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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Game 44 Recap or Gio's Dallas Braden Impression

Oakland 1, San Francisco 0 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)

A's Current Record: 22-22

People like to call soccer "The Beautiful Game," but I think 1-0 baseball games are as good as it gets in sports.  Sure I would have liked to see the A's score more than one run, but I also love games that are well pitched, especially when the end result is an A's win.  Both Matt Cain and Gio Gonzalez pitched exceptionally well, but the Giants defense let Cain down so Gio got the win.

Gonzalez started the game a bit shaky, but was brilliant from then on.  He allowed a single in the first and a hit and a walk in the second, but retired the last 22 batters he faced.  He went eight innings, the longest outing of his career, while striking out five.  The three baserunners he allowed in the first two innings were the only Giants that reached base against him all day. 

Both his stuff and his command were very impressive today.  58 of his 95 pitches were strikes and he was efficient enough to get through eight innings easily and possibly could have pitched the ninth.  Gio was also more dominating than his five strikeouts indicates.  The hack-happy Giants frequently swung early in the count, offering at pitches on the corners and making weak contact. 

With just the one run lead, things got a bit interesting in the ninth when Andrew Bailey came in to save the game.  With one out, Edgar Renteria reached on an infield single.  Freddy Sanchez struck out, bringing Pablo Sandoval to the plate with two outs representing the go ahead run.  What followed was an epic battle, with the sold out crowd going crazy (that was great to hear).  Sandoval ended up walking, but Bailey got Bengie Molina to strike out to end the game.  Although Bailey allowed two baserunners, his performance was very impressive.  He threw 30 pitches, 20 of which were strikes.  Of those 20 strikes, nine were whiffs and six more were foul balls.  For comparison's sake, Matt Cain had only seven swing and misses in eight innings and Gio had only eight.

As much as I dislike interleague play, I can't help but enjoy these A's-Giants games, especially when they're played in Oakland.  The big crowds are great to see and hear and are great for the team's pocketbook.  We'll see if interleague play continues to be a crowd pleaser when the Pirates come to town next month (hint: it won't). 

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