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An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans



Updated: 2018-04-22T16:24:08-07:00

 



Game #22: A’s Win Game, Series

2018-04-22T16:24:08-07:00

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Last night’s no-hitter is a tough act to follow. While there was no history on the line in Sunday’s matinee game between the A’s and Red Sox, this low-scoring game was nearly as fretful to witness, as the A’s managed to eke out a close 4-1 victory in the late innings.

**Click Here to Revisit the Game Thread**

With a solid defense behind Daniel Mengden and David Price being David Price, it was clear from the get-go that runs would be at a premium. This made it all the sweeter when Marcus Semien doubled to the left field corner on the second pitch he saw in the bottom of the first, giving Oakland an early scoring opportunity. For a moment, it appeared the run-scoring opportunity would be squandered as Jed Lowrie, in the midst of a seven game hitting-and-RBI-streak, was unfortunately called out on strikes, but fortunately Khris Davis was batting behind him.

With a mighty swing, Davis grounded a seeing-eye single between third and short for an RBI-single that gave the A’s an early lead.

Congrats to Manaea on an amazing achievement! In the words of former A’s Vice President Stanley Burrell, “U Can’t Touch This.”

(image) Box score via ESPN



Game Thread #21: A’s vs. Red Sox

2018-04-21T17:45:02-07:00

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Time to start a new winning streak!

Lineups:

Today's Lineups

BOSTON RED SOX OAKLAND A'S
Mookie Betts - RF Marcus Semien - SS
Andrew Benintendi - LF Stephen Piscotty - RF
Hanley Ramirez - 1B Jed Lowrie - 2B
J.D. Martinez - DH Khris Davis - DH
Eduardo Nunez - 2B Matt Chapman - 3B
Rafael Devers - 3B Matt Olson - 1B
Sandy Leon - C Mark Canha - CF
Jackie Bradley - CF Chad Pinder - LF
Tzu-Wei Lin - SS Jonathan Lucroy - C
Chris Sale - LHP Sean Manaea - LHP



Eyeball Scout Has Kendall Graveman’s Back

2018-04-21T10:32:10-07:00

No doubt, for 4 starts Kendall Graveman was bad and his 9.87 ERA told the tale. Last night, however, was the bounce back start we’ve waiting for — one that ultimately saw Graveman’s ERA rise to 10.07. It has already been dissected how Graveman’s line (5+IP, 6ER) was largely the result of fluky or seeing-eye singles, and Emilio Pagan needing just one pitch to allow 3 inherited runners to score. Graveman arguably threw only one bad pitch all night, the HR by Jackie Bradley Jr. which followed a single by Raphael Devers that looked like he was hitting out of a sand trap and a chopper off the plate that managed to bounce over Matt Chapman’s head instead of starting a 5-4-3 DP. Then in the 6th, a nice piece of hitting by Andrew Benintendi to serve a ball the other way was sandwiched in between two ground balls randomly placed to the hole — had the latter one, of the bat of Hanley Ramirez, been a few feet to either side it’s the key DP for which Graveman was searching. Was Graveman victimized by being too dependent on luck? That is definitely an issue for sinker ball pitchers and their reliance on batted balls, but last night Graveman was far from a “pitch to contact” pitcher, striking out 6 in his 5+ IP. However, the Eyeball Scout is about the pitches that make up the pitcher and so this post is not just a rant about poor luck or a generalized notion that Graveman threw better than his line would suggest. Here is what the Eyeball Scout saw last night which corroborated the claim that Graveman turned a corner: - With his simplified windup (no arms over the head), Graveman’s delivery appeared to be more repeatable than it has been his first 4 starts. Not only did Graveman throw 54 of his 92 pitches for strikes, he was consistently able to locate his sinker right at the knees, often nailing the “black” on the outside corner to LHs. This was evidenced in the fact that Graveman did not record a single fly ball out (unfortunately his one bad pitch was hit in the air and into the bleachers). Overall, Graveman had a much better idea of where his pitches were going. - The running action on Graveman’s sinker was truly impressive. Probably the best eyeball example was a sinker down and in that Eduardo Nuñez swung and missed to strike out ending the top of the 4th. When you see hitters swinging over the sinker that’s a good sign; when you see them tied up and confused — see Christian Vasquez’ strikeout in the top of the 5th — that’s a great sign. - I continue to like Graveman’s changeup, which apparently he sharpened up after talking with Trevor Cahill between starts. Last night it was extremely solid, deceptive and down in the zone and able to get swings-and-misses or weak contact. While I am no fan of his breaking pitch, an offering I feel should be limited to “stealing a strike” in a fastball count, I do think Graveman’s changeup has the potential to be a semi-regular part of his arsenal. Graveman was so good last night, even in the 6th inning, that I thought at 92 pitches the best move when he loaded the bases with nobody out would have been to leave him in. He was getting ground balls and strikeouts and had confused Mitch Moreland in each previous at bat, and the A’s did not have a lefty up to neutralize Moreland. (I would say in that spot, go to Buchter or leave Graveman in.) Of course undoubtedly Moreland still would have hit a grand slam because Moreland-at-the-Coliseum, but I did not even think Graveman was showing signs of being ‘out of gas’ — just maybe out of luck. In any event, while they do not count ‘moral victories’ in the standings or on the stat sheet, to my eyes Graveman pitched at least at the level where you would reasonably expect a line of 6 IP, 2 ER and somehow everything conspired to make the line look a whole lot worse. But come out with this exact stuff next time and I expect Graveman will finally have a start in which even the stat line agrees he was excellent. Which he was last night. [...]



