Game 29, Mariners at Astros

marc w · May 4, 2014 at 10:41 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Brandon Maurer vs. Collin McHugh, 11:10am

At least this series has been interesting. The back-to-back bullpen collapses yesterday turned a pitchers duel into a laugher into a nail-biting save situation, but all’s well that ends in archery practice.

Collin McHugh made his Astros debut 10 days ago, during the M’s long losing streak. A journeyman who’d knocked around the minors, racking up the miles on his old Toyota Corolla, he’d signed with the Astros and pitched terribly in Spring Training. So he headed to Oklahoma City and pitched unremarkably there. There’s a reason no one anticipated McHugh: he looked like the very definition of a replacement level player. Beyond the generic repertoire, he’d been knocked around a bit by a few of the M’s in that game’s line-up. Last April, McHugh started for Las Vegas, the Mets AAA affiliate, against Tacoma. He faced Michael Saunders and Mike Zunino that day in 2013 – Saunders led off with a booming triple, and Zunino singled and walked (!). So of course McHugh went out and dominated, striking out 12 in 6 2/3 IP. He then backed it up by shutting down the A’s – nearly managing a shutout, but giving up a run in the 9th on a HBP, catcher’s indifference, and a single. He’s pitched back to back games with game scores of 80, a mark Felix hasn’t touched this year.

It’s a great story, and the fact that McHugh managed a second great start separates him a bit from the legions of Doug Waechters who can only do it once, and only against the M’s. It’s a small sample and while it’s changed his projections *some* it hasn’t completely overwritten them. It’s not like he was struggling in the minors years ago…it was last month. No one saw this coming, probably not even McHugh (I’m looking forward to the blog post he’ll write about it). It’s the sort of thing that defies probabilities, and thus much of sabermetrics. It defies scouting, too. If the Astros saw that he’d changed something or picked up an unhittable new pitch, it probably wouldn’t have taken an injury to bring him up. We think of genius as an attribute, like brown eyes or right-handedness. It can be honed and developed or it can be ignored and make a sudden appearance later, maybe on accident. But McHugh’s a case story in another kind of genius – genius as free-floating, itinerant wanderer, alighting on people seemingly at random. Sometimes it stays for years, sometimes its gone within hours. I don’t want to go too far with this, as it’s not like McHugh had no talent or anything. His MLB debut was excellent, after all. But this run is one of the more unlikely, unforecastable things I’ve seen in a while, maybe since Danny Farquhar turned into a hard-throwing, excellent reliever. There’s basically nothing in the pitch fx data to pick out (though Mark Simon notes he’s leading batters off with breaking balls/change-ups much more than he used to), and, as I’ve noted, nothing in his minor league record. Nothing’s different except the results, only that implies luck or something. McHugh just turned really, really good. How long he stays awesome is impossible to know.

Brandon Maurer could use some of that random, unaligned, unaffiliated genius.

1: Saunders, CF
2: Bloomquist, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Romero, RF
8: Ackley, LF
9: Buck, C
SP: Maurer

Ooookay.

Tacoma’s got a double-header today after last night’s torrential rains. Mark Rogers starts game 1 and Andrew Carraway gets the call for the nightcap. Lefty Tyler Olson makes his first start in AA thanks to some injuries.

The MiLB game of the day yesterday was the slugfest in Appleton, WI, where the M’s current MWL affiliate beat their ex-affiliate (the host Timber Rattlers) 16-13. After a bullpen meltdown, the Lumberkings trailed 12-4, before scoring 11 runs in the final three innings.

I was curious to check out hittracker’s estimate of the distance on Justin Smoak’s absolute bomb off of Raul Valdes yesterday. As it turns out, it was only 403 feet, though it certainly felt much further because it was pulled down the line in a park without much depth beyond the left field wall, and because it was hit so high. So while it wasn’t the longest HR of the day, or of Smoak’s career, it was one of the highest. That’s…well, that’s much less cool, but it’s something.

Comments

122 Responses to “Game 29, Mariners at Astros”

  1. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 10:59 am

    Well, at least Romero’s not batting second… except Bloomquist IS batting second.

