If somebody wants to give Joe Morgan a butchered version of Moneyball that maybe he will listen to, somebody should show Joe Morgan the box score from tonight's game. Behind 11 walks, including two RBI walks by Derek Norris and four walks by Eric Sogard, the Athletics get to 72-44 and have won 12 in a row against the Minnesota Twins, winning by the final of 9-4.
It is possible to throw six innings of two-run ball and have it feel like a good start. This is just not one of those times. Jeff Samardzija picked up a finger-quotes quality start (FQQS) pitching six innings of two-run seven-hit ball. The early going for the Shark found a lot of hard hit contact, with Danny Santana leading off the game with a hard-hit ball deep to Coco Crisp in Center, then giving up a double to Brian Dozier and an RBI-single to Trevor Plouffe.
Except for the fourth inning, Samardizja never dominated. His 109 pitches break down by inning to 18, 23, 19, 8, 25, and 16. He conceded a double in every inning but the fourth, and both walks he conceded stole bases on him.
But I'll take a FQQS over a BIFS.
"Burn It with Fire Start" (BIFS)
Trevor May was granted a one-run cushion for his Major League debut but got in trouble early. Sam Fuld singled, and Josh Donaldson doubled, and after that it seemed May could not find the plate. He walked Brandon Moss and Derek Norris consecutively to bring in a run, and escaped the inning when Josh Donaldson was out at the plate on Josh Reddick's flyout to left:
May might have gotten back on track after getting two quick outs to start the second, getting Jed Lowrie and Stephen Vogt to fly out. Eric Sogard, however, picked up his first walk. And then Coco Crisp picked up his first walk. And then Sam Fuld picked up his first walk. And then Josh Donaldson drove in two runs. And then Brandon Moss picked up his second walk. And then Derek Norris picked up his second RBI walk. May's two-out debacle ended with Josh Reddick grounding out to Dozier with Samuel Deduno warming in the pen.
May is now approaching "start asking @EliasSports about walks allowed in two innings or fewer in a Major League debut" territory.— Jeremy F. Koo (@jfkooAN) August 10, 2014
Apparently, 63 pitches and only 28 for strikes to get through two innings made it clear to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire that maybe Trevor May should try again on another night. In the third, Deduno walked Jed Lowrie and Eric Sogard for the eighth and ninth walks for the Green and Gold. It was also Sogard's second walk of the night.
In the fifth, the Athletics went back to some of the other methods of rounding the bases. Josh Reddick bunted successfully against the shift. and was brought home on Stephen Vogt's two-run home run. Meanwhile, Eric Sogard drew his third walk.
Josh Donaldson led off the sixth by being hit by Samuel Deduno's pitch, Brandon Moss singled, and Derek Norris homered to bring them all home. It ended up being a five-RBI night for Norris. Eric Sogard found himself walked for the fourth time, setting an Oakland record for a number nine hitter.
Sogard the 10th player with four walks in a game this season, joining the likes of fellow sluggers Posey, Bautista, Bruce. #Athletics— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) August 10, 2014
After all the scoring in the sixth, the Rally Opossum made an appearance. Glen Kuiper really is not a fan of opossums:
The Athletics, ultimately, walked 11 times, was hit by a pitch once, had 10 hits including two doubles and two home runs, and made 45 plate appearances. That's a team slash line of .303/.488/.545.
Wrap it up
Dan Otero returned on five days rest to relieve Samardzija in the seventh. His outing was a little bit sloppy in the low leverage situation, giving up five hits in 11 plate appearances, including two doubles and a single in the eighth to give up two runs, ending the bullpen scoreless streak at 29⅔ innings.
Consec. Scoreless IP by #Athletics Bullpen (since 1914) 44.0 9/3-20, 1966 34.0 9/10-10/1, 1944 30.2 9/1-21, 1929 29.2 7/28-8/9, 2014— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) August 10, 2014
Eric O'Flaherty also entered for the first time since August 5 and got himself a 1-2-3 ninth inning to end the game.
Too late for the final edition
The A's take a 4½ game lead in the AL West as the Red Sox and Angels play in extra innings as of 10:10 pm. That game also started around six o'clock. It's a mere question whether that game will end before the rain delayed Nationals-Braves game tied in the bottom of the eighth.
A's are 1-0 when Governors of New Jersey are in attendance
@cuppingmaster MT @JoshFeinberg: A's have a perfect record when the Governor of NJ is in the building. #ChrisChristie pic.twitter.com/kGpZ7QIi7j— Jeremy F. Koo (@jfkooAN) August 10, 2014
The Athletics go for the season sweep against the Twins at 1:05 pm tomorrow. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Phil Hughes. Tommy Milone was called up after the Twins traded Kevin Correia to the Dodgers, according to mlb.com Twins beat reporter Rhett Bolligner, but he will not start until Monday:
Tommy Milone will take Kevin Correia's spot in the rotation and will start Monday in Houston— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) August 10, 2014
Good luck on Monday, Tommy! Until then, go A's!