Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A's 8; Angels awful

Cross posted at SoCal Sports Hub

John Lackey made his first start since an unimpressive outing in Chicago nine days prior, and the extra rest didn't appear to help. Lackey allowed four runs on nine hits, failed to complete the sixth inning, and picked up his fourth loss of the season as the A's used some late offense to win 8-1. Sean Gallagher recorded his second victory, evening his record at 2-2. It follows a pattern of lopsided wins for the A's over the Angels, which have usually been followed by a flurry of close Angels victories. They'll try to maintain that pattern tonight.

Lackey looked a little inconsistent through the early going, looking very sharp at times, and very shaky at times. Kendry Morales staked the Angels to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run, his first of the year, in the fifth inning, but the A's responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. They added two more in the sixth, chasing Lackey from the game.

With the last bullpen spot seemingly available, thanks in no small part to Justin Speier's inability to keep the ball in the park, Jason Bulger didn't exactly make a case for playing in October. He entered the game in the seventh inning and proceeded to allow a walk, a single, another walk, and a third walk before hitting Travis Buck. He recorded no outs, and allowed three runs on only one hit. Kevin Jepsen, on the other hand, finished the sixth inning by retiring the only two hitters he faced, one via the strikeout. Jepsen's thrown 3.2 scoreless innings since being recalled a little over a week ago.

Top two Angel performers of the game: Can't really pick three after a game like this, so we'll go with...

Kendry Morales hit his first homer in the season, probably about five months later than he thought it would have come considering his contributions the last two seasons. He gave the Angels a very brief lead.

Kevin Jepsen continues to look good in relief, though it's an incredibly small sample.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

In lieu of just picking "everyone", Bulger's meltdown gets the nod over Lackey's rough outing. None of the hitters were any good, but at least they didn't leave many runners on base. Of course, you need runners to reach base before you can leave them there.

Play of the game: I'm not sure which one sums up the ineptitude better, but I'll go with Bulger's plunking of Travis Buck, coming on the heels of a hit and three walks, over John Lackey's wild pitch that score Kurt Suzuki. That's the kind of night it was.

What to look for tonight: More roster shuffling from Mike Scioscia, who figures to play a lot of guys over the next week before tightening the lineup in the run up to the playoffs. Jered Weaver was very good in his last start, and tonight he makes his second since returning from injury. Aside from the bullpen battle, you have to figure that Weaver and Garland are dueling for that last post-season rotation spot. Good problems to have for Mike Scioscia.

Game time is 7:05 PST on FSN

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