(takes deep breath) Dear lord, where do I even begin to sum up this debacle to someone who didn't watch this game?
First of all, be glad you missed tonight's game, because if you thought yesterday's game was boring, you would have wished for all the boring in the world to replace the excitement that came with this one. Put a tent on the circus; the A's are the laughingstock of SportsCenter tonight, and rightly so. Lost in the clown, tiger and pony show was another amazing start by Brandon McCarthy, who set up what was a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning. Instead of celebrating his win, he could only watch helplessly in horror as the A's fell apart in truly spectacular fashion. Like write home to mom, bookmark the box score; how do you go from a 1-0 win to a 8-4 loss in the span of an inning and a half?
Summed up in one sentence or less: If you thought yesterday's game was a tragic loss, you hadn't seen anything yet as Geren's bullpen mismanagement combined with the black hole that is the A's pathetic offense and their pitiful defense cost McCarthy and the A's a much-needed win. It's bad enough that our manager cannot deviate from his baseball script no doubt written by Joe Morgan, but when the defense, which leads both leagues in errors, and probably several high schools as well, falls apart yet again, and the offense scores one &**&^ run through two &^*&^ games (no, I refuse to count the three runs in the tenth; garbage!), I reserve the right to write a ranting recap, and thirteen games into the season or not, this is unacceptable and this baseball is TRULY unwatchable. I almost wrote this recap from the Tigers point of view, because boy, wouldn't that have been fun, but if the A's made me watch it, then darnit, I can rant about it from an A's fan point of view.
On a side note, nothing is more fun than hanging out with Mrs. McCarthy (Brandon's awesome wife) on Twitter. We love her.
Back to the game. If you even want to know, follow me to the jump.
The tone of the game was set in the bottom of the first inning, as the A's loaded the bases (Barton single, DeJesus single--he would go 3-5 with 3 RBI's on the night--Willingham walk), bringing up Hideki Matsui. The box score will show Matsui hitting into a DP, but the ball was smoked up the middle and the god of "We can't have nice things" was there to escort the A's out of the inning. The A's would score their lone run (ignore the garbage runs in tenth) on a single by Coco, a stolen base, and an RBI single by DeJesus. They would have one more chance in the sixth after a leadoff double by Barton, but both Willingham and Matsui struck out and the run stayed harmlessly at third base. That was the A's ONE RUN, making Rick Porcello into a six inning star.
However, as depressing as that was, the game was actually the A's for the win. The bullpen combination of Breslow and Balfour followed McCarthy out of the game; all three holding the Tigers scoreless, and the stage was set for the ninth inning.
Let me set the scene. You know Fuentes isn't the A's real closer, right? My dog knows this. There is no reason to protect his numbers or to make sure he doesn't come out of his dressing room one minute before or after the beginning of the ninth inning. He has no memorable closer song, no flashy lights, no dance. Balfour could just as easily close, right? So when Balfour tears through the Tigers in an open and shut eighth inning AND THE BEST RIGHT-HANDED HITTER IN ALL OF BASEBALL IS UP TO BAT FIRST IN THE NINTH WITH THE A'S CLINGING TO A ONE-RUN LEAD, why in the world doesn't Balfour pitch to one more batter? WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?
That batter was Miguel Cabrera, of course. And Nico says something like this, calmly in the game thread, "Wow, look at Cabrera's numbers (awesome) against Fuentes and looking at how great and right-handed Balfour is, the only call is to leave Balfour in for one more batter and have Fuentes follow him." But nope, Bob, because closers come in during the ninth inning. And what happened? Cabrera tied the game with a homerun; a no-doubt shot. Epic fail, but it gets even MORE fun!
Fuentes ends the ninth; we go to extra innings, where apparently Geren is Dusty Baker in the bottom of the tenth. Despite having the league's best double-play inducing reliever all warmed up in the 'pen, Fuentes throws like 86,000 pitches, and before you know it, the A's have lost the lead. Okay, it wasn't just like that. Daric Barton hurdled (yes, HURDLED) a ground ball for an error to put the first runner on. The only real out was the sac bunt that followed (ironic). With the runner on second, Fuentes throws the ball away on a pickoff, and the runner moves to third. Follow this by an intentional walk. All fans and AN expected a pitching change, but not Geren. Nope. Fuentes stayed in the game and walked the bases loaded. Nope, not yet. Fuentes gives up a two run double. And then intentionally walks Miguel Cabrera again. And then Ziggy comes in. To a lefty. He gave up a single to score the Tigers' fourth run, but then got a ground ball to third. LaRoche fired wildly to home for yet another error in the inning, and two more runs score. After a groundout, which should have ended the inning YET AGAIN, Ziegler gave up another single, and another run.
The A's teAsed us with three runs in the tenth, but whatever. The game was done. If you care, Suzuki, Sweeney, and Pennington singled to load the bases, Coco grounded out for one RBI, and DeJesus singled in two.
This was one for the ages. A brutal, disgusting, awful, loss, and one that made everyone but David DeJesus and Brandon McCarthy look like they had never seen a major league game before. And Bob Geren as manager? Feel free to construct your own conclusions in the thread.
Have a better weekend than the A's will; they face Verlander tomorrow.