I’m going to need to take you on a dark journey through a painful series of games just so I can show you how remarkable this game was. Get ready, because this is going to suck: Jered Weaver has pitched 11 games since 2011 versus the A’s. Here are his innings pitched/earned run totals:
4/25/11: 9 IP, 0 ER
5/23/11: 7 IP, 1 ER
7/13/11: 6.2 IP, 2 ER
9/14/11: 7 IP, 1 ER
9/23/11: 8.1 IP, 2 ER
4/16/12: 6.2 IP, 0 ER
5/23/12: 8 IP, 1 ER
8/6/12: 9 IP, 0 ER
9/13/12: 7 IP, 0 ER
7/19/13: 6.2 IP, 1 ER
9/25/13: 7 IP, 1 ER
In case you were wondering, that’s an 0.87 ERA. For as much has been said about how Felix Hernandez kills us, Jered Weaver has been on an absolute other level versus the A’s the past few years. Somehow his soft-tossing, junk-balling, control-freaking ways have absolutely mowed down the A’s offense. Not that the A's offense was much of anything in 2011, but still.
Today, we tagged him for 6 runs, 5 of which were earned, over 6 innings.
In case you wanted a sign from the stars that this team was destined for something special, this is it.
It’s tough to remember that this game started off looking like bad news: Sonny Gray continued his first inning-itis by beginning the game with a leadoff walk, moved over to second after a bunt. However, in a bizarre baserunning miscalculation, Kole Calhoun decided to try to get to third on a groundout to shortstop. I guess he forgot that Callaspo is a natural thirdbaseman and can make good throws across the diamond? Either way, he made that last out of the inning at third. It was a TOOTBLAN to end all TOOTBLANS. In summation, LOLANGELS.
Weaver started off perfect for two innings, but after Callaspo broke up the no-no, the floodgates were open. Sogard single, Coco RBI double, 2 RBI single for Donaldson, Lowrie RBI single and that’s all the A’s would need. A Lowrie solo shot and a Howie Kendrick error later in the game would pad the A’s sweet, sweet run differential.
As for Gray, he didn’t look bad. He didn’t look especially good either. Just another ho-hum quality start. Either way, his stuff looked great and the Angels are one of the best offensive teams in the majors, even with Trout on the bench. I’ll absolutely take a quality start.
I’m really glad to see Gray’s strikeout totals creep back up a bit. He ended the day with 5 Ks, and even though that doesn’t sound like a lot, it seems like Gray’s strikeout numbers have been falling fast all season – before the game, he was at 7.3 K/9. That’s good, but it’s certainly not elite, and I guess I just expect the elite from Gray.
Maybe he’s transitioned into a more traditional sinkerball pitcher, but I love my strikeouts. Strikeouts are fun. I want more strikeouts.
Thankfully, Doolittle’s 9th inning had plenty of strikeouts. 3, to be exact. I forgot what an dominant save looked like. I truly believe this guy could be a top-5 closer very soon, maybe even this season.
Anyway, it’s cool to see the A’s can win even with no player having an incredible day. The last few wins have been like that: Kazmir’s CG, Donaldson’s 2 HR night, the Cespedes game. Today was just a good, solid team effort against a very good team with a very good pitcher on the mound. Those wins are always fun.
The A’s are now 4.5 games up on the Angels, are the top team in the AL, and are the #2 team in the MLB. They lead the world in run differential. This is a very, very good team.
I’m going to leave you with some fun facts:
Lowrie is the #3 defensive shortstop in the AL by Fangraphs’ Defensive Runs Saved.
Donaldson leads baseball in runs, and is tied with Troy Tulowitski for bWAR, and is tied for second in fWAR with Stanton and Trout. In summation, MVP, MVP, MVP, MVP, MVP, MVP.