Wow, I needed that.
After yesterday’s snoozefest of a complete game shutout by Martín Perez, I was a bit worried about our offense this year. Actually, I was a little concerned about my enjoyment of baseball — yesterday was the first time this season I got so bored/frustrated I turned off the game. There’ll be more like that. The A’s will get shutout and blow saves and lose in the most heartrending ways. But I can live with it if they can follow it up with a game like this.
Kazmir started the game shaky, but he calmed down and managed to pitch yet another gem. His command was obviously off in the first inning, resulting in him loading the bases and proceeding to walk in a run on four pitches. But he got out of the inning without any more damage, and proceeded to settle down and dominate the weak Astros lineup. He ended with 7 Ks, 1 ER and 2 BBs over 6 IP — he could’ve gone 7 with his pitch count, but the A’s were up 8-1 at the time so it must not have been worth it.
There were a lot of offensive stars — Jed Lowrie, who went 3-4 with two doubles (of course) and a HBP. Alberto Callaspo, who smoked a linedrive two run HR. Derek Norris, who went 2-3 with two walks and an RBI. But really, the night was Donaldson’s.
Josh Donaldson went 3-4 with a double, two home runs, and two walks. No cheap Crawford Boxes homers either, both were absolutely smashed. It seems like Donaldson’s power is really shining this year. Obviously I expected regression (who didn’t?), but if he keeps anything close to this up he could be looking at 30+ HRs before the end of the year. That would make any OBP regression a lot more palatable. It’s also worth noting that this was Donaldson’s first career two-homer game.
Actually, maybe the real star of the A’s offense was the Astros defense. They committed five errors. Five. This was the defense that had the fewest errors in Major League Baseball coming into tonight. I can’t even remember the last time four happened in one game. It’s not like one player showed up drunk or anything, there were two on Matt Dominguez, one on L.J. Hoes, one on George Springer, and one on Jason Castro. There were certain plays that deserved to be Yakety Sax’d. Way to Astro, Astros.
The game did get scary when Yoenis Cespedes was removed from the game due to a hamstring injury in the 7th. It looks like it's nothing really serious, but enough to keep him out of the lineup for a few days. With any luck we won't need him this series, so in that sense the timing was good. But there's nothing more frustrating than a key player getting injured hustling in a blowout. Josh Reddick's awful wrist injury last year is the prime example.
Oh, also, Paul Clemens kind of sucks. Like, as a person. He insisted on throwing at Lowrie yet again for #buntgate, which rightfully got him thrown from the game. And then Donaldson homered the next AB, because there is justice in the world, and his name is Josh Donaldson.
These past few series have made me really dislike the Astros. I like Jose Altuve a lot (almost entirely because he’s short), and Springer seems nice enough, but Bo Porter, Paul Clemens, and whoever else keeps encouraging the team to be pissed at Lowrie are not very cool.
Dammit, Astros. I love a good underdog, and your insistence on risking injury to one of our key players because of improper bunt etiquette is really hurting your scrappy likability.
But we just won by 9 runs, so I suppose that’s karma.
Anyway, it’s good to see that the offense isn’t broken. It might just be an Astros-driven illusion, but it’s nice anyway. Tomorrow’s game is the same time, same place, same terrible Astros team. See you there.