Game #20: A’s Fall to Red Sox 7-3

2018-04-20T22:39:08-07:00

But let me tell you a little story about a man named Jed Tonight’s subtitle is brought to you by Dallas Braden, who had quite a few funny one-liners tonight, including the Jed line after Jed’s first hit tonight (spoiler alert: He’d have many more hits, and he’d quite literally be the only shining moment in another dark Friday night.) Read the Game Thread. Or don’t. Indulge me. Let’s open baseballgirl’s email from 2:25PM and 2:26PM today, shall we? Nico, who was on the exchange, can offer veracity: baseballgirl: How will the A’s crush their 4-game win streak for me tonight? An early blow-out? A late bullpen meltdown? A heartbreaking extra-innings loss? A blown 6-run lead? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT! OaktownPower: I will say a nice mellow 7-3 loss. I guess mellow is a stretch; there was nothing mellow about the three-run home run that hasn’t landed yet, nor the first pitch from the bullpen that was launched for a grand slam, but the rest is on the nose. And eerily prescient look at the game long before the first pitch. There are not many more frustrating things in baseball than to watch your team scratch and claw, show some pluck and grit, and with blood, sweat and tears, drag three runs across the plate, kicking and screaming to open the game, only to watch the other team hit two annoying barely-singles, followed by their signature monster home run to tie the game and erase all of the previous hard work. Such was the tale for the bottom of the first/top of the second for the A’s and Kendall Graveman, as the A’s were one batter away from knocking Drew Pomeranz out of the game in the first and instead, they let him pitch for just about three more innings, including a strike-out-the-side moment in the third. Meanwhile, the A’s’ early 3-run lead was gone faster than they built it. Don’t get me wrong; Kendall Graveman’s 10+ ERA doesn’t exactly scream, “I’ve been unlucky!”, but he was tonight. He should have pitched the first five, giving up a solo home run; keep in mind, at one point tonight he retired 11 in a row, striking out six to Pomeranz’ seven. I don’t know what should have happened in the sixth. Here’s what did. Graveman started the sixth with three more obnoxious singles; the ones that had a 50/50 shot at being hit at an infielder, or just squeaking by, to load the bases with no one out. At some point, I guess you let Graveman clean up his own mess; he was pitching pretty well and the balls were just not finding the fielders. Instead, Emilio Pagan threw exactly one pitch out of the bullpen and it was crushed for a grand slam, giving Boston the 7 unanswered runs, and the A’s the loss. The A’s started the game with a beautiful first inning; the exact inning you want against a Drew Pomeranz. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0SmyATAYsNs?rel=0&" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> They were patient; working two walks, racking up pitches left and right, fouling off the right pitches, and they nearly scored six runs as they made Pomeranz throw 45 pitches. With one out, Piscotty walked and was doubled in by Jed “Could I BE any hotter?” Lowrie. After Khris “Home run or Strike Out, except when I hit into a really inconvenient double-play” Davis struck out, Matt Chapman also K’d, but he had the presence of mind to run to first as the ball merrily skipped away behind home. Matt Olson singled in the A’s second run, and in a pretty amazing at-bat, Mark Canha singled in the third. Chad Pinder came within an eyelash of a three-run home run, but a review was called foul (and it was), and he would eventually strike out, as well. Unfortunately, Canha had stolen second base during Pinder’s at-bat, so even just a single would have give the A’s two more runs. The A’s would have to settle for three. Time of game 0.45. Innings completed? One. Things escalated quickly in the second as the [...]



