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The AL West division is neatly dividing itself in half heading into the All Star Break as the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners were swept in four-game series by the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels, respectively. The A’s dropped a 2-0 decision in the series finale and now stand 12 games back of first having lost 13 of 18 games since their five game winning streak.
The game was more of the same for the A’s as Trevor Cahill put together a very solid effort but got zero support. Cahill went 7 2/3 innings giving up two runs on five hits and two walks. For most pitchers that is a winnable outing. For Cahill, that results in not quite enough as A’s pitchers have zero margin for error with an offense that is absolutely abysmal.
The A’s managed six hits and one walk and had a runner in scoring position twice the entire game. Naturally the A’s could not get the necessary timely hits to bring in these runners leading to yet another low scoring affair. The A’s head into the All Star break with a lot of questions and very few answers. The pitching remains top notch, but the hitting just isn’t there.
The Oakland Athletics face off with the Texas Rangers in their series finale hoping to salvage at least one victory in what has been a disastrous trip to Arlington. The A’s came into Arlington struggling and the Rangers have not let the A’s gain new life. The Rangers shut them out 6-0 to start the series, jumped on top 7-1 in the second game en route to an 8-5 victory, and gave the A’s a huge stomach punch Saturday night on a Josh Hamilton walk-off home run.
The A’s send out Trevor Cahill to face Matt Harrison in hopes of not falling 12 back of the Rangers at the All Star break. The A’s are struggling immensely and their playoff chances were already taking a beating heading into this series. Even with 70 games remaining on the season, a four game sweep would be about as disastrous as it comes at this point.
The Oakland Athletics suffered a gut-wrenching loss Saturday evening as the Texas Rangers won 6-5 thanks to a Josh Hamilton walk-off home run. The A’s dropped their third straight and fell 11 back of the Texas Rangers with one more game before the All Star break. It was Andrew Bailey’s second blown save of the season and the first home run he’s allowed in 2011.
The A’s jumped on top early as they tagged Colby Lewis for four runs in the top of the second inning. Josh Willingham led off the inning with a solo home run and the A’s piled up hits the rest of the inning. After David DeJesus walked, Landon Powell singled, Cliff Pennington singled, Jemile Weeks singled, and Coco Crisp added a walk. Hideki Matsui capped the scoring by reaching base with the bases loaded courtesy of catcher’s interference.
The Rangers got back one run in the bottom of the second but the A’s matched that in the top of the fifth. Brandon McCarthy pitched well through the first four innings but then struggled in the fifth. The Rangers put men on first and second courtesy of two infield singles. Ian Kinsler then doubled in in Yorvit Torrealba, sending Endy Chavez to third. Elvis Andrus drove in Chavez with a sacrifice fly and Josh Hamilton brought in Kinsler with a ground out to second. Adrian Beltre evened the game at five with a solo home run to right.
The A’s recaptured the lead on a Coco Crisp solo home run and looked to their bullpen to bring it home. Joey Devine battled through a tough seventh inning and Grant Balfour locked down the eighth to bring on Andrew Bailey in the ninth. Endy Chavez and Ian Kinsler were easily dispatched, bringing up Elvis Andrus with two outs. Andrus hit a roller to the right side that saw Conor Jackson range to far to his right. Jemile Weeks got the ball but as Jackson hustled back to first he couldn’t get a glove on the throw and Andrus was safe. Hamilton then proceeded to hit a two-run walkoff home run on a 2-0 count to end the game.
The Oakland Athletics have dropped the first two games of their four-game set with the Texas Rangers and at this point are simply looking for some kind of spark to stay alive in the division race. The two losses have dropped the A’s to ten games back of the Rangers with the All Star break just around the corner. Since winning five straight in June the A’s have gone 5-11 and could very well end up twelve games back of first at the break if they don’t get things going soon.
The A’s will send out Brandon McCarthy to square off with Colby Lewis in McCarthy’s second start since coming off the disabled list. In his first start he went 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs in a 2-1 loss that dropped him to 1-5. The Rangers can do some serious damage at home so he’ll face a tough challenge against an always explosive Rangers lineup.
The A’s have Chris Carter hitting in the seven spot as he looks to give the team a reason to keep him around after the All Star break. Carter is 4-for-25 with a walk and a run scored and 0 for his last 10. At this point it’s unlikely he sticks around after the break, but he’s got two days to prove otherwise.
