Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A's 2; Angels 1

Cross posted at Socal Sports Hub.

If you skipped this one to watch convention coverage, you didn't miss much. Neither team generated much offense, and a sloppy game from the Angels saw a sloppy play lead to their demise. Dallas Braden scattered seven hits over seven innings, allowing only Mike Napoli to score on a solo home run. He wasn't overpowering by any means. He didn't strike out a batter, but was helped out numerous times as Angels hitters swung at pitches out of the strike zone, which helped him complete seven innings without walking a hitter.

Jered Weaver actually pitched one of his better games over the last month, though we need to normalize for the offense he faced. If you haven't been following the A's very closely this season, you probably recognized Bobby Crosby, Frank Thomas, maybe Jack Cust and Kurt Suzuki, and that's about it. They sent all of one batter to the plate hitting over .250 (Suzuki). Injuries, trades, and poor performances have hampered the offense all season, and it's tough to give Weaver full credit for his good numbers. Still, he only allowed five baserunners (three hits and two walks), and struck out 8.

Napoli's home run was matched by Daric Barton's third inning blast. Following a fourth inning Frank Thomas walk and a Jack Hannahan double, Weaver uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Thomas to score the eventual winning run. The Angels put one baserunner on in the ninth when Mark Teixeira reached on a two out error by the first baseman Barton, but Torii Hunter's ground ball to Crosby at short ended the evening.

Top three Angels performers:

1) Weaver was solid through seven with the numbers mentioned above. He threw 67 strikes against 41 balls and dropped his ERA by a tenth of a run.

2) Mike Napoli deserves credit for actually creating a run, which no other Angel could do.

3) The bullpen combination of Justin Speier and Jason Bulger gave the Angels a chance. It was nice to see Speier keep the ball in the ballpark for once.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

Tough call here when the whole offense is awful (though it should be noted that Vlad was resting). I've got to go with Chone Figgins, the only Angel with two hits, who still managed to get himself out on the basepaths both times. He was picked off in the first inning after a lead off single, setting the tone for the game. He was also caught stealing in the third inning.

What to look for tonight:

John Lackey brings his dominance of the A's to the mound against a less than stellar lineup, while Greg Smith goes for the A's. Smith's 6-12 record belies a solid 3.75 ERA. Scioscia wants to give Vlad a few days off his feet, but after last night's offensive display (you choose which syllable to emphasize), he may want his bat in the lineup tonight at DH.

Game time 7:05 PST; Televised on FSN

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