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Recap: Astros @ A’s Game 118

August 13, 2013

Wrap: Houston 5, Oakland 4. A’s 67-51 (2nd Place, 1 game back)

An inch or two? Who knows. That’s all that separated the A’s from winning or losing this game. Chris Young seemingly should have had a game winning home run off of new Houston closer Chia-Jen Lo but the umps ruled it foul. The ball changed direction and appeared to strike the foul pole (though there was no audio evidence of such a meeting and it does appear as if it grazed it) but more concerning was that the umps took so long to even consider reviewing it. The famed Adam Rosales home run/double of earlier this year already prompted concerns about getting these calls right and it seems the A’s have been burned again as I firmly believe that Young’s home run was in fact a fair ball by the slimmest of margins. Well, the umps don’t care what I think and the A’s lost 5-4 instead of winning 6-5 and Lo recorded his first career save.

The Bats

Lineup vs. Jordan Lyles: Young CF, Jed Lowrie SS, Josh Reddick RF, Yoenis Cespedes DH, Brandon Moss 1B, Josh Donaldson 3B, Seth Smith LF, Stephen Vogt C, Eric Sogard 2B. 

The big hit came from Young but alas as explained earlier it did not count. Therefore what could have been a 1-for-5 day with 2 RBI and a dinger instead was an 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Ouch. The A’s spread eight hits to score four runs with the eighth inning being their big coming out party far too late to make a difference as Reddick singled home Lowrie who was later plated on a two run shot by Cespedes. Cespedes was the offensive juggernaut in this matchup with a 3-for-4 night with two RBI, a double and a home run. Otherwise Donaldson was the only Athletic with multiple hits and managed to swing a triple as well which plated him when Vogt singled him home.

The Pitching

Appearances: Bartolo Colon, Jesse Chavez, Jerry Blevins.

Maybe it is time to start being concerned? Colon  went into the All Star break with a strong 2.70 ERA and 3.22 FIP. In the second half that has dipped to a 4.23 ERA and 4.13 FIP. In August that has ballooned to 13.50 and 5.29. This makes we wonder maybe the problem with Colon is fatigue as his fastball speed has dropped too from a high of 92.9 mph in June this year to 90.4 mph thus far in August. It makes me wonder if maybe Colon’s 2012 numbers didn’t look so good because he pitched any better than usual, but rather because he did miss the last 50 games where his numbers may have deflated some with wear. In this ballgame Colon, against what can be at best described as a Triple-A offense in an expansive field in Oakland, lasted just four innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out three. His 11.25 ERA was pretty weak, though his FIP checked in at a tidy 2.29 indicating he was the recipient of some poor luck. Just as in his last start when hitters had a .500 BABIP against him he had another sky-high number in this matchup at .467. Ugly stuff. Chavez replaced him and held down the fort effectively as he has really mastered this long-man role going three and two-thirds innings allowing just three hits while walking one and striking out five. I almost wonder if he should be stretched out to be a starter as he has looked good in these long outings. Of course that presents a chicken and egg problem. Is he really better in long outings or are his outings longer when he is pitching well? Blevins came in for the last four outs and recorded them while allowing one hit.

Hero/Zero

Colon was awful. Houston’s offense is anemic and Colon made them look strong scattering seven hits in four innings. Let’s be frank here, the Pacific Coast League’s best offense is what one can arguably say is parallel to that of Houston and here an All Star representative of a first-place team, flunked against them. Nothing more. Zero. The real zero should be for the missed call on the game-winning home run but, yeah…

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