Monday, April 7, 2014

Swingin' A's, 2014

Yoenis Céspedes, my main man from Campechuela, just slapped in a runner with a double and then came around to himself score on a single, and the Oakland A's lead the home-standing Minnesota Twins, 2-0, in the second inning. Céspedes is recovering from a heel injury, but he bravely homered yesterday to help the defending American League West-champion A's to a victory over the division-leading Seattle Mariners. That brought his batting average up to .217 on the season and helped the A's pull into a second-place tie in the division at 3-3. After his double a few moments ago, Céspedes is now batting .500 with a home run, double, two runs batted in and two runs scored in his last two games ... MVP numbers. 

The Twins, meanwhile, are led by Paducah-native Phil Roof (photo by Route 2, exclusive to the HP).



#GREENCOLLAR!

38 comments:

  1. GreenCollar! ... 8-3, A's ... Scott Kazmir, a 30-year-old left-hander from Houston whom the A's signed in the offseason, is now 2-0 with a 2.03 earned-run average over 13 and a third innings this season. Per Wikipedia: "In high school, he had four consecutive no-hitters. While going for his fifth consecutive no-hitter he gave up a hit with two out in the seventh inning. After this, he finished the game, and subsequently pitched two more consecutive no-hitters."

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    1. Swingin' A's charge out to a 4-0 lead after the first half inning; then the bats go silent, and the Twins rally with one run in the eighth and two in the ninth to force extra innings. Derek Norris's 11th-inning, three-run home run swings things in favor of Oakland for good, though, and the A's are 5-3 on the season--that's a half-game behind Seattle in the American League West, and the Mariners play the Angels late tonight.

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  3. GreenCollar! A's 6, Twins 1. Oakland's 6-3 now, and Seattle (5-3) lost last night, so the A's are first place in the division. Rah!

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  4. Felix Hernandez, a 28-year-old right-hander, is now 17-7 with a 2.60 earned-run average in his career against the Oakland A's. That's after a 6-4 Seattle victory over visiting Oakland late last night, and now the 6-4 A's are back to second place in the A.L. West behind the 6-3 Mariners. The Angels and Rangers are both 5-5, and the Astros are 4-7.

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  5. I konked out before the end of the game--more and more, the HP is becoming for me a journal of my sleep patterns--but Sonny Gray of Smyrna, Tenn., and Oakland's bullpen committee made sure an early A's lead stood for a 3-1 victory in Seattle on Saturday night. So, it's back to first place for the A's (7-4), with the series rubber game scheduled to start at 3:10 Central this afternoon. Surely, I can stay up for that one.

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  6. oakland has now won five in a row. the a's are now 24-15, and that's the second-best record in the american league, behind detroit. upon further review overnight (i actually woke up and laid in bed thinking through all of this today), it would be outstanding if the a's won the american league. here's my revised grade range for oakland's season:

    a's don't go out of business/don't move to denver/don't because the focal point of some giant scandal that becomes a recurring subject on espn radio for six months: a season for which i won't regret paying attention.

    a's are in first place or at least are getting a lot of love on the late-night show on mlb network by the time the dolphins play their first regular-season game: a successful season.

    a's win the american league west: a season of which i am proud enough to pursue acquiring another piece of a's memorabilia. (i have a fantastic new a's cap that some folks from church gave me; it even indicates the year that the a's moved from kansas city to oakland, 1968, which, of course, is also the year of my birth!)

    a's win the american league: an outstanding season.

    a's win the world series: an amazing season.

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  7. Oakland is up, 13-3, in the ninth inning in Cleveland. If the A's hold on for a sweep of the Indians, they will be 28-16 and leading the American League West by at least 3.5 games through a little more than a quarter of the season.

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  8. BOOM! I just figured out how to download the whole A's schedule for the season into my Outlook calendar on my Mac! BOOM! #GREENCOLLAR! WE'RE GOING ALL THE WAY, BABY! This is awesome! ALL THE WAY!!!

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    1. Per my Outlook calendar, incidentally, we've got the A's at the Rays today: 6:10 p.m. Central at Tropicana Field in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

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  9. Drew Pomeranz, a 25-year-old left-hander from Collierville, Tenn., improves to 4-1 on the season with a 0.94 earned-run average with a five-inning start in Oakland's 3-0 victory in Saint Petersburg. Pomeranz, a former Indians first-round draft choice, came over to the A's in a December trade with Colorado. Over three major-league seasons with the Rockies, Pomeranz was 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA. But he joined the rotation with the A's earlier this month, and he's been just great. And he reads books to elementary-school kids.

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  10. It took a dozen pitches or so, but Sean Doolittle retires a determined Ray with a man on first to finish off Oakland's 3-2 win in Tampa. That's five wins in a row and 10 wins in 11 games for the A's, who are now 30-16. That's the best record in baseball!

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  11. The A's got only one hit in this win. The Rays had nine.

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  12. Urgh. Rays over A's, 5-2, in 11 innings.

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  13. Well, I should've known the one-hit-turns-into-three-runs win was a bad sign. Now Oakland has lost four straight.

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    1. Detroit coming to town for a big showdown.

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    2. We had Matthew fly out to Oakland this week to give the boys a little pick-me-up, and it worked--the's A's have won two of three so far in the four-game series. Finale is scheduled for 2:45 Central today.

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  14. Some time in this next 45 years that I plan to follow baseball, I hope to learn a little about the whole deal of "insulating" a particular batter in a batting order by putting particular other types of batters around him. (Also, I'm starting to gather that a pitcher who uses, say, his left hand to throw the ball typically has more success against batters who lead with either their right arm or left arm in swinging the bat; after these first 45 years, I'm pretty much ready to say there's a correlation, and, in these next 45, I hope to more precisely define that correlation.)