Game Thread #20: A’s vs. Red Sox

2018-04-20T18:09:47-07:00

Graveman tries to right his season as the A’s go for 5 in a row Good evening, Happy Friday, and welcome to another installment of Friday Night A’s baseball, the one where you are going to need a seatbelt and a stiff drink. There was an ad campaign a decade or so ago for the Los Angeles County Fair, which went something like this. Mom: Honey, do you know what this animal is?Kid: It’s a sheep!Mom: And what do we get from sheep?Kid: Gucci sweaters! Mom: Honey, do you know what this animal is?Kid: It’s a goat!Mom: And what do we get from goats?Kid: Goat Cheese pizza! Narrator: If ever a town needed a fair, it’s Los Angeles. I’d apply the same to the A’s right now. If ever a team needed a day off, it’s the A’s, circa Wednesday evening, as they played an unexpected double-header equivalent, the third longest game in their history, eventually breaking through in the bottom of the fourteenth inning to extend their win streak to four. Wednesday’s game took a whopping five hours and forty-eight minutes to complete; a 12:30PM start that nearly rivaled the end time of a 4:00PM game. In order, the A’s used on the mound Triggs, Coulombe, Casilla, Pagan, Hatcher, Buchter, Treinen, and Trivino; the only reason more pitchers weren’t used is that both Treinen and Trivino pitched three innings. Don’t get me started on Trivino’s reward; he was sent back to Triple-A Nashville yesterday. The A’s also trayded Trayce Thompson. So here we sit; fresh off the sweep of the White Sox and looking for the A’s fifth win in a row tonight against the other Sox. Just in case you missed it, they are NOT the same team. The White Sox, with a shiny record of 4-11, were a team the A’s could beat--and did; they swept. The Red Sox have started the season mimicking the ‘84 Tigers; they are 16-2 and as hot as possible. Absolutely the only thing the A’s have going for them tonight is that Drew Pomeranz is pitching (for the Red Sox, in case you thought it was 2015 again). Let me recap for you. Not only do I have to face a Friday night A’s game, but I’m saddled again with Drew Pomeranz, whose in-game performance is as fast as the sloth in Zootopia. He is not a quick worker. The A’s will be throwing Kendall Graveman, who has been anything but a number one pitcher in his outings so far; he’s a well-deserved 0-3 in his first four starts, with an ERA just under 10.00. Between the two of them, I’ve already given up on a snappy game. Let me sum up my previous Friday nights: The A’s jump out to a 6-0 lead and systematically blow that, as well as a later 9-7 lead. The whole game was death by paper-cuts, until the Angels’ 5-run seventh inning finally buried the game. “Angels Stun A’s” was the MLB headline, except I wasn’t really stunned. The only good thing about that game was the “Matt Trick”, as all three Matt’s homered. We can all remember last week’s treat, the 2-2 tie against Seattle; as A’s went on top 3-2 in the sixth and Seattle answered with YET ANOTHER 5-RUN SEVENTH INNING. The A’s lost the 10-8 barn burner the next night and despite it being April, when baseball is new and fresh, “clicks” were heard everywhere in Athletics Nation. Then something funny happened on Sunday. The A’s won a nail-biter 2-1, complete with an actual save. They pounded the White Sox the next two games, and finished the sweep with another barn burner on Wednesday. And the A’s, who couldn’t get it together to win a game early on, are truly looking for their fifth win in a row. And they can hit Drew Pomeranz. But can Kendall Graveman keep the high-flying Red Sox off the board? Let’s begin. Here are your lineups: Today's Lineups BOSTON RED SOX OAKLAND A'S Mookie Betts - RF Marcus Semien - SS Andrew Benintendi - LF Stephen Piscotty - RF Hanley Ramirez - DH Jed Lowrie - 2B Mitch Moreland - 1B Khris Davis - DH Rafael Devers - 3B Matt Chapman - 3B Eduardo Nune[...]