Monday, May 5, 2008

O's-A's, Tough Luck For Olson

No MASN2 today, so it'll be's Gameday feed of the battle of the vowels. The O's take on the A's.

Brian Roberts gets things off to a good start with a single, but after a fielder's choice groundout, the O's get (it seems) back to their bad baserunning ways as Nick Markakis is doubled off of first base on a line-out to the right fielder. [After seeing some video of it, Nick was running on the pitch and wasn't able to get back in time, so it really wasn't that bad of baserunning.]

Garrett Olson is throwing only 86-87 as he falls behind lead-off man (and catcher) Kurt Suzuki before giving up a single to center. This A's offense is scoring runs based almost solely on walks - their third in the AL in runs scored despite being 8th in average and next to last in HR. Olson comes back to get three outs on balls in the air. Scoreless through one in this battle of lefties (pitching for Oakland is Dana Eveland, 3-2, 3.67 ERA, came over as a "throw-in" type guy in the Dan Haren deal).

Kevin Millar walks, but the second inning ends like the first - with a double play. This time it's Ramon with the more standard groundout variety.

1-2-3 for Olson in the second, including a strike-out of Mr. Three True Outcomes (Jack Cust, who has 25 walk, 31 K's, and 4 HR in 109 PA - that's one of the TTO in 55% of times at the plate).

The Luke Scott platoon continues (come on Trembley, give him a chance) as Jay Payton is in there in left. Payton grounds out in between K's by Jones and the Pelican.

Oakland gets another lead-off single, but Olson strikes out a pair and the A's don't score. He's using all of his pitches and it's nice to see that the strike-outs have transitioned to the majors - if Olson can just keep the walks down he should be OK.

Nick falls behind 1-2 and chases a slider down and away. So many strike-outs this year - I can see why traditionalists hate guys who strike out a lot, as it's somewhat painful to watch. If they are still productive though, it doesn't really make much difference. I just need to keep reminding myself that. The O's get a pair on with a Mora walk and a Huff single, but can't get one across.

Another single and two more K's (including Cust again) as Olson (I think) is looking good so far.

The O's go down 1-2-3 again and we've got a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel going.

Three-up, three-down go the A's with another K in the books for Olson (his 6th). He has thrown 51 of 72 pitches for strikes and is really shutting down the Oakland offense by keeping the ball in the zone. If only the O's bats could get him some runs...

With one out B-Rob walked and Nick lined one to third. I don't know if Roberts was off with the pitch, but he was doubles off of first. That's the third time the O's have ended an inning with a twin-killing. [The video doesn't show if Roberts ran, but Donnie Murphy made a great play to get that ball, diving to his right.]

Olson falls behind Mark Ellis 3-1, but comes back to get him looking on a curveball.
1-2-3 goes Oakland. Olson has given up zero runs through the first six innings of both starts. He really deserves to get a win today, but Eveland has been matching him (almost) pitch for pitch.

Kevin Millar draws his second walk of the day (and the team's fourth) but that's all they get.

After a quick groundout by the Bug Hurt, Olson gave up a single to Emil Brown and walked Jack Cust. He won't be able to get the win as Matt Albers is coming in from the pen, but boy did he pitch well - 6.1 IP, 4 H (all singles), 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Albers gets Bobby Crosby and the A's send up lefty Jack Hannahan to pinch-hit for Donnie Murphy (utilizing that extended bench). The O's counter with Jamie Walker coming in. Walker gives up back-to-back infield singles, and the A's take a 1-0 lead. Oakland doesn't score again and leaves the bases loaded.

A lead-off single by Adam Jones chases Eveland, and a single by Payton puts the tying run at second for the Pelican. Luis gets down the sacrifice, and Jones moves to third with one out for Roberts. The O's (I think) haven't been that good in these situations this yaer, so we'll see how this goes. Alan Embree comes in to keep Roberts batting right-handed (which he is worse at). Brian gets ahead 3-1, but his fly ball to left is too short and Jones has to hold. It'll be up to Nick now, as the O's are "unclutch" again. Kakes gets ahead 2-0 and grounds out to short. Another scoring chance doesn't get cashed in. If the O's lose this game (and with Huston Street coming in that looks likely) then it will be a very disappointing one for Olson, who didn't give up the run himself and pitched more than well enough to win.

Chad Bradford retires the A's in order and we'll go to the top of the ninth. The Orioles have yet to be shutout this year, but they have been kept to one run six times (all losses).

Don't look now, but here come those O's. Melvin Mora starts things off with a double - he's batting .500 in the #3 spot this year. Street seems off today, as he throws four pitches way out of the zone to Huff. Perhaps it was the old unintentional-intentional walk. Millar flies out, but Mora hustles over to third - it doesn't take a hit to score him now. And that's exactly what happens, as Ramon grounds out to short. With Eider Torres running for Huff and the ball being hit slowly there wasn't a chance for a double play. That ties the game at 1-1, and gets Olson off the hook. Adam Jones strikes out swinging, but the O's didn't get shutout (and haven't lost, yet?). The Orioles are getting the runner in from third with less than two outs just over half of the team - it's the lowest rate amongst all AL teams.

Jim Johnson relieves Bradford and promptly walks Emil Brown. Ryan Sweeney (defensive replacement - man it must be nice to have a deep bench) sacrifices Brown to second - that's not really a great play in general, but in this situation it isn't a terrible call. After a Crosby groundout (great diving play by Roberts at second to save the game), Dave Trembley has Johnson intentionally walk Jack Hannahan to get to Rajai Davis. Since they only need one run, it makes sense to set up the match-up and get the extra force at second. Davis grounds out, and it'll be extra-innings.

Joey Devine (came over from the Braves for Mark Kotsay and has an 0.75 ERA) set the side down in order with K's of Payton and Roberts.

With two outs Johnson gives up a single to Daric Barton and then walks Frank Thomas. The tying run is in scoring position for Emil Brown. And Brown ends things with a single to center to bring in Barton.

I'm disappointed by the O's loss, which drops them to 16-16, but I'm glad the game is over so I can go to sleep. I don't know what I would have done if it went 22 innings. Sorry Garrett Olson, but you may need to get used to it. In the big picture, I'm actually happy with the outcome as the A's actually have a chance to make a play-off run this year. Maybe this win over the O's, which easily could have gone the other way, will be what puts them ahead of the Angels (I'm assuming the 14-19 Mariners aren't going to be up there).

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