Mazzaro downs Cleveland, 3-1, on 4th of July
Offense: The A’s didn’t generate a lot of offense Sunday against Fausto Carmona, but they didn’t need to. Seven hits and five walks provided the base runners: 1-for-7 with RISP explains why they only scored three runs. Oakland hit into three double plays, which is why they only left six men on base in this one. Mark Ellis added a stolen base to go with his RBI single. GRADE: C+
Defense: Vin Mazzaro had a nice pickoff to go along with his mound efforts (see below). The team made no errors and turned one double play. It’s hard to turn double plays when the opposing offense only has nine base runners all day, though, right? GRADE: A
Pitching: Mazzaro turned in his best start since June 2009 in this one. He also threw 111 pitches, which is interesting. Stay tuned on that one (see below). Jerry Blevins was effective in finishing the eighth inning for Mazzaro, while Andrew Bailey notched his 17th save of the season. GRADE: A
Coaching: Bob Geren left Mazzaro in until a one-out double in the eighth inning brought the tying run to the plate. The wisdom of letting a 23-year old throw 111 pitches can be debated, especially since it was the first time all season Mazzaro’s thrown more than 99 pitches. It was also a career-high for him, although he did throw 100+ pitches nine times last year for Oakland. Of course, the results last year weren’t good. The team does get a day off Thursday, so Mazzaro doesn’t have to start again until Saturday. Maybe that played into Geren’s thought process here. Removing Coco Crisp as a precaution was probably a smart move, considering the outfielder’s fragile existence. GRADE: A-
Overall Game Grade: A- (89.6%). Like Friday, the A’s grinded out a tough road win against a semi-surging team. Nothing to complain about with the effort.
Overall Season Grade: B (83.44%). The A’s gained a game on the division-leading Texas Rangers, so they are eight games out of first place again. Oakland is 4.5 games behind Los Angeles, which comes to town on Friday for three games at the Coliseum.
A’s Record: 41-42. Oakland went 7-2 in the nine games against some of the worst teams in baseball (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland). The shame is they could have won each of the two games they lost if they’d hit a little better. But seven wins was the bare minimum they could accept for this stretch, so mission accomplished.
A’s “Should Be” Record: 44-39. The Yankees come to town for three straight, starting tonight. The Braden-Rodriguez Feud won’t be an issue, so the A’s can focus on baseball. Two out of three here would get Oakland back to .500 on the year.