    Lloyd makes a lot of perplexing decisions. His use of the two hole falls right at the top. What’s funny is how we used to complain about Wedge and his ultra-predictable, old-school thinking – but now McLendon defies prediction!

  2. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 11:14 am

    Michael is on a tear… AL Player of the Week?

  3. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 11:14 am

    Saunders with another hit. Okay, grit one out Willie!

  4. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 11:15 am

    Yeah! Way to go Houston! hahaha

  5. djw on May 4th, 2014 11:15 am

    It’s surprising how persistent the conventional wisdom about the second spot in the batting order is. To a lot of managers, it seems to be, out of 1-5, the spot where quality matters the least. Of course, it should be where our best hitter is hitting. There’s not a lot of conventional wisdom more obviously wrong-headed than that about the 2-hole.

  6. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 11:16 am

    Westy, that’s ’cause McLendon is Neo-Old School, he’s from the new school of old school baseball… Totally unpredictable.

    Saunders, with 2 STOLEN BASES!!! And a hit.

    Go Mikey, I like it.

  7. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 11:17 am

    There’s the traditional use of the 2 spot… Totally thrown away at bat…

    Yay. (sigh)

  8. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 11:18 am

    Willie Freaking Ballgame. (okay, yes I realize it was only one at bat – but he looked awful)

    Neo-old… I like it MrZ.

  9. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 11:19 am

    Although, I wonder if McLendon’s thinking with sticking questionable guys there is that the guy hitting IN FRONT of Cano is gonna get some very hittable pitches…?

    Could be. Because he’s put a LOT of crappy/inexperienced hitters there.

  10. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 11:20 am

    I’m really surprised they didn’t go to home there. But the catcher didn’t look like he was even thinking it was a possibility.

  11. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 11:21 am

    Hey remember when Wedge insisted on hitting Brendan Ryan #2 for a stretch?

  12. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 11:22 am

    From the neo-Old School book of wisdom…

    “If a guy batting 8th is in an 0-for-29 slump, move him to the 2 spot ’cause ‘he’s due’…”

    “If you’re up by 7 in the 7th inning, bring in any pitcher whose name sounds similar to Molina/Marina/Angina, ’cause that’s a boring game and needs to get closer”

    “Mariners”

  13. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 11:30 am

    The first-start Zelig effect (Zavaras effect?) seems to be a real thing. Has anyone tried to quantify it?

  14. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 11:31 am

    Astros are in full “Mariner” mode… Making a meager pitcher look like Cy Young.

  15. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 11:53 am

    Good to see a new generation of ball playing Presleys coming to haunt the M’s.

  16. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 11:56 am

    Hey, Buck hit a double!

  17. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 11:56 am

    OK let’s put our “best” hitters 1-4 and just leave a dark hole in the rest of the order. Other than Cano, Zunino, Hart and Seagar we have no one I would consider established major league hitters

  18. juneau_fan on May 4th, 2014 12:00 pm

    Time for some Willie Ball! Knock ‘im in!

  19. juneau_fan on May 4th, 2014 12:03 pm

    Hey, it worked!

  20. californiamariner on May 4th, 2014 12:04 pm

    WILLIE BALLGAME BABY

  21. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:08 pm

    Willie! I never doubted you Willie!

    And Cano obviously benefited from watching Willie’s professional at bat ahead of him.

  22. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 12:10 pm

    Ok explain again why Willie F Bloomquist is a waste of oxygen.

  23. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:12 pm

    Saunders – the veterans are showing you up! They’re all hitting DOUBLES and TRIPLES… you’ve only managed one measly SINGLE.

    BENCH SAUNDERS! Call up ENDY!

  24. Paul B on May 4th, 2014 12:12 pm

    Big inning!

  25. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:20 pm

    I think Willie gets more grief just because he embodies so many the traits we hear old-school guys drone on and on about when they choose to ignore actual performance…

    But I must admit, unlike some players who hang on forever, he’s actually a decent bench guy. And given his ability to play a bunch of positions, his defensive numbers aren’t all that bad – somewhat below average, but we’re not talking about Raul here (and again, multiple positions). However I am NOT going to give up my snarky comments about grit. I REFUSE.

