I have been doing a lot of writing for places other than this barren wasteland I call a blog. Don’t worry, Tio Piazza Parlor is here to stay. Now on to the game recap.
What Went Right
Demigod, Clayton Kershaw pitched seven innings and tallied seven K’s while holding the Oakland A’s to one-run ball. He did give up five hits – I mean, I guess you can call tonight a struggle. The lone run that came across the plate was the result of Oakland small-balling the crap out of the second inning.
The Dodgers managed to score in the fifth after some small-ball of their own. A.J. Ellis started the inning off with a walk. Joc Pederson followed with a walk of his own. One wild pitch and Jimmy Rollins single later, the Dodgers scored, tying it up 1-1. The scoring continued in the top of the eighth when Ellis crushed a three-run dinger, giving the Dodgers the lead, 4-1.
What Went Wrong
Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell, and Yimi Garcia could not close it down. Baez was given the nod in the eighth and promptly put men on base. Danny Valencia singled to center, Josh Phegley doubled to left, and Mark Canha doubled to right. It took just seven pitches for this game to go from good to, “Jesus fucking christ!” For funsies, let’s see if you can find where that is on this Fangraphs chart. http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1120062&type=wins&num=0&h=450&w=800&date=2015-08-18&team=Athletics&dh=0
Mattingly pulled Baez for Howell and the 32-year old southpaw wasted no time in giving up the tying run. In fact, it only took the A’s three pitches to tie the game. Garcia came in to pitch the ninth and the tenth. Despite retiring the side in the bottom of the ninth, Garcia earned the loss after giving up back-to-back doubles to Canha and Billy Butler.
What To Look For
Andre Ethier went 1-2 as the designated hitter tonight. So far, though, he is having a renaissance season. Thus far, he is hitting .291/.369/.487 with a .369 wOBA and 140 wRC+. Interestingly, in his last 100 AB (arbitrary endpoint), he is hitting .350. His platoon splits are still atrocious as he can’t hit left-handed pitching worth a damn, but even more concerning are his home/away splits.
|Home vs. Away||Avg/OBP/SLG||wOBA||wRC+|
|Home (vs. RHP)||.350/.444/.634||.459||202|
|Home (vs. LHP)||.250/.273/.300||.249||57|
|Away (vs. RHP)||.264/.337/.419||.326||110|
|Away (vs. LHP)||.133/.133/.200||.143||-16|
Ethier’s issues with lefties is no surprise, but his platoon splits on the road are troublesome. Really, -16 wRC+, how is that even possible! You have to be running the basepaths backwards.
What Is Next
Alex Wood will face off against Jesse Chavez. Dave Cameron wrote an interesting piece on Wood’s increasing strike rate since coming to the Dodgers. The Athletics are not a team that strikes out a lot. In fact, their offense ranks 28th in the league in K%. If the Dodgers are looking to capitalize on Wood’s increasing K-rate, it will likely happen after their series in Oakland.
First pitch is at 7:10 PM PST.