The 2014 Oakland Athletics will go as far as the pitching will take them. In the case of last nights game the pitching staff took them well into the night, 12 innings to be exact. It was all started with a great opening from Starting Pitcher Jesse Chavez. Chavez scattered 5 hits and allowed 2 runs (one earned) in his 3rd career start and his first since June of 2012. Chavez struck out 4 while giving up 2 walks, but what is more promising for Chavez is that he recorded 9 out via the ground ball. The success of Chavez will depend highly on his ability to keep the ball on the ground.
When Chavez exited the game in the 6th, he gave way to Fernando Abad (who was acquired from Washington this offseason). Abad threw 2 brilliant no-hit innings (7th and 8th) and struck out 3 while walking only one. Abad, like Chavez had a lot of success keeping the ball on the ground recording the other 3 outs via the ground ball. Between Sean Doolittle (9th and 10th inning), Luke Gregerson (11th inning) and Drew Pomeranz (12th inning) the Mariners didn’t have a chance. In fact, after Chavez turned the ball over to the bullpen, only 2 men reached base… well it was the same man twice (Abraham Almonte). This is the bullpen that Billy Beane envisioned during the off season.
The A’s did catch a couple of breaks last night as well. In the Top of the 5th, with one out Abraham Almonte was on 2nd base and Dustin Ackley was on 3rd base. With the infield in, the runner on third had to hold from scoring on a ground ball hit right to Nick Punto at 2nd base. For some unexplained reason, Almonte (runner on 2nd) ran to 3rd base. Punto threw the ball to first base for the 2nd out of the inning and then tagged out Ackley for the final out, leaving Robinson Cano on deck. Nick Punto was in the middle of the next big break that the A’s caught. It appeared that Punto would be punched out (strike out) on a nasty 2-2 curve ball thrown by starting pitcher Roenis Elias, when home plate umpire Sean Barber, who’s strike zone seemed to be all over the place last night, called ball 3. On the next pitch Punto singled to left field and later scored on Sam Fuld’s triple.
The A’s only had 6 hits but they were very timely. Punto’s single was with 2 outs followed by Fuld’s two-out triple in the bottom of the 5th. Yoenis Cespedes had a two-out triple of his own. Coco Crisp’s “pie shot” was the 5th time that he had led off an inning. In 4 of the 5 lead off at bats Crisp was on base. The Athletics also drew 10 walks and every Athletics starter reached base last night.
Here is some other A’s news you should be interested in:
Michael Taylor cleared waivers last night and will report to Sacramento. Hiroyuki Nakajima was also outrighted to AAA-Sacramento and will start the year there. Finally, Ryan Cook made a rehab start in Single-A Stockton last night. In the 4-1 Ports win, Cook threw a scoreless 7th inning, inducing 3 ground outs.
Until next time A’s Fans… Lets Go Oakland #LGO