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Toronto Series Game 3 – That Was A Pisser

July 26, 2012

Quick Hit:

 

The game was within the A’s grasp for most of the game, and really was not a lost cause until the eighth. Had the bullpen been used a bit more effectively, I think this game could have been won late.

Tommy Milone did not pitch horribly in his seven innings even though he allowed five earned runs. His pitching triple slash for the game was 6.43/4.78/3.16. Yes, the ERA is pretty bad, but the FIP and xFIP show that maybe he was not as bad as it shows. He was the biggest detractor, by WPA, for the pitchers posting a -.376 with a pLI of 1.15.

Offensively, of all people, Brandon Inge contributed the most by WPA, .154. However, that is with a pLI of .57. Josh Reddick checked in with a .041 and a 1.49 WPA and pLI respectively.

What Was Done Wrong:

1) Defense of the saftey squeeze

Seventh inning, two one, one out, Travis Snider batting.
The call by Farrell of the safety squeeze is a large gamble with Snider. Yes, he had already struck out twice, but Travis Snider is not necessarily someone I would have envisioned putting down a bunt. Which is why is was a good call. But Snider got very, very lucky. Take a look at a screen cap just as Milone is fielding the ball:

 

 

Take notice of where the ball is. If Inge had a better jump on the ball, there could have been a play at the plate. There are two things, however, I feel should have happened here;

1) Milone never should have thrown the ball. His momentum is taking him away from first base and that is already a tough play to make if he fields, plants, and fires to first. As a left, he is at a disadvantage here by having to turn to make the throw. If he is going to field the ball, at worst , should pump fake to first and hope that the runner going to third rounds the bag too much and they can try to get him.

2) Inge has by far the better angle on the ball. Notice he is already lining himself up to throw the ball to first. He, or Kurt, should have screamed at Milone to have Inge take the ball. Better angle, momentum towards first, easier play. This at least keeps the second run from scoring. Now, I know we can not assume the next out would have been made on the very next play, like it was in the game, but you keep the game within reach.

Here is the play slowed down a bit. Inge does not get the worst jump and leads you to believe he would have been able to make the play;

 

At worst his throw does not hit the runner and the runner at third stays put and keeps the double play alive.

2) Use of the bullpen

It was a tale of two halves for Milone in this game. Innings 1-4 and innings 5-7. Courtesy of Brooks Baseball, take a look at Milone’s pitch locations for innings 1-4 then 5-7.

Milone is keeping the ball down, for the most apart, and working the corners well.

Now Milone is starting to lose control. This is called “being loose in the zone,” and that is the main difference between having ‘control’ and having ‘command’. Milone is starting to leave the ball over the large part of the plate and making it easier for Toronto to create good contact.

This is where I have a problem with how Melvin played this. Sure Milone was only at 68 pitches through six innings, but it was noticeable that he was starting to lose his control over the Toronto hitters. With a bullpen that had seen minimal use the last two days plus a day off before the start of the series I feel that Melvin should have used the bullpen starting with the seventh. If he was pitching to match-up he could have brought in Doolittle to face Kelly Johnson.

Yes, Doolittle imploded. But there are plenty of other options that could have been used. When you have a fresh bullpen and a pitcher known to struggle on the road, you do your best to shorten the game.

It is still a series win, which was better than I thought would happen. The A’s now travel to Baltimore to face an Orioles team that has tried to get their feet back under them since before the All-Star Break.

 

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