2012 ALDS – Oakland Athletics 1 – Detroit Tigers 3
Maybe it was to be expected that after a pretty historic run to win the Division, the A’s came out just a little flat in game 1 of the ALDS. Or maybe it just had more to do with the fact that Justin Verlander was on the mound and doing his CY Young impersonation. Verlander ended up with an enviable line of 7 innings, 3 hits allowed, 1 run allowed, ERA of 1.29 and OBA of .125. The lone run for the A’s came off of the bat of Coco Crisp who lead off the game with a homerun and seemed to have the A’s poised to start right were they left off on Wednesday, but it was not to be.
Verlander struggled early in terms of control and pitch count but the A’s just couldn’t deal the death blow in order to get Verlander out of the game and into the Tigers bullpen. On the A’s side, Jarrod Parker did exactly what many thought he might do to the Tigers lineup and that was keep it in check as much as possible. Parker worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs, 7 hits, and avoiding major calamity much of the game.
Until an error in the bottom of the 3rd inning by Parker pushed the go ahead run across. The play itself started off pretty mundane but went south when it seemed like there was a little miscommunication between Moss and Parker on who was going to field the dribbler to first. The speedy Quentin Berry was baring down on first base and it looked as if Parker wanted to make a running flip to first but Brandon Moss had broke in on the ball as well. By the time Parker realized Moss wasn’t at first base it was to late, the ball was tossed past first base and Omar Infante scored from second. Parker was able to regain his composure and get out of the inning but you just got the feeling any free runs given to Verlander would spell doom for the A’s.
Especially given the fact that Verlander had the good fortune of getting an extra wide and high strike zone because of the undying love and appreciation that home plate umpire Jim Reynolds had for Justin and his pitching acumen. Yes Justin Verlander is one of the best pitchers in Baseball, but if you’re going to do him the favor of adding an extra couple inches on the strike zone while he’s still blowing 95-99 mph fire, then just tell the A’s to take the night off cause you got this. Does that sound bitter? Sure the A’s had 11 k’s for the game but my theory is that because of the enlarged strike zone, the hitters ended up chasing pitches that were balls which they would have normally taken due to the enlarged strike zone. You can say “Quit bitching Frank the A’s just got beat by the better pitcher today.” and I would be OK with that but the ump’s strike zone, I think, led to a lot more chasing than normal from the A’s hitters.
The one bright spot for the A’s tonight was reliever Pat Neshek getting into the game and getting 2 outs to get out of a bottom of the 7th jam. Normally, Neshek coming into relieve wouldn’t be such a big deal but he came in with a heavy heart and the initials of his newborn on his right sleeve. Only 4 days earlier, Neshek was in the delivery room bringing into the world his first child, Gehrig John Neshek, amidst the celebration that was going on in Oakland. Sadly his first born passed away 23 hours after his birth. The cause for his death is still not known but upon hearing the news A’s fans, the team, management, and anyone with a heart sent out their condolences and support to try and help the family through this trying time. If you’re not a parent, you won’t understand the depths in which something like this effects your mind, body, and soul. I can only imagine the heartbreak that Pat and his wife Stephanee are going through right now but I speak for all A’s fans when I say, you’re in our prayers and hearts and hope that eventually your pain will get easier and your hearts less heavy.
It’s only the first game but the A’s will have their work cut out for them if they want to get a split in Detroit and come back to Oakland tied 1-1. The bats will have to come alive against Doug Fister tomorrow in order for the A’s to ensure that they don’t have to win another 3 games in a row at home in order to advance to the ALCS. So one more time for the people, LET’S GO OAKLAND!!!!
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