Tuesday, May 6, 2008

O's-A's, Nine Singles Was Enough

Brian Burres will try to continue his successful season against the Duke (Justin Duchscherer). Mora and Markakis have been flipped back to their usual line-up spots, though I'm not really sure why.

Duke isn't a power pitcher by any means (84-86 with the fastball) but we strikes out Roberts and Mora before getting Kakes to line out. Another slow start for the offense.

Burres has easily been the teams most consistently good starter, with that six run inning in Tampa being his only real blemish (take out that inning and he has a 1.19 ERA). That ERA would go up as three singles (the third a bloop down the right field line) scores a run for the A's. Burres walked a batter after that, but got Mark Ellis to line-out to short to end the inning.

The O's go down in order again.

Gary Thorne is mentioning that Daric Barton came over from St. Louis along with Kiko Calero in the Mark Mulder trade. Now I seem to recall that there was a third guy in the deal... hmmm... oh yeah, it was Dan Haren. Kind of funny that Calero would come to mind first. With Haren going over to Arizona, the A's were able to turn Mulder into seven players. Not bad, I'd say.

The A's get an infield single, but do not score.

Two more K's for Duke, and the O's are not looking good at the plate.

A bloop and a seeing-eye grounder put a couple on with no outs for Oakland. This is pretty much just luck evening out for Burres, as those balls were finding fielders so far this year. Another grounder gets through the infield to load the bases. Considering his control is off a bit, I'm OK with Brain struggling in this start. If this was happening against, say, the Red Sox then it would mean 5-6 runs - now it may just be 2-3. Matt Albers is warming in the pen - it is a big advantage having former (current?) starters in the bullpen. When I play my baseball sim (Baseball Mogul) I rarely pay for relivers. Instead, I just take guys that aren't going to make the rotation (because I always have pitching depth - much like the O's will soon) and stick them back there.

Anyway, a couple of more ground balls result in outs, but runners come in to make it 3-0. Another grounder ends the inning. I am actually happy with the results - if Burres can up his ground ball rate, then he should be able to keep his HR rate down. With his improved control, that should actually allow him to continue contributing to the rotation.

The O's finally get a baserunner, as B-Rob walks on a pitch just off the outside corner. Wow, Duke has a big looping curveball. It's only 68-70 but it really rolls off the table. (After a Mora groundout) Nick doesn't take the bat off his shoulder and draws a walk. The Orioles finally get a hit, as Huff pulls one through the infield to score Roberts. Aubrey is having a nice bounce-back season so far. Millar takes one out of the Oakland play-book with a bloop single to short center. The bases are loaded for the scuffling Luke Scott. Good time for his second home run of the year. He does put a charge into one (though he swung at the first pitch, for some reason) but Rajai Davis is able to run it down in center. Markakis come in to score to cut the lead to 3-2, but the O's can't get any more as Adam Jones pops out on the first pitch he sees. If working the count was working well, why would the hitters stop doing it?

Another infield single, but that's it for Oakland. Burres appears to have settled down a bit.

The Pelican and B-Rob hit the ball hard, but the Orioles don't have anything to show for it.

1-2-3 go the A's, with Burres picking up his first strike-out.

Mora starts the inning with a single, but is erased on a double play grounder by Markakis. Huff grounds out himself, and it's still 3-2.

A hit batsman and a throwing error by Mora puts runners on second and third with nobody out. A sac fly scores one run, and that'll be all for Burres as Albers is coming in. Matt gets out of it with a pop-up and a strike-out.

A single by Luke Scott, but he's left stranded. Time to stretch.

Albers has some control issues - walking Thomas - but keeps the A's off the board.

The Orioles go down in order again - they'll need at least 2 against Street in the ninth.

After a single, Albers gets a come-backer and throws to second to get the force. Unfortunately, the Eider Torres doesn't actually touch the base and the runner is safe (along with the runner at first). Come on Alex Cintron. A double play gets him out of it - good job by Albers to keep the score where it was.

Just kidding, it's Santiago Casilla (formerly Jairo Garcia) coming in. Casilla hasn't given up a run this year, and has 20 K's in 16.2 IP. With two outs a walk by Millar gives the O's life. Now would also be a good time for Luke's second home run. It was not to be, as Scott pops out to the third baseman way over in foul territory - it probably would have been 10 rows in the seats in Baltimore.

So the A's win again, 4-2. That's the Bird's fourth straight loss, and drops them below .500 for the first time since Opening Day. The pitching was OK, but the offense has still not gotten going. Jeremy Guthrie will try to keep it from being a sweep tomorrow.

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