  26. californiamariner on May 4th, 2014 12:21 pm

    Anybody know the plan for the doubleheader in Oakland? Iwakuma pitching on short rest or a call up?

  27. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:23 pm

    I don’t know CM – but I was surprised to hear the Mariners get to carry 26 guys for that double-header. Something to do with the reschedule…

  28. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:25 pm

    Bloomquist’s career OPS is .665 – and he’s stayed pretty consistent as he’s gotten older. So I guess with what a lot of the Mariners are doing right now, we shouldn’t complain too much! :-D

  29. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:26 pm

    Another double by Buck!?

  30. californiamariner on May 4th, 2014 12:27 pm

    Buck and Bloomquist putting the team on their back!

  31. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:27 pm

    I’m going to be sad when Saunders cools off…

  32. californiamariner on May 4th, 2014 12:29 pm

    I don’t believe Altuve ever caught that. Even by the old standards.

  33. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:31 pm

    Of course, that was EXACTLY the play that led to the original change they made at the beginning of the season.

  34. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 12:36 pm

    Good news: M’s may have wised up on Farquhar who is tonight’s closer, knock wood. Hopefully he handles it well & gets more use in high-leverage situations.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140504&content_id=74290986&notebook_id=74294178&vkey=notebook_sea&c_id=sea

  35. CAMariner on May 4th, 2014 12:37 pm

    Westside, the rule in baseball is that a team can carry 26 guys on doubleheaders.
    Erasmo is supposed to pitch one of those games. I’m sure Iwakuma wouldn’t mind pitching on short rest.

  36. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:37 pm

    I hope you’re right, MZ, and it’s not just because McLendon’s two favorites are unavailable!

  37. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:38 pm

    Oh, so they get to do that for every doubleheader? I guess that makes sense.

  38. CAMariner on May 4th, 2014 12:40 pm

    Yup. You know, because of fatigue and possibly injury. Kind of like how the Diamondbacks and Dodgers were allowed to have 28(?) guys on the team when they went to Australia. Even though guys back in the day would pitch back to back games on the same day.

  39. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:40 pm

    Whelp, just lost my video feed.

    Maurer has looked pretty good again. I realize it’s against Houston, but still.

    … and immediately he gives up a double.

  40. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:41 pm

    Gameday says “Presley doubles on a line drive to shortstop Willie Bloomquist”. Since I don’t have video, could someone explain to me how you hit a double to the shortstop?

  41. juneau_fan on May 4th, 2014 12:43 pm

    On the radio side, they said that the ONLY reason that Farquhar was closer today because Medina and Rodney aren’t able to pitch. :-\

    They also said something about the most interesting things about the Astro player Sparks can’t be mentioned on the radio. Er? Porn star? May need to google!

  42. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:44 pm

    Brandon Maurer – I’m sorry I cursed you.

  43. juneau_fan on May 4th, 2014 12:44 pm

    Would a scarecrow in the outfield be more effective than Dustin Ackley?

  44. r-gordon-7 on May 4th, 2014 12:45 pm

    juneau – only with the roof open… ;-)

  45. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 12:49 pm

    The double to Blomquist hit the ball boys stool and bounced out into short lf instead of to the corner. It was a legit 2b all the way.

  46. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 12:49 pm

    Juneau: the MLB article had a very negative quote from Lloyd on Medina. So the optimist in me is taking that to mean Farquhar’s being auditioned & Medina’s in the doghouse.

  47. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 12:51 pm

    Lord Fraquhar is the closer by default because Rodney isnt available after yesterdays 4 out save.

  48. The_Waco_Kid on May 4th, 2014 12:51 pm

    Mauer’s been OK, but he’s not going deep into this game.

  49. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 12:55 pm

    Argh. I was about to type “hey my video’s back!” but now it’s out again.

