Baltimore 5, Oakland 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 23-23
I finally got the chance to see the 2010 A's in person last night and even though the result of the game was disappointing, I had a really good time. A good deal of my enjoyment came from Camden Yards itself, which is my second favorite stadium I've been to. Having seen 90% of my baseball games at the Colisseum, I tend to overlook how great it is to watch a game in a beautiful ballpark. Because of this, I'm pessimistic about the impact that a new A's stadium, wherever it is located, will have on attendance. Last night's visit to Baltimore, though, reminded me that a team's stadium matters --- and if done well, can matter quite a bit.
As for the game itself, there isn't much to say that hasn't already been covered in recaps of other A's losses. Getting eleven baserunners is great and all, but if only two of those runners are the results of extra base hits, you're not going to score all that many runs. Even with Jeremy Guthrie struggling with his command, the A's couldn't make hard contact. Gabe Gross was the only A's hitter to get an extra base hit as he doubled twice, one of those two baggers, though, was a looping, luckily placed flyball. The A's need to supplement their singles and walks with power. The A's only have 25 home runs to date, last in the AL; the impotent Mariners offense passed the A's yesterday. If Jack Cust can't provide power --- and all seven of his hits this year are singles --- the A's will have to look elsewhere for someone to jumpstart the offense.
The one annoying thing about being at the game instead of watching it was that I had no idea why Dallas Braden left after four innings. His control had been shaky, though I thought he and Guthrie were victims of a small-ish strike zone, but his pitch count was low. The reason for his short outing turned out to be a sprained ankle, which could also have been the reason for his faltering control. Hopefully he'll take his next turn in the rotation, or otherwise we may seen Tyson Ross get another start. Yesterday, Ross' control was worse than his two walks indicate. Less than half of his pitches were in the strike zone and his wild pitch in the sixth was very, very wild. His wildness forced the A's to go to use three relievers; had he been able to throw strikes, he could have given the rest of the pen a break.
Michael Wuertz was also disappointing last night, allowing a home run to Nick Markakis and an RBI double to Matt Wieters that put the game far out of reach. It's early, but lefties are crushing him so far this year. Of the 11 lefties he's faced, 4 have hits, two of which were doubles and one was a homer. He's walked two and struck out one. Hopefully this is an anomaly, since last year he displayed no platoon split whatsoever.
In injury news, it looks like Coco Crisp may be headed back to the DL with his injured side muscle. There's still a chance that he'll be able to play through the pain, though, so I may see him in action when I head back to Oriole Park tonight. Hopefully the A's will give me more to be excited about than just a nice stadium.