Friday: Minnesota 5, Oakland 4 (11) (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
Saturday: Minnesota 4, Oakland 3 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 29-28
"If you think golf is relaxing, you're not playing it right." Bob Hope
The A's sure do seem hellbent on making things hard on themselves. And if Bob Hope's quotation about golf applies at all to baseball, at least the A's are playing the game right. Watching both games I had resigned myself to the fact that the A's couldn't score enough runs to overcome early deficits and took solace in the fact that perhaps the bullpen would be spared being taxed with high leverage situations only to watch the A's come back and tie the game on Friday and Saturday. And in both games the A's ended up losing and the A's top bullpen arms were needed.
It's not that I'd necessarily prefer for the A's to be blown out, but if they're going to lose, they may as well set themselves up to win the following game. And against both Scott Baker on Friday and Francisco Liriano on Saturday, the A's seemed destined to lose. Baker was mostly dominant, pouring in strikes and allowing only 1 run, four hits, and no walks through his first six innings. He was really breezing along until, unfortunately for him, he encountered a bit of a problem with longballs. In the seventh he gave up a two run shot to Kevin Kouzmanoff and in the eighth Rajai Davis(!).took Baker yard for a solo shot.
Liriano was simply dominant and the A's were only able to come back against the Twins because of their bullpen. The A's struck out 10 times against Liriano, who didn't allow a batter past first base after the second inning. Oakland didn't do themselves any favors by reverting to their punchless ways, managing only one extra base hit against Liriano, a double to leadoff the game by Rajai Davis.
There were good signs from both of the A's starters, who both turned in average-ish starts, but kept the A's in the game. Dallas Braden, coming off of two consecutive troubling starts (one injury shortened, one where he pitched poorly) fared well against all of the Twins not named Mauer or Morneau. He would have escaped his outing unscathed had he not let the M&M Twins touch him up with two outs in the first and again with two outs in the sixth. Trevor Cahill looked pretty good on Saturday, striking out 6 in 6 innings, though he did allow 4 walks, including two in a two run sixth inning. He also didn't have to face Morneau, who sat the game out with the flu.
With the pair of losses the A's slipped into third place, behind the surging Angels. Hopefully they can put a win on the board today before LA comes to town on Monday.