Oakland 6, Seattle 5 (WPA graph from Fangraphs)A's current record: 2-1
Like Ben Sheets on Monday night, Justin Duchscherer's start yesterday marked his first big league appearance since 2008. And like Sheets, Duchscherer had mixed results. After a shaky first inning, in which he walked Casey Kotchman and gave up a homer to Milton Bradley, Duke settled down and allowed just one base runner in the next three innings. He struggled in the fourth and fifth, giving up five hits, a walk, and two wild pitches while only retiring five batters. This led to three Seattle runs and to Tyson Ross making his major league debut in relief of Duke with two outs in the fifth.
Duchscherer's overall line was pretty bad. 5.2 IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 2 wild pitches, 1 homer allowed, and 4 strikeouts. There were good signs in his start, though. He clearly still has good stuff. His curve looked especially good at times, though he one or both of his wild pitches came on 59-foot curveballs. While he didn't look tired in the latter part of his start, he was much less effective and perhaps was fatigued. After all, he made just three spring starts and hadn't pitched in the big leagues since '08.
Duke made way for Tyson Ross who pitched quite well in his major league debut. This was the first time I saw him and he looks intriguing. Although I still hope the A's groom him as a future starter, his delivery certainly looks suited for relief. He seems to really have a sling/whip arm motion, which if nothing else, is a little weird. I don't know enough about pitching mechanics to say if his delivery is good or bad, but I can say it’s a little different. Whatever the merits of his mechanics, he got pretty good results, going 2.1 innings, giving up one hit, one walk, and striking out 2. His command was a bit worse than the one walk indicates, though. He threw 21 balls and 27 strikes, but I’d guess that nerves had something to do with it. Ziegler and Blevins combined for a scoreless ninth, completing a good night for the bullpen.
I was a bit surprised to see Ross come in and not Chad Gaudin. Ross entered a one run game and I assumed he'd be used, at least initially, in low leverage situations. Perhaps Geren went to Ross because he had already warmed up earlier, but it was a bit weird to see Ross make his debut in such a close game.
The A's offense looked impressive today. They banged out 14 hits, including a home run from Rajai Davis(!), two doubles from Kurt Suzuki, and one apiece from Kouz and Barton. Unfortunately, they spread these hits around pretty evenly, as they didn't get more than two hits in an inning all game. Through eight innings, they did manage to put up single runs in five of them and for the second consecutive night, the A's found themselves in a tied ballgame in the bottom of the ninth.
This time, however, they were able to seal the deal before heading to extra innings. After Sweeney singled, Kouz attempted to bunt him over, but he hit it too hard and Mark Lowe was able to throw Sweeney out at second. I know Adam called for Kouz to bunt in a 1st and 2nd situation, no-out situation on Monday night, but I don't think this move was the right one. I'm all for bunting a runner from 2nd to 3rd so you can score a run without getting a hit, but moving you can really need a hit to score a runner from 2nd. Also, it could very well be that Kouz sucks at bunting, and he didn’t do much to combat that notion with his effort last night.
In the end, it didn't matter as Suzuki's double sent the A's home with a walk-off win for the second consecutive night.