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Texas 7, Oakland 4

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Game 40 Recap or It's a Walkoff

Oakland 6, Seattle 5 (10) (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)

A's Current Record: 20-20

Objectively, this was one of the more exciting games the A's have played this year, with a couple of late comebacks and lead changes and then a walk-off in extra innings.  From my perspective, games like this just up my stress level and make losses even more upsetting --- thankfully the A's managed to pull this one out.  But give me a nice, easy, win any day of the week.

The A's managed a season-high 16 hits, with 11 against King Felix, who I expected them to have a hard time with but was struggling with his fastball command all game.  Not to hammer this point home, but the dark cloud to the silver lining is that they only managed 6 runs (3 off Hernandez) because of their singles-heavy offense (they did knock 4 doubles, but only Barton's was hit particularly hard).  Ryan Sweeney had 4 singles, and Kurt Suzuki and Rajai Davis each added 2 singles and a double.

Ben Sheets looked pretty shaky, and he still has to adjust to being a guy with a 90-92 MPH fastball (his average velocity this year of 91.2 is down about 2 MPH from his Brewers days) -- whether that means throwing more breaking balls or sacrificing some velocity for movement, he needs to do something.  He gave up a homer to light-hitting Rob Johnson on a straight fastball right down the middle, and giving up 12 runners and 4 runs to the Mariners (an offense EVEN WORSE than the A's) is not a great sign.

As Zack pointed out yesterday, Geren has finally figured out not to use Ziegler against lefties, and made the right call again yesterday, replacing him with a lefty.  The question is why he went to Jerry Blevins (who has struggled all season) instead of Craig Breslow --- Breslow pitched the 10th and got the win, so he was apparently available.  Blevins gave up two hits that led to the blown save (which should not go to Bailey...all he did was give up a sac fly) after the A's rallied from a 4-3 deficit.

The A's also benefited from an odd play in the 5th when Jack Cust nailed Rob Johnson at 3rd base before Casey Kotchman could score, negating a sure run --- a heads-up play by Cust and a horrible mistake by Johnson --- a slow-running catcher should not be making the 3rd out at 3rd base.  Ryan Sweeney also made an excellent throw to nail Kotchman at 2nd on his game-tying hit in the 6th.

The A's also lost 2 runners on the bases, one of which wasn't really their fault (Daric Barton was doubled up off 1st in the 8th by Michael Saunders when the umpires did not make a clear call on whether Saunders caught the ball) but one of which was awful.  Adam Rosales was picked off of 3rd with 1 out when he strayed too far with his secondary lead.  This is the 2nd time that I've seen Rosales' overanxiousness cost the A's --- the other was when he rounded 1st too far and got thrown out in a similarly important situation.  What both situations had in common as how unnecessary it was for Rosales to be so far off the base.  He needs to dial it down a notch --- it's all well and good that he hustles, etc., but when it starts to hurt the team, that's when I start to care.

All in all, the A's are back to .500 and 1/4 of the way through the year with all the injuries they've had, I'm happy with where they stand.

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