On the heels of Robin Ventura musing about where to assign blame for his squad’s abysmal offense – poor hitting or good pitching by the opposition – the White Sox ran into an example of why it is almost certainly the former and not the latter. Dan Straily took the mound for Oakland. Straily is a nice enough back-end starter, but if you can’t compete against him, then I’m not sure which pitchers you do expect to do damage against. Jose Quintana wound up having to battle hard through 5.1IP, having thrown 50 pitches after only two innings, and allowing 10 hits in that time. The three runs he surrendered were impressive, given how many baserunners he allowed (throw 3 walks in there as well). Still, it meant his day ended early and shifted the burden to an overtaxed bullpen coming off of heavy workloads against the Cubs. The A’s put a big premium on working the count.
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The bullpen acquitted itself well, holding the A’s at 3 runs until the 10th. Meanwhile, Straily was subduing the White Sox’ bats without difficulty. Heading into the 7th, the White Sox were down 3-1, which is a monumental deficit given the ’13 White Sox offense. In 10 innings, the White Sox would manage 10 hits, 8 of which were singles, none of which were home runs. Still, Jeff Keppinger single off of the newly arrived Sean Doolittle set up a Hector Gimenez double and de Aza’s single (off a lefty!) would tie the game back up.
Unfortunately, you still can’t win a game just by tying it. In extra innings, Hector Santiago just didn’t have his control and wound up walking in a run. It happens. However, one has to wonder what sort of toll it takes on the pitchers knowing that they have zero margin for error. Ventura continued to ignore Adam Dunn‘s health, inability to perform, and platoon split. With Dunn hitting clean up, as always, the White Sox had a runner on 2nd (the go ahead run) with 2 out in the 7th following de Aza’s RBI single and steal of second. Doolittle didn’t have his best stuff, but as a lefty, he always has a strong advantage over the White Sox DH. Ventura didn’t pinch hit for Dunn, despite the importance of the situation and the handedness of the parties involved. You’d think it would have been a clue when the A’s intentionally walked Alex Rios in order to get to Dunn.
If Dunn’s going to hit like a pitcher, he’ll be gameplanned for like one.
The A’s came into today leading the majors in BB% as a team, and they added eight more walks courtesy of White Sox pitching (5 from Santiago in very short work). Meanwhile, White Sox hitters walked once in 10 innings of baseball. A contrast in organizational philosophies.
Paul Konerko, a strikeout victim in his first two at bats, was pulled for his third PA against Straily. When Casper Wells came up to pitch hit – a fellow who also hits right-handed – I figured Konerko must be hurt. He left the game with a stiff neck. Konerko’s neck sounds like a day-to-day injury at the moment, although we’ve heard that before.
Team Record: 24-29