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A's Try Novel "Exhaust the Bullpen" Strategy, Doesn't Work

Cliff Lee was sharp. Gio Gonzalez was sharp. The difference? Lee had 118 pitches through nine innings. Gonzalez had 111...through six. With Andrew Bailey out with back spasms, the A's had to throw together three innings of work out of a depleted bullpen. In a tie game. And, to their credit, they did, using the three most reliable relievers they had—Jerry Blevins in the 7th, Craig Breslow in the 8th and part of the 9th, and Michael Wuertz at the end of the 9th. But to get a fourth inning out of that crew? Much more difficult. Michael Wuertz started hanging sliders left and right in his second inning of work, and surprise surprise, Nelson Cruz wasn't fooled.

I can't write a recap of this game without quickly mentioning that umpire Kerwin Danley had one of the most abnormal strike zones I've ever seen. The corners were strikes. Then they weren't. Then the batter's box was a strike. Then it wasn't. It's no surprise that Jack Cust was ejected. Even Mr. Calm Mark Ellis was screaming bloody murder (in his head...maybe).

There is, believe it or not, a silver lining to this game. When your third starter and a depleted bullpen can match Cliff Lee inning for inning nine times in a row, you've got to be doing something right. Make no mistake—Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson are difficult to face, but they're not Cliff Lee. This series is still absolutely winnable.

Current Series

Rangers lead the series 1-0

Tue 07/27 WP: Neftali Feliz (2 - 2)
LP: Michael Wuertz (2 - 2)
1 - 3 loss

Oakland Athletics
@ Texas Rangers

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010, 5:05 PM PDT
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

Trevor Cahill vs Colby Lewis

Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing in from right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.

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Thu 07/29 5:05 PM PDT

Final - 7.27.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Oakland Athletics 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
Texas Rangers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 8 1
WP: Neftali Feliz (2 - 2)
LP: Michael Wuertz (2 - 2)

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