Well, it certainly didn’t turn out like we had hoped, but at least the A’s managed to make a game of it. It was a big night from the most unlikely source, 3B Josh Donaldson went 3-4 with a HR, 2 doubles, and 5 RBI and pretty much accounted for the A’s partial comeback tonight. I managed to hear the radio call from Ken Korach on his bases clearing double that brought the A’s within 2 runs, and no doubt about it I heard the A’s fans in attendance making their voices heard, it was great to hear. This was the kind of game that had it taken place in Arlington, the final score probably would’ve been much more lopsided, but the offensively challenged Giants did muster a few outbursts against an A’s pitching staff that was practically begging them to take first base.
TURNING POINT: The big moment in the game came in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Jarrod Parker was struggling mightily with his command (a recurring and disconcerting problem). He walked Gregor Blanco to set up the RBI double from Brandon Crawford, walked Angel Pagan to load the bases after Melky Cabrera‘s bunt single, then walked Brandon Belt to force in a run. Bob Melvin had seen enough, Jerry Blevins came in to put out the fire. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Hector Sanchez, struck out Joaquin Arias on a pitch that allowed Brandon Belt to take second, leading them to intentionally walk Emmanuel Burris with Barry Zito on deck. That seemed like a pretty easy strategic move to make, until Mr. Blevins couldn’t throw a strike when he needed to against Barry freakin’ Zito. He forced in another run, making it a 6-1 ballgame. It was still early though, but it ultimately gave the Giants enough distance that they would hold onto the lead for good.
ON THE HILL: Jarrod Parker simply didn’t have it, and he’s lucky to escape tonight with a line of 2 innings, 4 hits, 6 ER, 4 walks, and 0 strikeouts. Like I said before, an offensively potent team would probably have hung a double digit score on Parker’s line alone the way he threw. He only was around to make 58 pitches, and only 28 of them were strikes, you can’t have numbers like that and expect to get anybody out. The A’s need to see some signs that he can hold it together or he may need some more time as a Rivercat. Jerry Blevins did an honorable job of eating up some innings if nothing else, but he did walk Barry Zito with the bases loaded, that’s simply unacceptable. The Giants did manage 2 ultimately crucial tack on runs in the 4th against Blevins after a small hit parade. Pedro Figueroa thought he’d get in on the walk the Giants party in the 5th, walking Barry Zito again (#%$@!!) and allowing a hit to Blanco, but a well placed double play ball bailed him out. For good measure though he added a couple walks to his collection in the 6th before Jordan Norberto came in to shut the Giants down in order. In a brazen show of bravado, Norberto went on to pitch the 7th as well while not allowing a single baserunner. Travis Blackley made his A’s debut in the 8th against the team that just dumped him and retired the side efficiently on 7 pitches. An ugly day for the A’s staff as a whole if you’re name isn’t Norberto or Blackley.
AT THE PLATE: In 2012 Josh Donaldson has 10 RBI at AT&T Park, and 5 of them even count! He must really want to impress the Giants or something because he’s had two monster games there this year. He came into tonights game with a robust .082 AVG, I know there is a lot more to evaluating hitting, but there’s no way around the fact that he’s been an out machine this year when it counted. His 3-4 night sent his AVG skyrocketing to .132, it’s a small step and perhaps a giant leap for the confidence of this converted catcher. The A’s actually out hit the Giants tonight, if the A’s pitchers had been able to find the plate, we might be talking about a win. Jemile Weeks did make the most out of his 1 hit, a lead off triple that got the comeback rally started against Zito, he sits above the Mendoza line for another day. Daric Barton also collected a couple hits and scored 2 of the runs for Donaldson’s 5 RBI. Collin Cowgill is becoming the outfield version of Josh Donaldson, his AVG sits at .129, Coco Crisp or Yoenis Cespedes can’t return soon enough.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The A’s have now lost 10 straight games at PacSBCATT Park, this needs to stop. The Giants do not have an intimidating lineup, and it was even less so with Buster Posey sitting out for Barry Zito’s apparent personal catcher Hector Sanchez, and the A’s still lost. I truly believe the A’s are a better team than the Giants right now, but they didn’t play like it tonight. Someone needs to hypnotize Tyson Ross tomorrow to make him think he’s in Anaheim again, because after today’s disaster the A’s need their starter to go somewhat deep into the game (Can I get 6 innings??? Please???). Ross comes into the game with a 2-3 record and a 6.25 ERA, he’s looked much better as of late and needs to see his ERA continue to trend downward. The Giants will send out Ryan Volkswagen… I mean Voldemort… I mean Van Halen… oh right, Vogelsong who sports a 2-1 record with a 2.66 ERA. The A’s current roster composition may force them to start Cowgill in center again so they can double switch him out later in the game if a crucial at bat comes around, if Donaldson can maintain his AT&T magic the A’s may be able to get to Vogelsong like they did Zito tonight. As always with a loss, the beauty of baseball lies in the fact that a new day rapidly approaches, a 1:05 PM start kicks things off. Let’s show these guys what A’s baseball is really all about.
Topics: Angel Pagan, Bob Melvin, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, Coco Crisp, Collin Cowgill, Daric Barton, Gregor Blanco, Hector Sanchez, Jarrod Parker, Jemile Weeks, Jerry Blevins, Joaquin Arias, Jordan Norberto, Josh Donaldson, Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics, Pedro Figueroa, Ryan Vogelson, Travis Blackley, Tyson Ross, Yoenis Cespedes