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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lourdes In The Seventh: Angels 11, A's 7

What Lourdes is to hunchbacks and the afflicted, the Oakland Athletics are to under-performing baseball teams. We'll cure what ails ya.
— Philip Michaels, via Facebook
Well of course the big story will be Kendry Morales and his franchise-record-breaking 13 total bases (at least, that's what I remember the radio broadcasters telling me, I'm too lazy to run upstairs and verify it just yet), but really, this was a couple of games; the first one was the second consecutive mauling of Trevor Bell by a major league club whose bats he is not suitably trained to oppose. The news of the Scott Kazmir trade also overshadowed, to some extent, the exceptional night that Morales had, and in fact needed to have as a consequence.

Bell, the once and future AAA pitcher, got through the A's lineup exactly once without giving up a run. That fact was greatly assisted by Rajai Davis erasing himself on a 2-6 caught stealing in the first; but the A's wouldn't repeat that mistake, and after a relatively quiet second, pounced in the next frame, with Bell unable to get the third out of the inning but giving up instead a home run to Scott Hairston, who has been known to hit them (this was his sixth, a two-run jack plating Kurt Suzuki).

The rest of the frame was fuzzy, and I briefly considered suicide by listening to Miley Cyrus, or leaving the game early; but as Philip, the former author of the estimable (and apparently now defunct) Idiots Write About Sports observed, this is, after all, the 2009 Oakland A's we're talking about here, so all kinds of catastrophes may ensue. However, the least likely one that I could think of is a massive fail by sidewinder Brad Ziegler, who has pretty much pwned the Angels in his career to the tune of a 1.84 ERA prior to Friday night. (We shall not speak of Brett Freaking Tomko, who turned in a shockingly effective 5.2 IP with two runs, both earned, and was in line to get the win.) Between the starter and Ziegler, Craig Breslow, who actually didn't pitch too badly, but then the A's defense made a couple critical errors:

That set up Breslow's exit and Ziegler's entrance; shockingly, none of Breslow's three allowed runs were earned! That wasn't the case for Ziegler, whose operatic pratfall had to be some sort of personal record against the Angels; not only did they bat around, but the Angels sent eleven men to the plate in one of those Hallelujah Chorus offensive moments that they desperately needed this week.

Kevin Jepsen almost managed to close out the game and get his first major league save. Following a clean 1-2-3 eighth, he couldn't quite pull it together in the ninth, leaving the game with a pair on first and third, a run in and one out. Brian Fuentes came in like Winston Wolfe and knocked out the remaining two outs on four pitches.

We'll fix what ails you, all righty.

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The tag on Abreu looked genuine. If you review the highlights on mlb.com it appears he did tag him.
I thought it was close, and the umpire had a better view of the play than I did.

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