    Thank you Kazinski. Wish I’d seen it. :-P

  50. juneau_fan on May 4th, 2014 12:58 pm

    Still always rooting for Jerome Williams. I lived in Alameda, CA, where he’d lived as a boy and his Mom helped him learn to pitch. Sometimes the best baseball stories don’t have the movie of the week ending, but he’s still playing at least.

  51. CAMariner on May 4th, 2014 1:05 pm

    Always cool to see other Mariners fans from/in the Bay Area! From Santa Clara here.

  52. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:18 pm

    Gameday removes the drama… but it looks like Maurer got out of a real jam there!

  53. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:28 pm

    Hang on… The Bartender is in.

  54. The_Waco_Kid on May 4th, 2014 1:34 pm

    Glad to see the Bartender get the early shift. He should be off long before last call.

  55. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:35 pm

    Just please, no Funky Cold Medina today!!!!

  56. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:37 pm

    Good news, Eastside – Medina is unavailable today!

  57. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 1:43 pm

    Another round!

  58. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:50 pm

    6 up, 6 down for Bartender. We will take it!!!

  59. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:51 pm

    Nice (read: Lucky) catch by Wilhelmsen on the comebacker there!

  60. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:51 pm

    He didnt catch that line drive. It was shot into his glove. LOL

  61. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:51 pm

    If it hadn’t gone right into his glove, he would’ve had a big welt on his hip!

  62. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:52 pm

    Yeah…that was going to leave a mark

  63. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 1:52 pm

    …badly needed with this bullpen in its current state. Who sets up (knock wood) Farquhar?

  64. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:53 pm

    Man, I didn’t realize just how tiny Altuve is!

  65. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:54 pm

    The lefty …Furbush

  66. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 1:54 pm

    Tom looks good when he’s not walking batters, that last line drive not withstanding. According to the broadcast from when Tom released the pitch until the line drive was back in his glove was 0.73 seconds.

  67. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:56 pm

    Even though we complain about Lloyd on Saunders and Farquhar (which I totally agree with the complaints), I think he made a solid decision on keeping Romero. He has been serviceable and has shown some sparks offensively.

  68. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:57 pm

    Bucky!!! Nice add-on run

  69. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:57 pm

    Hey Buck has THREE hits!

    So, Lloyd – what was that about players deciding the lineups? You’ve gotta put him back in tomorrow… right?

  70. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 1:58 pm

    Thought Saunders had one there…

  71. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 1:59 pm

    That is a home run in almost every park

  72. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:00 pm

    Was glad to see Tom go two. When you have an inconsistent bullpen (bad) and when someone shows up I think it is good strategy to just ride him as long as you reasonably can. We still need two more runs to make me feel good about our chances

  73. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 2:04 pm

    Totally agree on Romero Eastside. He’s done enough to stick around, esp with Almonte faltering.

  74. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:08 pm

    Come ON, Furbush.

  75. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:09 pm

    Why is Furbush so bad?

  76. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:11 pm

    I think the M’s should consider giving both Romero and Gillespie time in right field. Let Saunders stay in center, and Ackley in left.

    Almonte should probably go down to AAA so he can play every day and specifically work on his plate approach. I don’t think rotting on the major league bench is going to help him at all.

  77. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:11 pm

    This is interesting, the closer du jour in the 8th and no outs.

  78. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 2:12 pm

    According to fangraphs McHugh’s FIP was 1.89 today, while Maurer’s was 8.34. Maybe we’ve been a little lucky.

    And now our luck may be running out.

  79. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:12 pm

    CRAP. I hate our bullpen sometimes.

    Come on Farquhar – you are usually good.

  80. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 2:16 pm

    … And today’s mariner bullpen horse sh*t of the day is brought to you by Charlie Furbush.

  81. Microsoft Zunino on May 4th, 2014 2:18 pm

    … Farquhar, you got the gig.

  82. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:19 pm

    We got this!

  83. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:24 pm

    Really Mike? Do you really think the Mariners would like to score again as opposed to not scoring? Seriously……

  84. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:25 pm

    Could Beavan, Leutge or Ramierez be worse in the pen than what we have now?

  85. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:27 pm

    I like E-Ram in the pen best out of those options.

  86. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:27 pm

    SHIT!