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) – Mike Napoli blasted a grand slam in a five- run first inning as the Rangers took down the Athletics, 8-5, in the battle of two left-handed All-Star pitchers. The game started on a somber note roughly 24 hours after a fan, Shannon Stone, fell to his death while reaching for a foul ball thrown his way by Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton in the second inning of Thursday’s contest. It was an event Rangers president Nolan Ryan called “a very tragic incident” and one that “hits us at the root of who we are.” Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre also went deep for the Rangers, who won their fifth straight.
C.J. Wilson (9-3) allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while fanning eight through seven innings to win his fifth consecutive decision. He hasn’t lost since May 20 at Philadelphia. Gio Gonzalez (8-6) lasted just four innings, allowing seven runs — three earned — on seven hits and three walks as the A’s lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
“[Gonzalez] kept fighting and kept battling,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It was a bad outing for him, but we’re glad he gave us four.”
Elvis Andrus and Hamilton had back-to-back one-out singles in the first inning before Adam Rosales let a grounder by Beltre roll through his legs, allowing Andrus to score from second. Michael Young followed with an infield single to load the bases. After a Nelson Cruz strikeout, Napoli hammered a first-pitch fastball over the left-field wall for a grand slam, giving the Rangers a 5-0 advantage.
“The pitch was up-and-in. My hands reacted and got the barrel to it,” recalled Napoli.
Solo home runs by Kinsler and Beltre in the second inning extended Texas’ lead.
The A’s got a run back in the second inning on Scott Sizemore’s solo home run, but their best chance to cut into the lead came in the fourth. Trailing 7-1, the A’s loaded the bases with no outs on a walk by Coco Crisp, a Josh Willingham base hit and a walk by Scott Sizemore. Oakland would only get one run in the frame, though, as Conor Jackson grounded into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and Ryan Sweeney grounded out to second, ending the threat.
The Rangers added another run in the fifth on Yorvit Torrealba’s RBI single.
David DeJesus laid down a bunt single to lead off the sixth, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball by Torrealba before coming home on an infield single by Crisp. Willingham followed with a double into left, scoring Crisp and making it an 8-4 game.
Oakland tried to rally again in the ninth against Neftali Feliz. Jackson walked to lead off the frame and was followed by a single by Sweeney to put runners on the corners with no outs. But Feliz got Kurt Suzuki to ground into the A’s second run-scoring double play of the game, and Rosales grounded out to third to end the game.
Texas placed infielder Andres Blanco on the 15-day disabled list, purchased the contract of infielder Omar Quintanilla from Round Rock, transferred pitcher Scott Feldman to the 60-day disabled list and released pitcher Dave Bush Friday…Oakland fell to 9-9 in games started by Gonzalez…Texas improved to 6-2 on its 10-game homestand…Oakland fell to 1-4 in its stretch of 11 straight games against all three American League West opponents…The 106 degree temperature at the start of the game was the highest temperature for a first-pitch at Rangers Ballpark…Beltre will now be the starting third baseman in the All-Star game after it was announced that the Yankees Alex Rodriguez will not participate.
The Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers return to the field a day after tragedy struck in Arlington. On Thursday night, Josh Hamilton threw a ball into the stands and fan Shannon Stone tumbled twenty feet to the ground below while trying to catch the ball. The fan appeared to survive the fall at the time, but died en route to the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.
Hamilton was understandably distraught after the game and there were questions as to whether he would play in Friday night’s game. Hamilton told manager Ron Washington that he wanted to be in the lineup for the game and so he is in the starting lineup. The A’s and Rangers will wear black ribbons for the rest of the series in memory of Stone and will fly flags at the stadium at half-staff.
Shocking news out of Arlington as a Texas Rangers fan has died after falling 20 feet from the right field stands. The fan fell from the stands after reaching over the railing to catch a baseball thrown into the stands by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton during the A’s-Rangers game Thursday evening. The accident comes a year after a fan fell 20 to 30 feet while trying to catch a foul ball. That fan thankfully survived the fall.
Hamilton threw the ball into the stands and the fan reached over but due to awkward positioning he fell over the railing and to the ground below. The fan was apparently moving his arms on the ground and was taken away on a stretcher, but died on the way to the hospital.
Needless to say, Hamilton is distraught over the situation as is everybody involved in the game. The A’s clubhouse was silent after the game and the Rangers did not open their clubhouse to the media. Our prayers are with the man’s family.
The Oakland Athletics struggled mightily Thursday night against the Texas Rangers as they lost 6-0 in a makeup of their May 11 rain out. The loss drops the A’s to eleven games under .500 and nine games back of the Rangers with three games left in the series.
