gimme a break. Five run lead, one out to get? Gomes is just asking for a trip back to Durham isn’t he? Peralta has been used quite a bit this season, this will mark his fifteenth outing, so far he has thrown 11 1/3 innings of 11.1 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9. His ERA is messy at 5.56, but his FIP is a tidy 2.96 far more indicative of how he has pitched. So far he has been a victim of a low strand rate at 51.7% which is strange as he has a well below average BABIP at .259 which is usually where you tend to see some higher than usual numbers when the ERA and FIP disagree so dramatically.
  • 7:02PM PDT – Top of 9th, 3 out – Ka’aihue grounds out to Pena, 3-1. Game over. A’s fall to the Major League leading Rays who improve to 19-8 on the year and 13-1 at home, while the A’s slip to 13-14.
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