Documenting the Athletics – From Philadelphia, to Kansas City, to Oakland and Finally to Fremont
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I have a feeling this is going to be one of those weird seasons.Â The A’s lost two to the Mariners and fell from their perch.Â And to add insult to injury, they’re not back to .500.Â That’s what happens when you don’t get any offense.
And yesterday, the A’s got no offense.Â A great start by Joe Blanton was wasted as the A’s were shutout on three hits.Â Blanton went the distance and he gave up two runs on six hits and Shannon Stewart had two of the A’s three hits.
Today’s game wasn’t much better because two runs isn’t going to cut it either.Â Joe Kennedy gave up one run in five innings but the bullpen was knocked around for three runs with Kiko Calero giving up two of those and taking the loss.Â Mark Ellie had two hits, a run and an RBI while Shannon Stewart finished with two hits and a run in the 4-2 loss.
Things should improve this weekend because the Devil Rays roll into town for three games.Â I like our chances in this series and if the White Sox can take care of the Angels, maybe the A’s can get back into first place.
These little two game road series are a pain but I’ll take this one because they rolled into Baltimore and took two against the Orioles.Â In yesterday’s game, the A’s jumped all over Erik Bedard for five runs in the fourth inning and while the pen let the Orioles back into the game, the Athletics never gave up the lead and won it 6-5.Â Dan Haren improved to 2-2 and he gave up just one run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.Â Nick Swisher had the big day at the plate.Â He homered twice and drove in three runs.
In today’s game, the A’s got a nice outing out of Dallas Braden in his major league debut.Â He gave up just one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts.Â Todd Walker singled, drove in a run and scored.Â Mike Piazza walked twice, scored and drove in one.
So regardless of whether the Angels can take care of the Tigers in extra frames, the A’s will remain in first they head back home for two against the Mariners.Â Joe Blanton will take on Jarrod Washburn in the opener.
The AL West is pretty crazy so far.Â The A’s sit at 9-9, yet they’re tied for first place with the Angels.Â Not that long ago, the Mariners were first and now they’re in last, but they’re just two games back of first.Â Got it?Â To sum it up, things are tight and so far, nobody has broken away.
The A’s got some serious offense on Friday.Â Travis Buck, Shannon Stewart and Nick Swisher all went yard with Buck driving in five runs and Stewart drove home four.Â Milton Bradley picked up just one hit in the 16-4 win but he walked four times and scored three runs.Â Joe Blanton picked up the win and he improved to 2-0 on the season.Â He gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings.
Unfortunately, it went downhill from there.Â On Saturday, the Rangers shut out the A’s on just three hits.Â All three hits were singles and Nick Swisher reached base three times with a hit and two walks.Â Joe Kennedy took the loss despite five solid innings.Â He gave up one run on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts in five innings of work.
Then yesterday, Justin Duchscherer blew a 3-1 lead and gave up three runs to make it a 4-3 loss.Â Chad Gaudin gave up just one run in six innings and for his troubles, he didn’t get a decision.Â Shannon Stewart was the hitting star.Â He went two for five with a homerun and two RBIs.
Next up is two against the Orioles in Baltimore.Â Normally I’d be optimistic but the Orioles have played some good ball lately.Â Danny Haren will take on Erik Bedard in tonight’s matchup.
Man, the Angels are looking pathetic right now.Â The A’s dismantled them in a two game series and the pitchers held them to just a single run in two games.Â More importantly, the A’s have now popped their head above the .500 mark and they now sit at 8-7, in a virtual tie for first with the Mariners.
Tuesday’s game saw Chad Gaudin continue his solid start to the season. He gave up just one run on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.Â Street struck out two in the ninth for his third save and Bobby Crosby had a huge day at the plate.Â He went two for four with his first homerun and three RBIs in the 4-1 win.
Danny Haren was awesome tonight.Â He gave up four hits in seven shutout innings and Street once again slammed the door shut in the ninth.Â Eric Chavez had two hits and two RBIs to lead the A’s at the plate in the 3-0 win.
Next up is three at Texas.Â Joe Blanton takes on Brandon McCarthy in the first game and I like our chances in this one.Â Hopefully it’ll be four in a row or more when it’s all said and done.
It came down to the final at bat of yesterday’s game but the A’s walked away with the series win over the Yankees.Â All three games were decided by a single run with the A’s coming out on top in two of those three.
In Friday’s game, the A’s came back from a 5-2 deficit to tie it and send the game into extra frames and then in the bottom of the eleventh, Bobby Kielty drove in Travis Buck on a ground out.Â Eric Chavez hit a two run shot to make it a one run game and then Nick Swisher hit a solo shot to tie it.Â Danny Haren was pretty mediocre but he didn’t let the game get away from him.Â Huston Street picked up the win and he’s now 2-1.
The second game went into extra frames as well.Â Joe Blanton was very good through four until he started giving up runs.Â By the seventh, the Yankees had tied the game and it eventually went into extra frames when Jason Giambi won it with a solo shot in the top of the thirteenth.Â Lenny DiNardo took the loss and Travis Buck went two for four with an RBI and two runs.
