Detroit 5, Oakland 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 20-21
The A's fell under .500 again as they were predictably destroyed by Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the A's offense is this inept or if they take some games off. If anyone deserved to take the night off it was Dallas Braden, who started last night's game despite being hospitalized on Tuesday because of his vomiting.
Despite being sick, Braden pitched exceedingly well. He held the Tigers without a run through six innings, but allowed a Brandon Inge homer followed by a Gerald Laird bunt single before being removed from the game. (After the game, Braden received IV fluids). Braden certainly wasn't dominating --- he struck out only two --- but his performance certainly should have given the A's a chance to win.
Unfortunately for him, the Braden's teammates couldn't do anything to help him out. Michael Wuertz came in from the pen after Braden came out and promptly allowed Laird and two more runners to score. This put the game far out of reach as the A's were unable to muster anything against Verlander. The A's only run came in the eighth, when they were already trailing 5-0. Two singles and two productive outs created the lone A's run.
Analysts always have a hard time discussing the value of makeup and a player's intangibles. Since its not quantifiable its sometimes easier to pretend that these things don't exist. But players have personalities and their personalities do effect performance. Everything about Dallas Braden suggests that his success so far has had as much (or more) to do with his brain than his body and tonight's performance was just another indicator of that. As long as he didn't harm himself and the team by exacerbating a medical condition by pitching when he really shouldn't have, I couldn't be more impressed with what he showed on the mound.