It took 57 games in the 2012 season, but the Texas Rangers finally failed to score a run. It brings me great pleasure to inform you all that it was our Oakland Athletics who did the honors. Bartolo Colon was simply a sniper tonight. He threw exactly 100 pitches in his 8 shutout innings, and 77 of them were strikes. I proclaimed last night that in order for the A’s to beat Colby Lewis, they would have to get to him early before he got rolling. I guess you can say scoring a single run on a Brandon Inge RBI single in the 2nd counts as getting to him. It turned out that single run was all the A’s would need tonight to take a 2-1 lead in this 4 game series. I had nightmares that the A’s were going to be swept by the Rangers this week after the bizarre goings on in Kansas City last weekend, so I for one am thrilled they have guaranteed themselves at worst a split.
TURNING POINT: The top of the 2nd inning was really the only time the Rangers threatened to score, and Bartolo’s experience and almost eerie calm on the mound allowed him to persevere. A Michael Young single, a David Murphy walk, and a Mike Napoli single to the rifle arm of Yoenis Cespedes in left field led to the bases being loaded with 1 out. Then in two pitches, everything would be fine. An 0-1 fastball (what else would it be?) got Mitch Moreland to hit a 4-6-3 double play ball to end the threat.
ON THE HILL: Bartolo Colon was at his best tonight, something that hadn’t been the case at the O.co Coliseum so far this season. Bartolo’s career record of 18-6 against the Rangers, and his 12-1 record in his previous 14 starts were stronger than his struggles at home. All told, Colon’s gem looked like this: 8 innings, 5 hits, 0 ER, 1 walk, with 5 strikeouts. Colon has been a welcome addition to the A’s thus far, both his veteran leadership, and the fact that he’s still got something left in the tank have been extremely valuable (honorable mention: stem cell injections). Brian Fuentes rebounded nicely from his rough outing last night and locked down the save in quick, efficient, quiet fashion, even striking out baseball Hercules Josh Hamilton on 3 pitches.
AT THE PLATE: It was fortunate for the A’s that Bartolo Colon had his A game tonight, because for the most part Colby Lewis shut down the A’s offense. RBI singles by Brandon Inge and Yoenis Cespedes provided the only offense they needed, which is a good thing because that’s pretty much all the offense they would get. Cespedes was the star of the night with the bat, going 3-3, falling just a home run short of the cycle. Aside from Inge’s RBI single, only Josh Reddick and Cliff Pennington collected hits tonight. No A’s drew a walk either, a testament to the performance of Colby Lewis in his hard luck loss.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Today was a pretty active day for the A’s transaction wise. Andrew Carignan was placed on the 15 day DL, and is headed for Tommy John surgery after exiting last night’s game with elbow discomfort. Recently anointed starting 1B Kila Ka’aihue was designated for assignment in a surprising move (And ill timed, as he and his wife will be having twins any day now). Rivercats closer Evan Scribner and 1B/OF Brandon Moss (The Oakland Athletics Brandon quota has been met) have taken their places in Oakland. The A’s will take on the tough task of beating Japanese dynamo Yu Darvish (7-3, 3.34 ERA) in an attempt to take the 4 game series from the Rangers. Brandon McCarthy (4-3, 2.95 ERA) will take the mound for the A’s to hopefully make that happen.
Topics: Andrew Carignan, Bartolo Colon, Brandon Inge, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Moss, Brian Fuentes, Cliff Pennington, Colby Lewis, David Murphy, Evan Scribner, Josh Hamilton, Josh Reddick, Kila Ka'aihue, Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland, Oakland Athletics, Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish