Monday, April 6, 2009

A's-Angels, LA Takes An Early Lead In The AL West

The two teams that are likely to be in contention for the AL West title play tonight, with Dallas Braden of the A's facing off against Joe Saunders of the Angels. That's a pretty bad Opening Day match-up, and says a lot about the current state of these teams' rotations. I wish the Mariners-Twins game was on, with its Felix Hernandez-Fransisco Liriano duel. Oh well.

Top 1:
  • Ryan Sweeney batting lead-off for Oakland, and Saunders strikes him out swinging.
  • Orlando Cabrera backs Chone Figgins up at third, but he's able to make the long throw in time.
  • Nice to see the Giambino back in Oakland. Giambi flies out to center.
Bottom 1:
  • Figgins flies out to short center-field.
  • Soft blooper by Howie Kendrick is caught by Nomar Garciaparra at first.
  • Bobby Abreu singles back through the box, with the ball actually bouncing up off of second base.
  • Vlad Guerrero bounces back to the mound to end the inning.
Top 2:
  • New Athletic Matt Holliday up. He pokes a grounder passed a diving Kendrick at second for a single.
  • Wow, Nomar is 35 years old. That is kind of sad. He flies out to Abreu in right.
  • Eric Chavez actually in the line-up for the A's. It seems like it's been years since I've seen that. He serves a ball to center for a single.
A highlight is shown from Minnisota, where Ken Griffey Jr. takes Liriano out. Nice to see Junior in that M's uniform again.
  • Kurt Suzuki gets his bat broken and grounds into a double paly.
Bottom 2:
  • Torii Hunter swings at the first pitch and grounds out to short. He's no Adam Jones.
  • Kendry Morales flies out to right.
  • Jaun Rivera grounds out to short.
Top 3:
  • One of the announcers just mentioned Three True Outcomes as Jack Cust hits. Or, more accurately, walks. And he wasn't talking about it in a negative sense. Good job, whoever you are.
  • Mark Ellis grounds to Figgins at third, who makes a nice throw from the ground to force Cust at second.
  • Groundball by Sweeney goes under Kendrick's glove and everybody's safe.
  • A's attempt a double steal, but Ellis gets cut down at third.
  • Cabrera pops out to end the inning.
Bottom 3:
  • Jeff Mathis singles to start the third.
  • Erick Aybar flies out to center.
  • Figgins draws a walk.
  • Hendrick singles into right to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead.
  • Vlad hits a groundball into the hole at short - Cabrera makes a sliding stop but his throw bounces a few times and Guerrero beats it out. Another runner scores to make it 2-0.
  • Hunter flies out to center to finish out the scoring.
Top 4:
  • Giambi gets hit by a pitch and trots down to first.
  • Two pop-outs and a flyball to deep center by Chavvy leaves him there.
Bottom 4:
  • One-out single by Rivera, but Braden retires the next two Angels to leave him stranded.
Top 5:
  • Cust draws a one-out walk, and Ellis tries to drop down a bunt but it rolls foul.
  • Mark ends up grounding out to third.
  • Sweeney hits a high flyball to center, but Hunter tracks it down.
Bottom 5:
  • After a Figgins strike-out, Kendrick extends the lead t0 3-0 with a home run to right-center.
  • Abreu K's, and then Vlad singles up the middle.
  • Hunter singles to right. If the Angels put another couple of runs on the board, I may just go to bed.
  • Morales grounds back to the mound for the third out.
Top 6:
  • Cabrera starts the sixth with a double down the third-base line.
  • Quality breaking-ball by Saunders gets Giambi to chase for strike three.
  • Hillday grounds to short, with Aybar throwing to second to get Cabrera who had strayed too far from the bag.
  • Nomar pops out.
Bottom 6:
  • Rivera doubles down the right-field line.
  • Mathis grounds out to short.
  • Aybar flies to short left, with Holliday running in to make a nice sliding catch.
  • Figgings flies out to center. Still 3-0 LA of A.
Top 7:
  • Saunders gets two quick outs in the seventh, but with Jack Cust coming up (who Joe has already walked twice) the Angels will bring in Jose Arredondo (a righty).
  • He gets Cust swinging, so it's two walks and a strike-out for the Three True Outcomes champ.
Bottom 7:
  • Michael Wuertz in for the A's on the mound.
  • He shows that good slider, and gets Kendrick swinging over the top of it.
  • Wuertz gets Abreu swinging at a hanging slider.
  • Vlad pops out to short. Good inning for the reliever, but the A's will need some runs soon.
Top 8:
  • 1-2-3 inning by Scot Shields.
Bottom 8:
  • Andrew Bailey counters with a perfect inning of his own.
Top 9:
  • Brian Fuentes in to close things out for the Angels.
  • Giambi grounds out - one down.
  • Holliday flies out - two down.
  • Nomer flies out to center for the final out.
Both pitchers were pretty effective, but neither was particularly dominant. LA is up by one game in the AL West, and given how bad these teams might be (85 wins may be enough to take the division) these head-to-head match-ups might be the difference.

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