The Oakland Athletics second series of the season finished up in much the same fashion as their opening series of the season. After facing the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners the Oakland Athletics are 2-4, having won both the series finales. Each series featured highly questionable defense and some ugly bullpen performances. The A’s actually were in a better position to win this series, but a blown tenth inning save on Tuesday killed any chance of building some momentum.
A’s Pitcher of the Series: Trevor Cahill – While it helped that he won the only game of the series, Cahill rebounded from a poor start from a pitch count perspective, as he lasted eight innings against the Blue Jays. He struck out seven batters while throwing 105 pitches, after lasting 4 2/3 innings in his opener against Seattle. He was facing a depleted Blue Jays lineup missing Jose Bautista and Yunel Escobar, but it’s still a confidence-building performance.
A’s Batter of the Series: Andy LaRoche – I jumped on the Andy LaRoche bandwagon during spring training so you can expect me to tout him every time he performs well. After sitting for most of the first series against Seattle, LaRoche was in the lineup all three days against the Blue Jays, playing shortstop, third base and second base on three successive days. LaRoche was 4-for-9 during the series with 3 runs scored and 1 RBI. Not a dominant hitting performance, but the most consistent from the A’s amidst some offensive struggles in the latter two games. It will be interesting to see how the A’s try to work LaRoche into the lineup as the season moves along.
Notable Number: 89 – Brandon McCarthy and Dallas Braden pitched on back to back days and each threw 89 pitches in their respective performances. While it’s an interesting coincidence, that’s not the reason this is a notable number. Rather, it’s the fact that both pitchers gave up five runs but somehow managed to last eight and seven innings respectively. Each had multiple innings of single digit pitch counts. Pitchers like McCarthy, Braden, and even Trevor Cahill are often at their best when they are pitching to contact. Braden and McCarthy did not get huge strikeout totals because they were pitching to contact. The downside to that lately is they haven’t had the strongest defense behind them. However, if the defense can settle down moving forward, those low pitch counts will be a boon to the starters as well as the bullpen.
Upcoming Schedule: The A’s have a quick turnaround as they travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Twins. The series kicks off with an early 1:10pm pacific start, followed by a 4:10 Saturday game and 11:10am Sunday finale. The A’s will then wrap up the road trip with three games at the Chicago White Sox starting Monday.
Tuesday: Blue Jays 7 – A’s 6 (F/10)
WP: Jason Frasor (1-0)
LP: Grant Balfour (0-1)
Wednesday: Blue Jays 5 – A’s 3
WP: Jesse Litsch (1-0)
LP: Dallas Braden (0-1)
Sv: Jon Rauch (1)
Thursday: A’s 2 – Blue Jays 1
WP: Trevor Cahill (1-0)
LP: Jason Frasor (1-1)
Sv: Brian Fuentes (1)