Games » Oakland AthleticsSep15
If anyone has secretly invented a time machine, let me know. I’d like to go back six months and put a grand on Bruce Chen winning 10 games. I wonder what the odds would’ve been on that bet.
I love watching the guy pitch … and he really has to pitch. There’s no 98 mph heater in the bag to pull out when he gets in trouble. I’d say he’s doing it with smoke and mirrors, but he’s got no smoke.
Bruce threw a fastball, curve, cutter, sinker, slider, changeup and the kitchen sink at the hitters … and that was all in the first inning. Add in three different arm angles and he’s got a bewildering variety of stuff. I’m pretty sure he’s standing out there making up pitches.
I’ve got no clue how long the Bruce Chen show will last, but enjoy it while it’s in town.
Jarrod’s wild ride …
Jarrod Dyson got his first major-league hit the other day and then got picked off base. In this game, he screwed up when he didn’t get behind a fly ball (go to a spot behind where the ball would land and then move forward through the catch…it puts more on the throw). Dyson’s mistake allowed Coco Crisp to tag at first and then move into scoring position, which Coco proved is aptly named by promptly scoring on a Mark Ellis single.
After a meeting with Ned Yost (which was caught on camera), Jarrod did better on a fly ball in the sixth. Rajai Davis wandered too far off first (if you’d call standing on second ‘wandering’) and Jarrod got an assist when he threw to first before Rajai could get back to the bag.
Dyson also got a hit, stole a base, scored a run and fell on his face after tripping over first base while watching a catch in the outfield. I assume he’ll win the lottery and then get mugged on his way home before the week is out.
And Mike’s right behind Jarrod…
Mike Aviles deserves an assist on Jarrod Dyson’s assist (can they do that?) because he decoyed Rajai Davis. Hit the rewind button: Davis was on first and Chris Carter hit a fly ball to center. Unfortunately for the A’s (and if someone can explain the punctuation on their team name, I’ll die a happy man), Rajai had no idea where the ball was.
Aviles pretended the ball was hit to Yuniesky Betancourt and that Yuni was about to feed him the ball to start a double play. That convinced Rajai to hustle down to second to break up the non-existent play. That’s why Davis was so far off first when Dyson caught the ball.
Do they give Nighttime Emmys to second basemen?
Aviles also let himself get eaten up by a line drive (his error) by freezing on the ball which left him in a bad fielding position. (Generally speaking, if you’re not moving you’re in the wrong spot.) Mike also made an outstanding play when he ran further than Forrest Gump to catch a pop fly down the right field line.
Other stuff …
Kila Ka’aihue made a hustling play on a ball that got away at first. It was rolling toward the dugout steps and Kila dove, sliding down the steps while knocking the ball back toward the field. It’s a good sign when a guy who’s having a bad offensive night (and Kila was 0-4 with two punch-outs) continues to play hard on defense.
Alex Gordon made a nice play that won’t show up in the box score: In the first inning he threw home to get Coco Crisp who was trying to score on that Mark Ellis single. The throw was a one-hopper, right on line, but hit the lip of the grass and gave Brayan Pena a hop he couldn’t handle.
By the way, the next time a base runner makes that turn at third and heads for home, sneak a peek at the on-deck hitter. His job is to signal the runner if there is going to be a play at the plate. If there’s no play, the on-deck hitter will raise both hands (come in standing up). If there is a play, the signal is hands down (slide) and the on-deck hitter will show the runner which side of the plate to slide to.
Wilson Betemit’s grand slam came on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. Once a hitter gets two strikes on him, he should deepen his zone (hit the ball farther back in order to handle all the different speeds the pitcher has in his arsenal). Some people call this “protect mode.” Trevor Cahill threw a changeup, a sinker, a sinker, a changeup, a sinker, a changeup, a changeup (getting kind of monotonous, isn’t it?), a sinker and a changeup to Wilson. Betemit said he made an adjustment on the last pitch. The changeup was at the top of the zone (generally, the pitch is designed to be thrown around the knees and then dive out of the zone). The fact that it was an 83 mph pitch allowed Betemit to pull the ball, even though he was probably in that let-it-get-deep protect mode.