  87. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:28 pm

    Sorry guys. I’m not feeling myself today. I think I need a Snickers.

  88. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 2:28 pm

    I don’t mind keeping Almonte around as a defensive sub and pinch runner. Part of that is I don’t see him getting any better by getting more reps in AAA.

  89. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:31 pm

    I guess my hope for Almonte is he could learn to swing more at stuff in the zone, the way Ackley did.

    I realize Ackley isn’t exactly a monster – but he’s a better hitter than he was.

  90. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:31 pm

    I kind of agree Kaz. He is a toolsy player that can play some D and run. Not sure if he ever gets much better with more PT.

  91. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:34 pm

    Huh. I just looked at Ackley’s numbers on FanGraphs… and apparently I am just wrong. His swing numbers are still low.

    The one thing Ackley does that Almonte doesn’t do is make contact a high % of the time – but (I’m guessing) that’s not really teachable.

    What’s really weird is, last season, Almonte’s contact rate in the zone was pretty high. This year it’s a lot lower – like 17-18% lower.

  92. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:37 pm

    COME ON DANNY.

  93. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:37 pm

    Agreed Westy. You either can hit a 90 mph pitch often, or you can’t.

  94. juneau_fan on May 4th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Willie! You forsake us!

  95. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:39 pm

    No problem….let’s get this out and get on the plane

  96. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:40 pm

    It’s times like this when I honestly do miss Brendan Ryan.

  97. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 2:41 pm

    If Almonte had more power to compensate for his low contact rate he would be in better shape. But a high strikeout singles hitter doesn’t profile well.

  98. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:41 pm

    I miss his defense every day. He is a stud on D

  99. Eastside Suds on May 4th, 2014 2:42 pm

    Nice job M’s. Let’s get back to .500 ( or over) this week! Go M’s!

  100. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 2:42 pm

    WHEW!!

  101. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:43 pm

    Aside from pitching catching, and hitting we look pretty good, nice win

  102. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 2:45 pm

    The bullpen has to be better against Oakland, we aren’t going to be scoring 8 or 9 runs per game vs their pitching.

  103. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 2:45 pm

    “Ok explain again why Willie F Bloomquist is a waste of oxygen.”

    1 hopper to SS bottom of the 9th with 2 outs?

  104. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:46 pm

    Call up Erasmo and send down Medina

  105. Dennisss on May 4th, 2014 2:46 pm

    Farquhar has learned the art of high-drama save from watching the master.

  106. Longgeorge1 on May 4th, 2014 2:47 pm

    Who do WE have that is better at SS? He is still a major reason we had a lead today. Last I looked we don’t have Derek Jeter ( age 31) on the roster

  107. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 2:53 pm

    Willie isn’t perfect, but its because he can play all 4 infield positions that is allowing us to carry 5 outfielders now, and give that some more time to sort its self out.

  108. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 3:01 pm

    Derek JETER is about as good as Willie at SS, so I’m not sure where to take that… He didn’t win Gold Gloves (irony coming) for his glove.

    WFB’s like Morse, he may do some helpful things but he usually gives it back in other ways…

    I don’t mind Willie as a sub, but there is certainly better uses of oxygen out there. And he’s from my High School so I’m predisposed to like him (his sister was my dentist). Unfortunately his abilities are what they are.

  109. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 3:05 pm

    Pretty much any playing time debate we engage in has to start “given the existing roster…”. :-D

    I don’t want Bloomquist starting all the time – I still think Miller can be “fixed”. His peripheral numbers this year are just bizarrely out of whack with what he did last year. BUT until (or unless) that happens, I can’t fault McLendon for starting Willie some of the time.

  110. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 3:06 pm

    Willie Bloomquist’s sister is a dentist?

  111. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 3:10 pm

    News Flash: Almonte has been sent down.

  112. tehmc on May 4th, 2014 3:10 pm

    Yes she has a practice in Gig Harbor

  113. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 3:16 pm

    Reading between the lines of Lloyd McLendon’s comments a day or two ago, I suspect he definitely wanted Almonte to go down but Jack was not yet willing to do it at that time.

