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Oakland A’s III: Padding the Lead II
Posted By Cliff Corcoran On August 17, 2009 @ 6:46 pm In Cliff Corcoran,Game Thread,Series Preview | Comments Disabled
Since the Yankees took three-of-four from the A’s in the Bronx in late July, Oakland has gone 11-9 including a split with the Red Sox and taking three of four from the now-Wild-Card-leading Rangers. Of course, the Yankees have gone 14-6 over the same stretch with half of those losses coming on the south side of Chicago as the calendar turned to August and are 5-1 against the A’s on the season.
Still, the A’s are suddenly doing something they hadn’t done all season: scoring runs. In April, May, and June, the A’s averaged 4.21 runs scored per game. In July and now half of August, they’ve scored 5.22 runs per game. What the heck happened?
The most obvious thing is Mark Ellis, who returned from the disabled list at the end of June and has hit .313/.342/.520 since, pushing Adam Kennedy to third base. Ellis thus replaces the A’s non-Kennedy third basemen, who hit a combined .195/.284/.324 in 292 plate appearances. That’s a huge upgrade at that spot in the lineup, one highlighted by his throwback walkoff  in yesterday’s game. The A’s are also getting a ton of production from Rajai Davis. Since taking over in center field after Matt Holliday was traded to St. Louis (with Scott Hairston sliding over to left), Davis has hit .373/.429/.533 and stolen 11 bases in 12 tries. Less dramatically, Cliff Pennington (.296/.333/.407) has thus far been a slight upgrade on Orlando Cabrera (.280/.318/.365). I’m not sure that that adds up to a full run per game, but those are the big upgrades you might not necessarily see when looking at their lineup below.
Again the Yankees have the A’s beat, having scored 5.57 runs per game in July and August, but when you consider the disparity in the two team’s home ballparks, it’s shocking that the A’s offense has come that close to matching the Yankees over a full month and a half of the season.
As you may have noticed, the Yankees have won 12 of their last 14 games and 13 of their last 15 series. Tonight they look to keep that ball rolling by pounding recent bullpen castoff Brett Tomko, who was released just before the trading deadline after posting a 5.23 ERA in 15 relief appearances for the Yankees and has since posted a 7.94 ERA in two starts and one relief outing spanning 5 2/3 innings for the A’s Triple-A team in Sacramento. Said Girardi  of Tomko after Sunday’s game, “I think we have an idea of what he’s going to do.”
Opposing Tomko tonight will be A.J. Burnett, who has turned back into A.J. Burnett in August after an awesome run of eight straight quality starts in which he went 7-1 with a 1.68 from mid-June to the end of July. Burnett’s last three starts have been a dud (4 2/3 IP, 7 R, L), a gem that still managed to include a ton of walks (7 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 BB), and something in the middle that included a lot of strikeouts, but also a game-tying wild pitch (6 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 7 K, 3 WP, ND).
Matsui’s out after having his knee drained during yesterday’s game. Derek Jeter will get his hits at DH, not shortstop tonight as Ramiro Peña gives him a half-day off on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum field which has been battered by preseason football .
Update: Aaron Cunningham is the player sent down to make room for Tomko, leaving the A’s with a three-man bench.
2009 Record: 52-60 (.444)
2009 Pythagorean Record: 55-62 (.470)
Manager: Billy Beane
General Manager: Bob Geren
Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (93/93)
Who’s Replaced Whom:
1B – Tommy Everidge (R)
2B – Mark Elllis (R)
SS – Cliff Pennington (S)
3B – Adam Kennedy (L)
C – Kurt Suzuki (R)
RF – Ryan Sweeney (L)
CF – Rajai Davis (R)
LF – Scott Hairston (R)
DH – Jack Cust (L)
R – Nomar Garciaparra (IF)
R – Bobby Crosby (IF)
S – Landon Powell (C)
L – Brett Anderson
L – Gio Gonzalez
R – Trevor Cahill
R – Brett Tomko
R – Vin Mazzaro
R – Andrew Bailey
R – Brad Ziegler
R – Michael Wuertz
R – Santiago Casilla
R – Edgar Gonzalez
L – Craig Breslow
R – Jeff Gray
L – Jay Marshall
15-day DL: LHP – Dallas Braden (infected ankle) 1B – Daric Barton (hamstring)
60-day DL: RHP – Justin Duchscherer (elbow surgery), RHP – Joey Devine (TJ), LHP – Josh Outman (TJ), RHP – Dan Giese (TJ), 3B – Eric Chavez (back surgery)
L – Adam Kennedy (3B)
R – Rajai Davis (CF)
R – Kurt Suzuki (C)
R – Scott Hairston (RF)
L – Ryan Sweeney (CF)
R – Tommy Everidge (1B)
L – Jack Cust (DH)
R – Mark Ellis (2B)
S – Cliff Pennington (SS)
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URL to article: http://www.bronxbanterblog.com/2009/08/17/oakland-as-iii-padding-the-lead-ii/
URLs in this post:
 throwback walkoff: http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6139577&c_id=oak
 Said Girardi: http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2009/08/just_another_day_for_the_everc.html
 battered by preseason football: http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2009/08/17/watch-out-for-those-lbs-derek/
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