Baltimore 8, Oakland 3 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 9-5
Going into this series I was looking forward to the Anderson-Matusz pitching matchup the most. The game pitted two of the AL's best young lefties against each other in what I had anticipated would be a tight pitching duel. In the end, neither pitcher was dominant, though Matusz was impressive in picking up the W. Anderson's start was merely OK and not quite as bad as his final line indicated (6 runs, 5 earned, in 5 innings). He got the Orioles to hit a ton of groundballs - 14, compared to 4 line drives and 4 fly balls - and didn't walk a batter. But he did only strike out two, and gave up doubles to Ty Wigginton and Nolan Reimold that scored two runs apiece. Had the defense helped Anderson out a bit more - the A's made a couple of errors behind him and maybe could have gotten to a couple of the grounders that ended up as hits - he may have held the O's in check a bit better.
Matusz showed why he he's a contender for the Rookie of the Year award. He struck out eight A's, including the first three of the game, while walking only one. Though he gave up three runs, the A's managed only one extra base hit off of him, Kevin Kouzmanoff's RBI double in the sixth. Matusz never gave the Oakland a chance to make a comeback - after the Orioles scored three runs in the third, the A's never had a win expectancy over 25%.
As disappointing as this game was, it isn't the A's performance that worries me the most. It's the injuries. Daric Barton and Cliff Pennington left in the middle of the game and Mark Ellis still hasn't returned from his hamstring injury. Barton left the game after being hit in the elbow by a Matusz pitch and Pennington got hurt when he dove back to first on a pickoff play when Garrett Atkins stepped on his wrist
There's no indication that any of these injuries are in serious; Barton had an X-ray, the results of which where inconclusive, and Pennington's X-rays were negative. Ellis says he should be ready for Tuesday's game, but he also said that he'd be ready by this weekend. The A's chances in the near future look worse if any of these three have to miss more than a couple games. The A's can't afford to lose Barton and his .474 OBP and Adam Rosales can only fill in for one of Pennington or Ellis at a time. The A's couldn't ask for a better time to have a day off, but perhaps this isn't the best time for the Yankees to be coming to town.