I predicted yesterday that this game would be either “an intriguing pitcher’s duel, or a total slugfest” and ultimately I was proven correct. Bartolo Colon certainly did his part to contribute to the cause, coughing up 8 runs (7 earned) to the Detroit Tigers, 7 of which came in the disastrous 3rd inning. It looked like a laugher rather than a slugfest until Brandon Inge unleashed hell on a Collin Balester fastball for his second grand slam in 3 days, he has 3 HR and 12 RBI in his last 4 games, talk about consistency. It certainly had to feel good to go deep against his former mates. Nobody expects this kind of production to keep up, but some major stability at the hot corner with a little pop here and there should ease everyone’s minds.
TURNING POINT: It’s pretty clear that this game was won in the top of the 3rd inning. The Tigers wasted no time whatsoever battering Colon, they had posted a 5 spot before an out was even recorded with a barrage of singles, doubles, and an error by Kila Ka’aihue mixed in. Jordan Norberto came in to attempt damage control but allowed 2 inherited runners to score, while allowing one of his own as well. The Kila Monster had taken Tiger’s starter Max Scherzer deep in the previous half inning for his first longball of the year that gave the A’s a 2-1 lead. Safe to say the A’s were unable to deliver a shut down inning today…
ON THE HILL: It was downright ugly for Bartolo Colon today, not much else you can say, when a guy doesn’t have it he doesn’t have it. Bartolo certainly didn’t. Jordan Norberto and Jim Miller ate up the majority of the remaining innings, with a combined 4.2 innings and 2 ER allowed, acceptable mop up duty lines. Jerry Blevins managed to be the lone unblemished hurler for the A’s today, working a clean 8th inning with a strikeout. Grant Balfour flirted with allowing another run after giving up a leadoff double to Ryan Raburn, promptly wild pitching him to 3rd, but he walked the tightrope and thwarted a probable squeeze play to nab Raburn at home and escape unharmed.
AT THE PLATE: The story of the day was the homerun for the A’s. Kila Ka’aihue connected on an impressive center field homer, he also reached base 2 other times, perhaps buying himself continued playing time at 1B. Brandon Inge may not hit a lot, but when he does he makes it count, hopefully he can keep it up on some level. Seth Smith had a very nice, albeit under the radar game, going 2-2 with 2 walks, scoring a couple runs as well.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This definitely wasn’t the way the A’s had hoped this series would kick off, but the beauty of baseball is tomorrow is a new day and a new game. The possibility remains that Yoenis Cespedes could return to the lineup tomorrow, but according to Susan Slusser, Bob Melvin is thinking Saturday for his return. Saturday will be a big day health wise for the A’s, Brandon McCarthy plans on starting after having no issues with today’s bullpen session. If those two key pieces can come back strong, the A’s should be able pick up where they left off with their recent success. Tomorrow night Tommy Milone (4-2, 4.42 ERA) squares off against Rick Porcello (3-2, 4.91 ERA) in a matchup of starters heading in different directions, Porcello has won 2 straight starts, while Milone has struggled mightily despite winning his last start against Tampa Bay. Milone will need to be on point with his command against the beastly Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder or else we may see a very similar result, and the A’s can’t depend on Brandon Inge getting more revenge on his former team, although it would be nice. I will be tweeting live from the game tomorrow night, and will have my in person impressions included in tomorrow night’s recap.
Topics: Bartolo Colon, Brandon Inge, Collin Balester, Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Jim Miller, Jordan Norberto, Kila Ka'aihue, Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, Oakland Athletics, Prince Fielder, Rick Porcello, Ryan Raburn, Tommy Milone, Yoenis Cespedes