It is only the first game of this series and already I feel like I am on sensory overload.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Angels and A’s played a tightly contested game that was decided by one run. Even with that normal expectation of tension, this game really ramped it up.
That was primarily because the Angels not once, but twice, left the bases loaded, including in the bottom of the ninth. That gave this game the look of one where the Halos were going to rue missing out on those golden opportunities. They were even gifted that bizarre defensive interference play where Aybar deliberately ran into Otero who actually had the all in his glove (I’m no umpire, but I’m pretty sure they blew that call) and couldn’t take advantage.
It was only a matter of time before the Angels fell victim to some fluke and lost the game. But that time never came and the Halos walked away victorious and I crawled away with frazzled nerves.
Run Expectancy Rundown
Look, you can see the chart. You can see who performed and who didn’t. What is more important is that JOHN MCDONALD GOT A HIT! He hasn’t gotten a hit, literally, in months. So, naturally, his hit comes on a sacrifice bunt attempt. He tried to get himself out and got a hit. He can’t even get out right. Or maybe he’s just been doing it wrong this whole time. Maybe he should’ve been trying to not get a hit in all those other at-bats. Let this be a lesson to you all: Never try.
Aside from not being able to get Josh Donaldson out, the Angels didn’t have all that much trouble with the A’s lineup. They never really threatened to score again after the sixth inning. They really just had two innings of offense and were otherwise fairly inept.
Starting Pitcher Scores
C.J. Wilson was looking like he was taking another step forward for four innings, but then things started getting wobbly in the fifth until he fell off that pesky beam altogether in sixth. He still isn’t missing many bats though and that is cause for concern.
Sonny Gray once again escaped with a decent looking line, but in this game I’d say that his line was pretty misleading. Credit to him for escaping the jams he got into, but he had a pretty rough first few innings. If Freese had gotten a hit with the bases loaded in the third, I’m not sure that Gray even finishes out that inning.
This was just a tremendous game for the bullpen. Having so much depth gives Scioscia a huge advantage. On any given night he can get 4+ innings of high quality relief, so he can and should yank his starter at the first sign of trouble. He actually probably should’ve given Wilson the hook even sooner than he did here.
The Oakland bullpen was fine in their own right. Even Ryan Cook wasn’t all that bad, but he was bad enough to give up a walk-off sac fly.
Even with as tight as this game was, the A’s only held the win expectancy for two batters in the sixth inning. It was all Angels otherwise. The only issue is that the Halos just couldn’t close the door. They had the game by the horns early on and let Oakland back into it. When they loaded the bases in the ninth, they were once again near dead certain to win before seeing it slip through their fingers. The third time was the charm though in the tenth.
You get a walk-off anything, you get to be the Hero. Having two other hits and a walk helps a lot too.