In Tuesday night’s match-up between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Oakland Athletics, both teams seemed to be playing to lose, as Oakland eventually pulled out a 9-5 victory. Both starting pitchers, Jarrod Parker for the A’s and C.J. Wilson for the Angels, who is now the de facto leader of the staff after Jared Weaver’s injury, looked shaky in the first inning.
Wilson immediately got into trouble by walking SS Jed Lowrie and LF Yoenis Cespedes, before giving up a few RBI hits to C Derek Norris and 1B Brandon Moss. Wilson threw over 40 pitches and put the Angels in a 3-0 hole before their offense even got a chance to step up to the plate.
Parker for the A’s actually came in looking worse and appeared entirely unable to locate his fastball. He got out of a bases loaded jam in the 1st inning because of a strikeout of the struggling Josh Hamilton, who appears to swing at any off-speed pitch out of the zone, and a timely double play.
Wilson ended up settling down, giving up only a single run after the first inning to the red-hot Coco Crisp who hit his fourth home run of the season. But Parker continued to struggle with a total lack of command and ended up leaving in the 4th inning after plunking the hobbled Albert Pujols. When walking off the mound Parker turned to Pujols and clearly said, “my bad,” as he walked to the dugout.
Although the pitchers in the game were getting squeezed by a particularly inconsistent home plate umpire, Parker looked like he had no idea where his fastball was going and threw many balls in the dirt. He was lucky to leave in the 4th inning after giving up only two runs. This was mostly due to the rally-killing Hamilton and the limping Pujols who got doubled up at first base after a great catch by Cespedes on a hard hit ball to center field.
The A’s defense, which has only committed one error this season coming into Wednesday’s game, committed two. One error, unofficially, by the backup 2B Scott Sizemore, who actually left the game with an apparent knee strain–which is worrying because he missed all of last season with a knee injury–and a dropped fly ball by RF Chris Young, who is usually a spectacular defender. Young seemed to lose the ball in the lights and allowed a run to score. Young is replacing the Gold Glove RF, Josh Reddick, who injured his wrist in a collision with a wall in Sunday’s game against the Astros. The SS, Jed Lowrie, also recorded an error in the 4
The Angels ended up taking a 5-4 lead in the 6th inning and looked in control as the Oakland offense looked lifeless, but the A’s rallied in the 7th with a 3-run HR by pinch hitter John Jaso and then a 2-run HR by Brandon Moss to make it 9-5.
The A’s three-headed hydra in the bullpen, Cook-Doolittle-Balfour, shut down the Angels for the rest of the game and the A’s came up with the hard fought victory. Neither team looked particularly good in the game as the Angels lacked clutch hitting and the A’s defense looked sloppy, but the A’s managed to come out on top because of their power hitting. The A’s are now 6-2 after losing the first two games of the season and the Angels fall to 2-5.