Recap: Red Sox @ A’s Game 83
Today I was at the Bakersfield Blaze game against the Stockton Ports. It was really an awful baseball game if you are a non-partisan a 14-3 shellacking at the hands of the visiting Ports. Most of the fans clearly had filled this rinky dink stadium with its shortest in professional baseball center field (354 ft), strange westward orientation (first pitch was at 7:45 to avoid the setting sun in the batter’s eyes), and even stranger fans, just to see the fireworks to celebrate our nation’s 236th birthday. I am not most fans, I came to watch the Ports and that made it good. Got to see a big home run from B.A. Vollmuth from the Ports who went a great 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position while tallying 17 hits (seven for extra bases). Also got to see Reds prospect Billy Hamilton steal his 101st base (he had a lead clear to San Luis Obispo) as he looks to eclipse every single base stealing record on earth. Meanwhile, the big boys in Oakland completed a streak of the visiting Red Sox with their second 3-2 win in two nights.
- Aside from giving up David Ortiz‘ 400th career home run, A’s rookie pitcher A.J. Griffin couldn’t have pitched much better as he went six innings allowing two runs (just one earned on the Ortiz home run), while allowing three hits, two walks and three strikeouts. At 108 pitches (71 for strikes) he was the most efficient pitcher, and he has yet to show that at the MLB level thus far, but he has been lights out. With this outing, Griffin who was not on the radar as someone who would pitch for the A’s this year (at least my radar if not maybe someone else’s) has improved his ERA to 1.50. Now his peripherals indicate that this is in part due to some good luck, even if you believe in weak versus strong contact (something I waver on) his .120 BABIP is not going to stay that low, and therefore his 88.2% strand rate is unlikely to remain so high, which explains why a 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9 pitcher can have that low ERA and a more realistic seeming 4.12 FIP. That said, he has shown moxie against some tough clubs as he was thrust into this role probably quite unexpectedly for him.
- Brandon Moss was the offensive juggernaut in this contest. The first baseman, had a double (his fourth) and a home run (his tenth, in just 24 games no less). Moss’ second inning home run off of Red Sox starter Aaron Cook gave the A’s an early lead. Moss scored the second run of the game being doubled home by Brandon Inge.
- Grant Balfour had a strong outing in relief earning the victory in this contest. He faced five batters in his inning and two-thirds before ceding to Jerry Blevins who earned his sixth hold by striking out Ortiz. Nice seeing Blevins get more opportunities in tougher spots as he has earned that. All-Star Ryan Cook came in to earn his eighth save, but his 18th shutdown to just three meltdowns, an incredible ratio.
- Coco Crisp had a triple off of Cook in this one. He has one of three A’s with a multi-hit game (Inge and Moss being the others). Crisp has steadily been hitting better but I still don’t like the idea of him and Weeks in the one and two spots. Weeks is OK to have there just for the sake of getting him at bats as a young player, but Crisp has certainly not earned that role of leading off. As always with Crisp I don’t know where you put him. His baserunning is just so valuable with how he keeps pitchers off their game, with how he can run and even when everyone knows he is running steal a base, yet that on base percentage (.295) plays so poorly at the top of the order.