In the rained out game the Rangers jumped all over Gio Gonzalez for seven runs through 2 2/3 innings but Gio was saved by the rain. Rich Harden was not quite so lucky as he was hammered for five runs in five innings. Harden struggled to get his pitches down and the Rangers were able to jump all over him. They grabbed eight hits, two walks and a pair of sacrifices to tag Harden for five runs.
The A’s offense could not provide Harden with any support as they made a struggling Derek Holland look like an All Star. Holland scattered four hits and two walks while striking out seven for the complete game shutout.
The two teams meet back up Friday evening at 5:05pm pacific on CSN California. Gio Gonzalez faces CJ Wilson as the A’s look to get back on the winning track.
The Oakland Athletics activated Josh Willingham from the disabled list prior to Thursday night’s contest with the Texas Rangers and have inserted him back into the cleanup spot in time for the series opener. The A’s also activated setup man Grant Balfour. In order to make room for the two moves, the A’s optioned Graham Godfrey and Guillermo Moscoso to AAA-Sacramento. Moscoso is expected to return to the A’s after the All Star break and use this time to stay in line in the rotation.
The return of Josh Willingham means the A’s can return Hideki Matsui to the three-spot, which creates a domino effect for the rest of the order. Coco Crisp moves up from third to second in the order, while Jemile Weeks remains in the leadoff spot. Scott Sizemore was moved from second to fifth in the starting lineup and Conor Jackson and Kurt Suzuki dropped to seventh and eighth.
The A’s will need all the offensive help they can get as they face a tough Rangers lineup in the friendly confines of Arlington Stadium.
1. Jemile Weeks 2B
2. Coco Crisp CF
3. Hideki Matsui DH
4. Josh Willingham LF
5. Scott Sizemore 3B
6. Conor Jackson RF
7. Chris Carter 1B
8. Kurt Suzuki C
9. Cliff Pennington SS
The AL West wraps up the first half of the season with a pair of four game series involving all four divisional teams. the Texas Rangers host the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels host the Seattle Mariners. With even numbered series we could very well see splits, but I wouldn't be surprised to see at least one team make a move before the All Star Break.
Although the Rangers have dealt with significant injuries to Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, they've held on to a slim lead in the West. Now that they're healthy again, it will be interesting to see if they can make a run this summer. The Angels and Mariners have hung close and the A's are not quite completely dead. This pair of four game series could go a long way towards determining the division winner. Or we'll see a pair of four game splits and on Sunday night we'll be right back where we started.
|Tampa Bay||48||39||.551||3.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||46||42||.522||6||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||36||51||.413||15.5||Won 2|
(updated 7.7.2011 at 11:59 AM PDT)
The Oakland Athletics travel to face the Texas Rangers to close out the first half of the 2011 season. The A's struggled through a 4-5 homestand in which they took two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks but lost their series' with the Florida Marlins and Seattle Mariners. The A's face a tall order as they head down to Arlington for four games with the AL West leader. It is an opportunity to gain ground in the division, but given the A's inconsistencies this season they face a tough task.
The Rangers have dealt with a variety of injuries this season, including seeing two of their best hitters go down for extended stretches. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz both missed chunks of the season and the Rangers have still managed to hold onto their first place lead. Now that they've got their big bats back one would imagine the Rangers are due for a run.
The Rangers have had questionable pitching at times this season but appear to be getting it on track as we head into the hot Texas summer. The A's aren't scheduled to face the Rangers best pitcher, Alexi Ogando, who has been one of the bigger surprises in baseball this season. Instead they'll open against Derek Holland and then face C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Matt Harrison.
The A's will send out four guys that are all pitching rather well right now. They open with Rich Harden making his second start since a long DL stint. They'll follow that up with All Star Gio Gonzalez, recently returned Brandon McCarthy, and wrapping up with Trevor Cahill. While the A's bats can rarely compete with the Rangers, the A's pitching has the distinct advantage this weekend. The A's pitchers have had a fairly small margin for error with the A's offensive and defensive struggles and heading down into the stifling Texas heat narrows that margin even further.
|Fri 07/08 - Gio Gonzalez vs. CJ Wilson||5:05 PM PDT|
|Sat 07/09 - Brandon McCarthy vs. Colby Lewis||5:05 PM PDT|
|Sun 07/10 - Trevor Cahill vs. Matt Harrison||12:05 PM PDT|
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