Friday, April 15, 2011

I'll Spare the Obvious Pun...

Come on, you know what pun that is. Phil Coke threw seven shutout innings and looked good doing it. He didn't get a lot of strikeouts, but he was in control pretty much all night. It never really felt like the A's were going to mount a threat. The only real quirk (besides Coco Crisp's hair) was that he could not throw strikes to Daric Barton (who has the reputation for being a walk machine anyways). I'm not sure it was any particular pitch that worked for him, more like the mix of pitches. It looked like they had a good game plan. Joaquin Benoit bounced back from his bad outing the other day (It feels like I should have seen him more than I actually have), and Jose Valverde polished it off with a 1-2-3 ninth (that involved Victor Martinez taking a foul tip in a really bad spot).

The offense probably should have scored more runs than they did, considering that the Athletics pitchers combined to give up ELEVEN walks, but the Tigers only had four hits the entire evening. Gio Gonzalez has good stuff, so I can see him getting into the "effectively wild" category, but six walks seems excessive, and the A's bullpen couldn't throw strikes either. Ryan Raburn finally got the Tigers on the board with an RBI double, and Ramon Santiago (who probably had the best swings of any of the Tigers last night) provided another with a sacrifice fly (another run scored on an error). Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez were pretty quiet. Cabrera did have two walks (one intentional, one semi-intentional), but Martinez went 0-for-5, all on groundouts to the middle infielders. No one's really talking about it because the Tigers are winning right now, but his average is now right at the Mendoza line. And he seems to be having trouble getting the ball in the air, because it seems like he's hitting a lot of groundouts to the second baseman or shortstop (oddly enough, he's only grounded into one double play so far this year). Now, he's been a good hitter for a long time, so I'm not really worried about him long-term, but it'd be nice for him to start making opposing pitchers pay for walking Cabrera

It's gonna be another late night tonight. Rick Porcello tries to get his first win of the year. The other four starters have all turned in at least one decent outing (even Penny, although you can throw an asterisk onto that one if you want). Porcello got his sinker working for about three innings in his last start and then it went away again and he ended up giving up nine hits and five runs for the second straight start. He'll be up against Brandon McCarthy, who was once a big-time prospect for the White Sox before getting traded to Texas, where he never really panned out and got hurt a lot. Still, he's off to a good start this year. He hasn't faced the Tigers since 2009. It's Jackie Robinson Day, so everyone will be wearing the #42 on their jerseys (though hopefully the A's will wear something besides those blindingly bright yellow jerseys that they had last night).

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