Recap: Yankees @ A’s Game 68
Wrap: Oakland 3, New York 2. A’s 41-27 (1st Place, 2 games ahead)
The A’s basically played two games as this was an eighteen inning walk off affair. The win gave the A’s a sweep of the visiting Yankees, it coupled with a Rangers loss gave the A’s a commanding two game division lead, and along with the Red Sox loss meant that the A’s are now the best team in the American League. The game was a fun and wild affair: 37 pitchers, 510 pitches, 28 strikeouts, twelve walks, twenty-two hits, just crazy numbers.
A’s players went 12-for-62 (.194) with just one extra base hit (Smith’s 15th double on 2013). Just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position (lest we forget these three runs came across eighteen innings), and twelve runners were left stranded including six who were stranded in scoring position with two outs. No real standouts offensively. Coco Crisp who came in as a pinch hitter in the fifteenth went 2-for-2. Other A’s with two or more hits were Smith (3-for-8) and Jaso (2-for-7). The hit that mattered came from Nate Freiman. In the 18th inning, with one out Jaso singled, Mariano Rivera came in, Smith singled, Lowrie was intentionally walked probably for the force play as opposed to fear as he was 1-for-6 before Freiman dropped one in front of Vernon Wells to clinch the A’s victory.
This game featured great pitching – really on both sides. After two runs in the first inning, that was it for the Bombers. Parker who continues to improve threw eight innings of two run, five hit (including the game’s only home run, a two-run Robinson Cano shot in the first that scored all of New York’s runs), though he only had two strikeouts to counter his two free passes. With strange performances like today’s the peripherals on Parker are still pretty abysmal but the results have been better as of late. Just 6.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a still high 1.4 HR/9 give him a 5.03 FIP to go with his 4.45 ERA. The FIP for this game for example was a gaudy 4.94. Balfour, Cook, Blevins and Neshek all pitched shutout innings each with the latter two’s somewhat shaky. Okajima then did not look good coming out of the gate in the top of the 13th as he allowed a Cano double and walked Mark Teixeria (intentionally) prior to getting a Travis Hafner fly out. Chavez came in at that point and would stay on the hill the next five and two-thirds innings. In earning his first win of the year he was masterful, allowing just one hit walking two and striking out seven. I frequently questioned why Chavez was on the 40-man roster and he answered that message yet again with this performance.
You pitch five and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief and you are a hero. Chavez did just that, allowing just one hit, an Ichiro Suzuki single in the 14th, while walking two and striking out seven. Chavez has been masterful and has proven my questioning his presence wrong with a great season with this being the cherry on top thus far. Chavez who has bounced around from the Rangers to the Pirates, to the Rays, to the Braves, to the Royals to the Blue Jays to the A’s, and has been traded for the likes of Rick Ankiel, Kyle Farnsworth, Akinori Iwamura, Rafael Soriano and Kip Wells, has maybe finally found a home. This year he has a 1.83 ERA and a 2.66 FIP backed by 8.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9 in his 19 2/3 innings on the hill. For the first time ever in his career he has positive WAR as he is at 0.3 (his former career high was a -0.1 with the Pirates in 2008). Let’s hope the success continues, what a game he tossed today.