Game Two Recap
He’s not a Mariner, but let’s start with Dallas Braden. He’s basically Oakland’s version of Jason Vargas; a finesse lefty with a good change-up who throw strikes and lets the defense do the work. Except, tonight, the M’s decided to abandon their make-the-pitcher-work approach and chased every pitch he threw, most of them being pitches down and out of the zone. As such, Braden rang up 10 strikeouts, easily a career high. Now, maybe his pitches were just really hard to lay off or something, but the approach didn’t resemble anything like the one the team took against Ben Sheets last night. The M’s didn’t make Braden throw strikes, instead waving at pitches that they couldn’t do anything with. I’m not trying to take anything away from the A’s starter, but that looked more like bad hitting than great pitching to me.
Unfortunately, I think the same is mostly true about the Ian Snell and the A’s. Snell looked pretty similar to the guy we saw last year, throwing some decent pitches and some bad ones, plus struggling with his command at times. The two seam fastball was better than the four seam, as the extra velocity seemed to be accompanied by an inability to find the strike zone. The results were pretty decent, I know, but the A’s probably have the worst offense in the American League, and I don’t know that this would have worked all that well against a team that can hit. It’s good that he didn’t get lit up or anything, but I didn’t see anything that made me overly excited from Snell.
Kelley looked good, tossing his newly rediscovered change-up on his second pitch of the game, and locating his fastball and breaking ball well. Glad to see Wak use him in the 7th, even though he’s technically one of the two long guys in the pen.
Here’s a surprise – when Milton Bradley isn’t getting on base, this offense is pretty bad. Oh, wait, we knew that. Try to get on base more, Milton. The guys around you aren’t up to picking up the slack.
Lopez made a couple of mistakes in the field. They both looked like things he can learn to fix with experience, but yeah, there’s going to be growing pains with him over there.
And finally, yeah, he got the loss, but I thought Kanekoa Texeira looked pretty good. The breaking ball (I don’t know if he calls it a slider or splitter) has nasty downward break, and he showed confidence throwing it in any count, even in his major league debut. His fastball moves too, so while he’s not overpowering, he’s got a couple of pitches that can eat hitters up. The bloop double from Travis Buck that caused the problems in the 9th inning was on a pitch that just shattered Buck’s bat, and was nothing but bad luck. He threw some really good pitches in Rajai Davis to get a huge strikeout, showing he’s not just a ground ball guy. Ellis hit a pretty good pitch to win the game, too. I don’t have any complaints about his major league debut, even if it didn’t end all that well.