Yesterday was just one of those magical games.Â The A’s had blown a 4-2 lead when they gave up four late runs to the Yankees and they were down to their final out when Marco Scutaro hit a huge three run shot off the foul pole to win it.Â Rich Harden’s great start wasn’t wasted and Jay Marshall picked up the win.Â Eric Chavez finished with two hits and Mike Piazza singled and drove in a run in the 5-4 win.
So the A’s are just a half game back of the second place Angels with the Mariners of all teams leading the pack.Â The A’s get a day off and then they host the Angels for two big games.Â Chad Gaudin takes on Jeff Weaver and I like out chances in that one.
Six runs in three games isn’t going to cut it and it’s probably fortunate that the A’s walked away with one of their three games against the White Sox.Â The pitching was mostly there, this team just has to get the hitting going.
MondayÂ was the worst game at the plate.Â The A’s racked up just a single run on five hits in the 4-1 loss.Â Travis Buck doubled home Nick Swisher for the lone run and a solid start by Rich Harden went to waste.Â Harden gave up two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings of work and despite the solid outing, he took the loss.
Yesterday was almost a disappointment but the A’s finally got things going in the ninth.Â Chad Gaudin and the pen combined for a one run, three hit game but up through the top of the ninth, the A’s were losing 1-0.Â Then in the ninth, Todd Walker singled home a run to tie it and Mark Ellis singled home Marco Scutaro for the walk off RBI in the 2-1 win.
Today was a drag because the A’s matched their run total from the previous two games in the first inning alone.Â They rang up three runs on three hits and they finished the game with three runs on four hits as they were completely shut down the rest of the way.Â In the meantime, Justin Duchscherer gave up a two run shot in the eighth to tie the game and Huston Street was tagged for three runs in the ninth as he took the loss.Â Mike Piazza was the hitting star in the 6-3 loss.Â He doubled and drove in two runs.
It doesn’t get any easier as the Yankees roll into Oakland for a three game series beginning Friday.Â Dan Haren will throw in the series opener.
I guess this could have been a lot worse.Â The A’s won their series opener with the Angels when Mike Piazza drove in the winning run with a solo shot in the ninth inning.Â Chad Gaudin threw five solid frames but he didn’t get a decision and also give some props to the pen.Â Other then Kiko Calero who gave up a run in the seventh, the pen did nice job of shutting down a solid Angels’ lineup.Â Five A’s had at least two hits and Piazza led the way with three in the 4-3 win.
Then on Friday, the A’s stopped scoring runs.Â They scored two in a 5-2 loss and that was the most they’d scored in a game over the weekend.Â In the meantime, a very good start by Joe Kennedy went to waste when Jay Witasick gave up three runs in the seventh inning.Â Nick Swisher singled home one run and the other run came when Marco Scutaro scored on a wild pitch.
The A’s hit a low on Saturday.Â John Lackey shut down the bats and held the A’s to a lone run and like Friday, a solid start went to waste.Â Dan Haren gave up just two runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts in seven innings.Â The lone run came in the third when Jason Kendall singled home Travis Buck.
The A’s scored only two runs yesterday, but it was enough with a solid start by Joe Blanton.Â He gave up just a single run on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.Â The pen then held the Angels to just one hit in 3 2/3 shutout innings.Â Shannon Stewart and Nick Swisher both doubled home runs.
So the A’s stand at 3-4 and they’re two games back of the Angels.Â So in short, they’re right where they were when the started the series.Â It doesn’t get any easier though as the White Sox roll into town for a three game series.
What an outing by Rich Harden.Â This is what we’veÂ been waiting for from the ace this season and he delivered with seven innings of shutout ball.Â He gave up just three hits and two walks and he struck out seven.Â And the end result is the A’s first win of the season.
The Athletics also got it done at the plate with Mark Ellie leading the way with two doubles and five RBIs.Â Shannon Stewart had two hits and two runs while Milton Bradley drove in two runs.
Next stop is a four game series in Anaheim against the undefeated Angels.Â Chad Gaudin will be making his first start since 2005 and he’ll face Joe Saunders.Â Man would three out of four be nice in this one.
Well, this isn’t good.Â Joe Blanton and Kiko Colero gave up a combined seven runs in 6 1/3 innings as the A’s dropped their second straight game.Â At the plate, Milton Bradley hit a solo homerun and Mark Ellis drove in two but when the pitching is this bad, four runs isn’t going to cut it.
So it’s up to incumbent ace Rich Harden to right the ship.Â Â The A’s don’t want to go into that Angels series with an 0-3 record and if things don’t turn around, the A’s are going to have to mount one of those big comebacks that they’ve been known for.Â Â Hopefully it doesn’t get to that though.
An error by Bobby Crosby and a three run homerun by Richie Sexson turned what could have been a good start into a 4-0 loss.Â The final line on Haren was that he gave up four unearned runs on only four hits in six innings of work.
The A’s couldn’t touch Felix Hernandez today.Â When you get only four hits and you strike out twelve time it’s usually not going to be good and it wasn’t.Â Hopefully Joe Blanton can get the A’s on track tomorrow.
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