By Jason Wojciechowski on June 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM
First, here is yesterday's brief recap, in the style of whoever you like.
Second, a brief idea of what actually happened, in semi-chronological order: in the second inning, three singles loaded the bases for the Mets, a double play brought home a run, and Jose Reyes managed a chopper up the middle with two out just past Graham Godfrey's glove to make it 2-0 New York. None of the Met hits in the frame was a shot, but at least two, and maybe three, depending on how you feel about Reyes's single, were hit pretty solidly.
In the fifth, Jose Reyes reached on an infield single (that the official scorer unjustly ruled an error on Jemile Weeks -- more on that below) that resulted from Mark Ellis's inexperience at first base (see below for that as well) and the Mets small-balled him to third before Daniel Murphy just squeaked a bouncer up the middle for another two-out RBI. At 3-0 at this point, the game felt pretty well over. The Mets added a fourth run in the sixth off of Craig Breslow (charged to Godfrey, though), and the A's pushed a run across in the eighth, but the A's mostly did not threaten: they loaded the bases on two singles and an HBP in the fourth, but in no other inning did they send more than four men to the plate. Without a team full of solo-home-run-hitters, that's not going to get any runs scored.
Games 77-79 are in Philadelphia, where I fully expect the A's to lose two of three. You can almost write off the Roy Halladay game ahead of time, especially with Josh "My ERA Can't Seriously Be That Low" Outman throwing against him. Taking one of the other two seems reasonable.
Box & Notes
(I've omitted pitchers who didn't bat from the box score. It seems silly to include them.)
Jemile Weeks stole two bases in the game and walked once, which sounds like pretty leadoff-hitter-y stuff to me. Two notes, one from this game and one a friend-of-the-blog report. First, on both steal attempts, Weeks went into the bag feet first. On the first steal, there wasn't even a throw, and on the second, the throw wasn't even close to getting him on time, so it's possible that Weeks knew he was safe and executed a simple "stop myself on the bag" maneuver. That is, I'm not ready to start thinking that he's abandoned the head-first slide just a few weeks into his major-league career. The slide, when executed properly, and if respected by the umpires, can be a real weapon for a baserunner, allowing you to avoid tags and do all sorts of fancy stuff, so I'd hate to see him give it up already.
Second note is that Friend of the Blog Migs (ok, Friend of Jason is more like it, although he does read the blog and has commented from time to time) reported that some A's fans sitting near him at
Sheaduring Game 75 were bitching about Jemile Weeks and predicting that he'd be sent back down to Sacramento soon. It is entirely unclear to me what these people are thinking, or whether they are A's fans, or even baseball fans. Have they watched him play? Have they seen his numbers? Have they seen what Mark Ellis has been doing at the plate this year? Jemile Weeks is going nowhere, nor should he.
Cliff Pennington struck out on a fastball up around his neck in the fifth inning. This is acceptable if he might hit that pitch over a wall from time to time. Cliff Pennington is, however, a 5'10" shortstop with the kind of slugging percentage I put up in high school (BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: I was not a good hitter in high school), so those kinds of swings are about as unacceptable a thing as Pennington can do at the plate, outside of sacrifice bunting.
Coco Crisp drove in the A's run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, so that's lovely.
Conor Jackson also struck out on a neck-high fastball, but at least he has power. (Maybe I should say "nominal power," though, since his slugging percentage is a theoretical construct I learned in Modern Algebra from Ruth Haas at Smith College, Fall, 2000.)
I'm giving Scott Sizemore credit for a double in the sixth inning because it looked to me like he was going to second on his liner into right-center even if Angel Pagan didn't misplay the ball and let it roll about eight feet behind him. It's a judgment call, and I'm swayed by the fact that I think it was the hardest-hit ball the A's had all night.
Mark Ellis hit a single on a soft liner in his second at-bat, his first hit since coming back from the DL. His more notable play was the first-base gaffe I alluded to in the introduction, however. On a Jose Reyes grounder toward the 3-4 hole in the fifth inning, Ellis went way to his right and couldn't glove it. Jemile Weeks, though, was right there for the play and picked the ball up easily, not on the run or anything. With Ellis halfway down to second base, though, the only hope was that Weeks could lead a throw to Graham Godfrey hustling over to try to beat Jose Reyes to the bag. Weeks's throw was maybe six inches too far in front of Godfrey and Reyes made it safely. He was given an error on the play, apparently, which is bullshit, because the throw was nearly impossible and it was all Ellis's fault in the first place.
Ellis owes Weeks dinner or something.
Chris Carter came in on a double-switch and did nothing much of note in his one at-bat against Pedro Beato. Daric Barton did a really nice job of clearing the way for Carter, but it's up to him to seize the opportunity (and also up to Bob Melvin to give him the shot). Another oh-for-28 or whatever it was last year won't do that.
I bitched about David DeJesus batting seventh before the game, but three outs and a hit-by-pitch don't exactly help me make the case that he should be up higher.
Landon Powell struck out looking in the fourth with the bases loaded and two out, but it's more credit to Chris Capuano than debit from Powell -- four of the five pitches Capuano threw were low in the zone, three were on the corners, and the last pitch was pretty much a perfect 0-2 offering, perhaps a bit inside, but even if it is, now it's 1-2 and you can do something else.
Ryan Sweeney pinch-hit for the pitcher's spot in the ninth and hit a ball hard, but, as is his wont, it was on the ground and right at Dan Murphy at first.
That's not a bad line for Graham Godfrey, especially considering he's the A's 17th starter or something. He still works up in the zone more than I'd like, but the Mets weren't able to really square much of anything up and rip him around the yard. (Then again, it's the Mets.)
The most important thing that happened was Godfrey's first-inning HBP delivered to Justin Turner, the "hero" of Game 75 for driving in the game-winning run by turning his leg into a Brad Ziegler slider with the bases loaded. Twitter immediately exploded with calls to anoint Godfrey and Bob Melvin the saviors of the A's for giving them the toughness and the grit and the fire a;pdfhgaia;hfi;galksjdas;jkgl
Sorry, I fell asleep on my keyboard. Look, did you see the play? Do pitchers react like that when they meet to hit someone? Godfrey sort of turned around and looked at the sky in frustration. I suppose he could have been acting, but for whose sake? The entire point of hitting an opposing batter on purpose is to send a message. You don't hide the fact that you're sending a message by pretending you weren't sending a message. After the game, with the media? Sure, you're coy, because you don't want to get fined. But in the game? You give the batter the little stare-down, especially since Turner reacted like a punk. Godfrey didn't do that. This wasn't a message.
Craig Breslow: line drive, line drive, pop/fly. That's not great.
Michael Wuertz actually allowed two base-runners, but Landon Powell threw out Dan Murphy stealing second in the seventh.
Also, six whiffs in 30 pitches is pretty damn good. Jonathan Papelbon leads the AL in Swinging Strike Percentage (10 IP or more) at Fangraphs at 17.6%. Six out of thirty is 20%, and this was hardly a fluke -- Wuertz stands tenth in the league (12.7%) overall. He gets a shockingly low percentage of first-pitch strikes (48% -- only one other player in the top 35 in SwStr% is below 50% (Francisco Liriano) and a lot of guys are in the low-60%s), but he's surviving anyway because of the still-filthy slider.