Yesterday was one of the best baseball days of my life. Nico and I attended Blog Day as representatives of Athletics Nation, and got the chance to interview Bob Melvin, Farhan Zaidi (Director of Baseball Operations), Brett Anderson, A.J. Griffin, and (unofficially) Ray Fosse (which was the highlight for me). After that, I got to meet with a couple of old friends, bask in the best crowd I've seen at the Coliseum in years, enjoy an excellent fireworks show, and even chat with Banjo Man for awhile in the parking lot as I waited for the traffic to clear out (he's a weird dude, but I like him). We're going to write a much longer, in-depth post about the Blog Day event soon enough, but for now, there's your summary.
Oh yeah, the A's won, too. It was pretty awesome. My personal record at the ballpark this year is 6-1, which tells us two things:
I'm clearly a good luck charm.
I haven't gone to enough games this year.
Before we look at today's match-up, I'd like to share with you the Fun Fact of the Day. Here is a list of the Top-10 pitchers in the AL according to FIP (Fielding-Independent Pitching):
- Felix Hernandez, 2.96
- Justin Verlander, 3.00
- David Price, 3.24
- Chris Sale, 3.24
- Max Scherzer, 3.32
- Yu Darvish, 3.38
- Jarrod Parker, 3.46
- CC Sabathia, 3.55
- James Shields, 3.55
- Jered Weaver, 3.63
It's not just that Parker is 7th in the league. Look at that list of pitchers. Are there any flukes up there? Sure, you've got a couple of other sort-of-rookies (Sale is basically a rookie, in terms of starting; Darvish is technically a rookie, though you could argue that he is functionally a veteran), and you've got Scherzer, who always had the tools to break out like this, but who probably needs another year or two of success to prove that he truly belongs. Overall, though, this is a list of the top pitchers in the league. There isn't a player with a serious Cy Young case who isn't on this list. That's kind of the point of FIP, of course; to show who the best pitchers are, as opposed to the guys who got the best short-term results (W-L, ERA, etc.). And the point is that Parker, even at age 23 and in his first full season, is already on this list. That's impressive.
Tonight, Parker looks to improve on his previous start against the Orioles, in which he was clearly affected by the Baltimore heat/humidity. In 5 innings, he gave up 6 runs despite striking out 8 batters with just one walk. That game ended up being the 14-9 thriller, with the A's coming out on top after a 6-run 9th inning and a Jim Johnson blown save. Johnson has allowed 19 earned runs all season, and 6 of them came in that game.
Parker's opponent today, Zach Britton, also started in that game. Like Parker, he also allowed 6 runs without getting out of the 6th inning (he made it through 5.2 innings, but only recorded 2 strikeouts against a lineup which loves to strike out). Overall, Britton's strikeouts, hits, and homers have been in good shape this season, but he walks far too many guys (about one walk every other inning). Poor control is a bad thing to have against this A's team. Of course, wearing an opposing uniform is a bad thing to do against this A's team lately, so perhaps there was no hope for Britton to begin with.
The A's lineup
is the same as it was yesterday. Here it is, printed all pretty for you:
And with that, it's time to clinch the season series. Lets go Oakland!
Note: The Yankees beat the Rays to even their series, and the White Sox and Tigers both won their games. The Angels are playing the Royals, which is bad, but they're facing Jeremy Guthrie, which is good. The Rangers are squaring off against the Mariners.