It was a cold night for Athletics baseball, as game time temperature began at 55 degrees and the winds whipped across the field. The weather wasn't the only thing that was cold, it was also Erik Bedard's location to begin the game. He only lasted 0.1 IP today, and by the time he was done, he had left his Astros with a 6-0 deficit.
Bedard began his evening with three consecutive walks to Coco Crisp, Derek Norris, and Chris Young, and really wasn't close with any of his pitches. After a Jed Lowrie K for his only out, Josh Donaldson stood by as he also received the free pass, but not before Bedard threw one way high and away for a wild pitch and the A's first run. Brandon Moss then stepped up, and after finding himself in an 0-2 hole, knocked the 4th pitch of the AB into right to give the A's a 3-0 lead. The biggest blow, however, was left to the next guy, Nate Freiman. He took a hanging curve deep out to left field for his first MLB homerun and a 6-0 A's lead, also ending Bedard's night (mercifully). His final line: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 1 K on 7 batters faced. That's one of the ugliest lines you will see by a starter all season, folks. His relief, Paul Clemens, put up a long relief clinic in his stead. In 5.1 IP, he threw 72 pitches, allowed only one hit, struck out 3, and walked only two. His effort will be overshadowed by the Astros' loss, but he saved their bullpen. In addition, he also ended up with a gnarly finger injury that Brett Anderson would be proud of:
(click here for GIF - trying to save the squeamish)
This was after he yelled some obscenities to the home plate umpire, took charge on a few pop ups, and threw a piece of a broken bat at Mike Piazza. Okay, I may have embellished the last part. But he might have been the most interesting part of this game.
Meanwhile, Tommy Milone turned in a classic Milone performance. He gave up single runs in the 4th and 7th, but other than that, was exactly what the A's needed after two consecutive mediocre performance by rotation anchors. He left after an RBI single by Jose Altuve to close the A's advantage to 6-2 and put runners at first and second. His final line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, and 6 K. Sean Doolittle then came in to blow away Justin Maxwell on four fastballs and end the inning. Not wishing to keep the game close, the A's upped their lead to 8-2 on a two-RBI single by Jed Lowrie, after a Derek Norris walk and Chris Young double. After a Josh Donaldson infield hit to Matt Dominguez at 3B that he deflected off his body, it would be Moss who added the 9th run on a line drive opposite field double to left-center. While it's only been 52 PA after today, and a 124 wRC+ going into the day, it sure looks like Moss is much of the same guy the A's enjoyed during the second half of 2012. Even if he does regress - hey, 160 wRC+ is hard to replicate - 130-135 with average defense is a hell of a player.
The A's would add on two more runs in the bottom of the 8th on another two-run single by Lowrie. He's terrorized his former team, with a 1.600 OPS, 2 HR, and 7 hits coming into the game. Today, he only served to stick the final nail in Houston's coffin, extending the A's advantage to 11-2. Pat Neshek and Grant Balfour would close this game out, and send the frozen crowd home happy. Here's hoping no one got frostbite out there. Someone check on Jeff Luhnow though and maybe throw some coffee on him:
We'll do it again tomorrow, with Lev Facher as your host. Another 7:05 PM start, with A.J. Griffin on the mound looking to repeat his tremendous performance against the Angels.