The number 3 is a magic number indeed, that’s where the A’s find themselves now, 46-43 and 3 games over .500 for the first time since June 2010. The A’s teams of the past couple seasons would have failed miserably to complete a sweep of any team, but as we’ve said many times this season this team is different. The last time the A’s went to Target Field, they got swept, this time they turned the tables. The A’s had a big chance to put this game away again before the Twins even had a chance to swing the bats, a Yoenis Cespedes RBI single and a Derek Norris bases loaded walk gave them a 2 run lead that should have been more. But the A’s were far from done, and with a shaky outing from Jarrod Parker the A’s would need to pack a punch today.
TURNING POINT: After the A’s let Brian Duensing off the hook somewhat in the 1st inning, the Twins got one of those runs back as Parker failed to convert the shutdown inning. As the A’s took to the plate again in the 2nd they hoped to get that run back. After a 1 out Jemile Weeks single Jonny Gomes came to the plate looking to swing for the fences. Jonny connected on a 0-1 pitch from Duensing and knew he’d taken him deep. Josh Reddick grounded out, but Yoenis Cespedes showed how unimpressed he was with Duensing’s stuff by punishing a breaking ball over the center field wall. Then Chris Carter decided he was not to be outdone, he obliterated a ball to right center field off the “Jack Link’s Beef Jerky” sign on the facade of the second deck as Ray Fosse repeated throughout the broadcast (Perhaps Jack Link’s will be a new companion to Dreyer’s Dibs?). It was 6-1, Duensing would be out of the game, the A’s put him on the hook for good.
ON THE HILL: Jarrod Parker has been a little off kilter over his last couple starts now, he pitched 6 innings and allowed 4 ER on 9 hits with 4 strikeouts, the silver lining of the day though is that he didn’t walk a single batter (No A’s pitcher surrendered a walk today). Jerry Blevins continued to pitch effectively this season with 1.2 innings of complete domination with 2 K’s. Evan Scribner, mop up extraordinaire finished the last 1.1 innings of the game, allowing just a single hit to seal the sweep for the Athletics.
AT THE PLATE: Lots to talk about for the A’s at the dish again today, another 4 home runs for the first back to back 4 homer games since 2001. Yoenis Cespedes and Jonny Gomes led the charge though with a 4-5 day with 3 RBI and the HR for Cespedes, and 3-4 with a 2 run dinger and 3 runs scored for Jonny. Chris Carter showed impressive plate discipline drawing 3 walks today, he waited for his pitch and took it deep. Carter is showing incredible patience that was nonexistent in his previous stints with the A’s, I for one am very excited to see what he can do as the season rolls on. Seth Smith accounted for the 4th homer of the day for the A’s, his 10th of the year (A ball that travelled far, but looked like a pop up off the bat to me). The A’s now have 5 players who have hit double digits in the HR column and have hit 92 homers this year in 89 games, again they had 114 all of last year. As RF will display on Tuesday, “the Bash is Back” indeed.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The A’s couldn’t possibly be in any better position entering their biggest test of the season this week. With their win and losses by basically every other team aside from the Tigers in the wildcard race, they are now just 1/2 game behind the Orioles for the 2nd wildcard spot. It’s conceivable that by game time on Tuesday the A’s could be tied for that spot if the Twins can beat the Orioles tomorrow night in Minneapolis. The A’s are playing with a ton of confidence, and they did win 3 of 4 from the Texas Rangers last time they came to Oakland so they know they can beat them. Two cagey veterans will face off Tuesday night as Bartolo Colon (6-7, 3.80 ERA) takes the mound against Roy Oswalt (2-1, 6.26 ERA). Oswalt has not been his dominant self of the past, perhaps age and the fact that he didn’t sign until midseason are playing a role. I have to say I like the lineup a lot more with Smith playing the field, and right now Coco Crisp‘s injured shoulder is helping that situation. Here’s to the A’s bringing the longball back to the O.co, Oakland chicks dig the longball you know.
Topics: Bartolo Colon, Brian Duensing, Chris Carter, Coco Crisp, Derek Norris, Evan Scribner, Jarrod Parker, Jemile Weeks, Jerry Blevins, Jonny Gomes, Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics, Roy Oswalt, Seth Smith, Yoenis Cespedes