Oakland 9, Boston 8 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 29-26
Bad news first: according to Will Carroll (link sub. req'd) at Baseball Prospectus, Brett Anderson is likely out until the All-Star break with a strained elbow. Ryan Sweeney, who also left yesterday's game early, likely suffered a concussion in his collision with Mark Ellis and will probably miss a handful of games. It's possible that Anderson will miss more time (or less time), so I'll wait for the results from the tests he's likely to undergo so I know how vigorously to cry in despair.
The good news is that the A's won the game and finish the ten game road trip with a 6-4 record. The A's continued what for them constitutes hot-hitting, getting 14 hits, including four homers. Kurt Suzuki went deep twice and now has three jacks in the last two games. Kevin Kouzmanoff also homered for the second day in a row. Ellis was the other Athletic to homer. The game capped off one of their best offensive series' of the season, though the run totals don't necessarily reflect it. In each game in Boston, the A's had at least 12 hits. and they racked up 7 homers and 10 doubles.
Normally when the A's hit like this they'll win, but their bullpen let them down all series. Despite the win, yesterday was no exception. Hampered by Anderson's short outing, the A's relief corps struggled through the remaining 7 innings. Vin Mazzaro, Brad Ziegler, Jerry Blevins, and Andrew Bailey finished off the game, and each reliever allowed at least one run.
Credit Bob Geren with going to Bailey in the eighth for a six-out save. Though he was necessity was a factor in making the move, he made the smart decision to bring in Bailey in the most crucial spot of the game. As Jack Moore pointed out, at the time Bailey came into the game, the A's win expectancy was just above 60% and the leverage index was 4.16 (meaning that the situation was more than 4 times more crucial than an average situation). That number does not take into account that Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre, and David Ortiz were coming to the plate. Geren did well to bring in the A's best reliever at the most crucial time, and Bailey did a great job getting them out.
The A's return to Oakland tied for first in the AL West for a crucial homestand that includes a four-game set with the surging Angels. The impact of the loss of Anderson will be felt almost immediately, as either Mazzaro or Tyson Ross will likely have to face the Angels next week. Before the Angels, though, comes a real tough test in the Twins, who lead the AL Central by 2.5 games. Hopefully, the A's hot bats will make the trip back to Oakland with them, as they'll need them against the stingy Twins pitching staff. The Twins' pitchers have walked a ML best 116 batters, a total which is almost 40 fewer than the next AL club.