    Anyway, hooray for the A's, who beat the Angels, 9-5, last night and are now 2.5 games up in the American League West.

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  15. My main man from Campechuela, left-fielder Yoenis Céspedes, was the big star in Oakland's 11-3, come-from-behind win over California last night. Céspedes threw out two Angels at home plate in the second inning, and then, with two outs, he tripled in the go-ahead runs in the seventh. The A's were down, 3-1, when the home half of that inning began but scored sixth in the seventh and four more in the eighth (including a Céspedes home run) to blast out a giant win.

    A.L. West

    A's 34-22 (.607 winning percentage is best in the American League)
    Angels 30-25, 3.5 games back
    Rangers 28-28, 6.0
    Mariners 27-28, 6.5
    Astros 24-33, 10.5

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  16. Dear 1964 Me:

    Hang in there with your Password and 12-25 Kansas City A's. Things are going to get better. Our now-Oakland (!) A's beat the (not-exactly-still-but-that's-a-long-story) Los Angeles Angels, 6-3, yesterday to complete a three-game sweep, to extend their A.L. Western Division lead (!) to 4.5 games and to improve to a second-best-in-baseball 35-22 (!). Not only that, 2014 You followed this game pitch-by-pitch in Madisonville, Ky., via a wireless, handheld (!) device while mowing the grass before the rains arrived, which made our wife (!) very happy.

    Sincerely,
    2014 You

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  17. #GreenCollar! Down 2-1 after seven innings Tuesday night, the A's won in New York, 5-2, in 10 innings. Down 4-0 after three tonight, Oakland beat the Yankees, 7-4.

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  18. A's, 4-3 at Baltimore, as they throw out two Orioles at the plate in the 10th and then run a single into a double and single home the runner in the 11th. There will be 100 games to go this season after tonight's game in Baltimore; it has been a stone-cold joy to root for Oakland (38-23) through these first couple of months of the season.

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  19. OK. Boom! #GreenCollar! Doubleboom. A's beat Texas, 4-2, this afternoon, and--guess what?--they beat the Rangers yesterday, too. I've been down all day because I had misread the score from last night's late game. Instead of Texas beating Oakland, 10-6, the A's beat the Rangers, 10-6! So there you go! Oakland wins two of three. A's are 44-28 and 5.0 games up in the American League West, with the second-place Angels set to play Cleveland tonight.

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  20. A's have won the first three of four games in a four-game series with the Red Sox that ends today. Yesterday's star was Coco Crisp, who singled in the winning run from second in the bottom of the 10th after the umps had done everything they could to help the Boston cause.

    HP readers will, of course, remember that I received for Father's Day 2013 a fantastic Coco Crisp T-shirt. Well, I did not receive another A's-jersey T-shirt (or pecan roll) for Father's Day 2014, but my 2013 Crisp is still working just fine, thank you very much, even though it rides a little high on my belly after so many washings (and pecan rolls) since last summer. Oakland is now 47-28 and six games ahead of second-place Los Angeles in the American League West.

    (For Father's Day 2014, my wife and daughter gave me a Wii! Late last night, I stayed up after the ladies went to bed and played EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 for the first time, controlling Tiger to a promising, 21-over-par 92 performance at the picturesque Banff Springs course. I would be so happy if I ever scored as few as 92 strokes on just 18 holes of golf.)

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  21. Red Sox bounce back to take the fourth game of the series. Oakland rallied from 6-1 back with three runs in the bottom of the eighth and two more in the bottom of the ninth--but then lose it in the 10th. Second-place Angels (now 5.5 back of the A's in the American League West) are playing fourth-place Rangers (11 back) right now; it's wonderful that one of these teams will have to lose today, too.

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  22. GreenCollar, baby! Halfway home: 51-30.

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  23. The mathematical second half got off to a pretty ratty start for my A's. Oakland's closer, Sean Doolittle, allowed a walk-off grand slam in a 5-4 loss to Detroit, and then the Central-leading Tigers, which beat Oakland in the playoffs each of the last two seasons, swept the rest of the series.

    Things have started to pick up. The A's swung a surprise trade for a couple of veteran starting pitchers, ex-Cubs Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and they just completed a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays. Samardzija got today's win, 4-2.

    Closer remains a work in progress. Doolittle, a 27-year-old from Rapid City, S.D., who grew up in New Jersey, has 12 saves in 15 opportunities. His ERA is 2.83. That's all very good, of course. But I think he has been rushed into this job; one of Oakland's big offseason pickups was Jim Johnson, the ex-Baltimore closer, but that hasn't worked out yet at all. Doolittle was a star pitcher and first baseman for the University of Virginia, but he started out in the A's organization as a position player--eventually coming back to pitching after some injuries. He was named closer in May after Johnson struggled. He's obviously talented, but I bet Billy Beane figured on Doolittle getting a season or two more of setup experience and confidence before taking over as closer. He gave up a ninth-inning run in earning the save today.

    But, whatever, Oakland is back up to 55-33. The A's are 3.5 games ahead of Los Angeles in the American League West, and three of them just got announced for the all-star team: third baseman Josh Donaldson, starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and Doolittle!

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    1. Well, I don't know how the all-star teams are put together anymore, but--whatever and hooray--it turns out that there are six A's on the A.L. team: Donaldson, Kazmir, Doolittle, catcher Derek Norris and outfielders Yoénis Cespedes and Brandon Moss.

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