    Of course the problem is – the team now has exactly one guy on the 25-man roster who is capable of playing center. I don’t ever want to see Ackley out there again, and neither Romero nor Gillespie seem likely to be anything but bad in center.

  114. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 3:20 pm

    It is surprising that Miller got the day off today. He’s only had 12pa in the last week, and had 3 hits a bb, with ‘only’ 2k’s. That’s a definite improvement in a very sss. Its time to see if can sustain it.

  115. Kazinski on May 4th, 2014 3:41 pm

    Like I said, I think having Almonte as a 5th outfielder is as good as use of the roster spot as we have right now, but don’t see anything wrong with Ackley being the back-up CF. I think he’s gotten a little better this year in lf, so there may be a slight improvement in center too. He’s bad but not a disaster and I don’t think it matters much for a few innings or a game or two. Bloomquist has not played CF since 2010 in KC, so I think those days are behind him.

  116. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 3:58 pm

    I could see Gillespie in CF… Not preferred, but decent OF skills compared to Ackley or Romero. He has some games in CF logged during his days with Chicago and Arizona.

    Westy-
    Melanie Bloomquist, DDS

    His dad was a dentist too, she took over the office when he retired… William (Bill) Bloomquist, DDS… That’s why WFB grew up as “Willie” to distinguish him from his dad.

  117. HighlightsAt11 on May 4th, 2014 4:02 pm

    Oakland pulls one out on the road at Boston. M’s still four games behind but only one game out of .500. Impressive considering how down everything appeared to be after the 8-game losing streak.

    Recent road vs home W-L splits in the AL West are a bit backwards from expected. Not much of a home field advantage. Oakland gets swept at home by the Rangers. Then the A’s sweep the Rangers in Texas. And the A’s split four games in in Houston. And Rangers take two of three in LA.

    The M’s can win the “initial” road series with the A’s by winning the second game of the doubleheader game on Wednesday.

  118. Westside guy on May 4th, 2014 4:13 pm

    I’m still pessimistic about this team’s chances – especially with the current bullpen – but they are certainly still in the hunt.

    The A’s seem to be underperforming their run differential, though. And, perhaps more worrisome, the Angels are significantly underperforming their run differential! But, more fortunately, Texas doesn’t currently look all that good.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/standings/_/type/expanded

  119. Paul B on May 4th, 2014 6:09 pm

    Word is they might call up Jones.

  120. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 6:48 pm

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Chris Taylor come up and see how bad he can muff plays at SS (he’s actually playing really well in Tacoma– PCL Player of the Week last week…)

    .361/.395/.583 He also has 60 steals, to 12 CS in 2+ years…

    Give him a shot, let Franklin play short in Tacoma while he’s up…

  121. MrZDevotee on May 4th, 2014 10:34 pm

    Man, Root Sports is showing Game 4 of the ALDS in ’95… We had such a stacked baseball team back then.

    Batting Order:

    Vince Coleman
    Joey Cora
    Ken Griffey Jr
    Edgar Martinez
    Tino Martinez
    Jay Buhner
    Mike Blowers
    Dan Wilson
    Luis Sojo

    Edgar had a 3 run earlier and a grand slam in the 8th… To send it to the legendary Game 5. I had forgotten about Game 4 being so dramatic. He was the AL batting champ that year too (which I had forgotten).

    I can see why folks like to cling to these memories in terrible times. Goosebumps, man. Toe to toe and outslugging the Yankees.

    And yet, there’s some reliever perspective too– Charlton was all over the place that game, wild pitched the tying run in during the top of the 8th, and we needed the win to even up the Series. And THEN, Ayala comes in and gave up 2 of the 5 run lead in the 9th… Dan Wilson was basically taking a stoning from all the wild pitches the last couple innings.

    But man, Junior, Buhner and Martinez 2x’s going yard that game. I had forgotten how easily the Kingdome made Xbox seem difficult by comparison.

  122. The_Waco_Kid on May 4th, 2014 11:33 pm

    Saunders has gotten on base multiple times in each of his last 5 starts!

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