Current Series

7/30, 5:05 PST
Oakland (Lucas Harrell) @ Chicago (Brett Anderson)

7/31, 1:10 PST
Oakland (John Danks) @ Chicago (Dallas Braden)

8/1 1:05 PST
Oakland (Gavin Floyd) @ Chicago (Gio Gonzalez)

Previous Series:
Texas 3, Oakland 1
Oakland 3, Texas 1
Texas 7, Oakland 4

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Game 1 Recap or Why I am already upset at Kevin Kouzmanoff

Seattle 5, Oakland 3 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's current record: 0-1

Well, that was a classic "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" game, with the A's in prime position to steal a win from their division rivals only to blow it primarily due to new A's 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff.  But let's start from the beginning.

Ben Sheets had a shaky first outing, looking good at times but allowing 3 runs in 5 innings while walking 4 and throwing 95 pitches in 5 innings.  He gave up a couple hard-hit balls and Suzuki's poor throws didn't help, but it wasn't what the A's need from their de facto staff ace going forward.  His short outing caused the A's to use all four of their top relievers, who, as an aside, all looked a little shaky as well.  Blevins walked two, Breslow walked one and was saved by a tremendous "catch" by Rajai Davis, who sold it well enough to have it count.  Ziegler walked two (one intentionally) and Bailey gave up the game winning hit after elevating a few too many fastballs.

Looking on the bright side, the A's forced Felix Hernandez into walking 6, and gave a preview of what their "offense" is likely to be this year --- 0 extra base hits, a lot of patience and hopefully some well-timed singles.  They put themselves in a position to win the game, thanks in no small part to a rare Jack Wilson misplay, having 2 on with 0 out in the 8th and the cleanup hitter at the plate.  Yes, Kouzmanoff is hitting cleanup, and yes, I generally am not a bunt guy (in this situation the run expectancy is about even), but I feel like you HAVE to lay one down there.  On a good team, Kouzmanoff would be hitting 7th or lower and would be asked to bunt on occasion, plus a successful one puts runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out for Suzuki, who is gonna put the ball into play.

Of course, Kouz hit into his 2nd DP of the game (cutting the win probability from 76.3% to 59.4%), and then made the game losing error in the top of the 9th inning, earning pretty clear cut goat status for his Oakland debut.

What this game illustrated was how small the margin for error is for this club.  They don't have the big bats to put up crooked numbers, which puts a lot of pressure on their pitching and defense to execute.  They didn't today (8 walks and 4 errors), and that's why they lost.  If they want to contend this year, they have to win their fair share of close, low-scoring games, and this was not a good start.

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