The A's win and no one got hurt!
This game had a feel to it. After reluctantly scoring a run in the first off of two walks and a single off the wall (sound familiar?), young Kendall Graveman took the hill for the A's. Graveman just didn't have it tonight for a third straight outing, missing all over with his sinker, being unable to put hitters away, and generally looking like a little leaguer at picture day with his oversized jersey but no undershirt. The Angels scored two runs on a David Freese 2 out single, and if it weren't for a sparkling defensive play by Ike Davis and a semi TOOTBLAN by Freese, the damage could have been much worse.
Fear not, however, as the A's would show resiliency in a non-blowout for seemingly the first time this season.
Down 2-1, Super Sam Fuld led off the third with a double down the line which was promptly followed by a Canha single to shortstop. For those of you keeping track, Sam Fuld managed to advance a single base on two basehits, a statistical anomaly that would make Country Breakfast proud. Seeing this, Stephen Vogt decided to take matters into his own hand, launching yet another blast into the right field bleachers, reminiscent of another LH catcher a year ago.
I think I speak for everyone when I say, I love Stephen Vogt. We don't talk about how "A's" he is enough. Acquired for cash considerations (seriously, we gave up nothing for him) a few years back, he has become one of the A's best hitters, a great defensive catcher, and a guy who can handle a young pitching staff. He is enormously valuable to this team and we basically got him for nothing. He is emblematic of our organization.
In the bottom of the frame, Kendall Graveman was yanked in favor of Dan Otero to the collective sigh of relief and pain of A's fans everywhere. With runners on first and second and no outs thanks to consecutive Graveman walks, Otero induced a groundout and two K's. The A's were out of the inning unscathed, save for BWH's heart after watching yet another display of wildness by mancrush Kendall Graveman.
Otero was the player of the game in my book, pitching four shutout innings of 1 hit ball while striking out four. On a team without its long reliever (Chavez starting on Thursday) and a fanbase desperate for a decent bullpen outing, Otero shut down the Angels while keeping the pen intact for the rest of the series
The A's tacked on one last run in the ninth thanks to a leadoff double by Eric Sogard (henceforth known as better Zobrist) and a pair of flyballs by Semien and Fuld. Tyler Clippard gently closed the door in the bottom of the ninth in Grant Balfour fashion by allowing a pair of walks but ultimately getting Kole Calhoun to fly out to left.
Now, I didn't talk much about Kendall Graveman because frankly it's a little painful. Graveman limped through 3+ innings, being pulled with runners on in the fourth. In spite of a not extremely terrible line, Graveman was never in control of this game, looking uncomfortable and not trusting his stuff. I think we can all agree a little AAA seasoning might do him some good, as the pitcher we were expecting isn't the pitcher we've seen.
One final note: Evan Scribner pitched a clean eighth tonight, and while it wasn't exactly dominant, it was nice to see a guy I think we all root for succeed in a high leverage situation.
We'll see you again tomorrow night as Drew Pomeranz faces off against Hector Santiago. First pitch is at 7:05.
Edit: I somehow managed to forget about Marcus Semien's awesome dinger. I'm a big Semien fan, and as he gains confidence at the plate, I believe more and more. He has the offensive capability to be a well above average shortstop, and while his defense today was lacking, I think he will end up average in that department. Do yourself a favor and watch his dinger again; it was a thing of beauty.