2012 ALDS – Oakland Athletics 4 – Detroit Tigers 5
After allowing myself some time to decompress after Sunday’s 4-5 loss to the Tigers, I figured I would forego the recap and focus on 2 pivotal plays that may have cost the A’s the game and what they need to do on Tuesday in order to pull out a victory and stave off defeat for one more day. I’m sure by now that everyone has gone on ad nauseam about the dropped ball by Coco Crisp being the straw that broke the elephant’s back but I think it happened before that. I will add my part about Coco’s dropped ball but I would like to focus on the call made by Mike Gallego to send Coco Crisp on a sharp hit single by Brandon Moss in the top of the 3rd.
With the Oakland offense finally starting to find it’s grove in the top of the 3rd after a Pennington and Crisp singles to start the inning. All momentum came to a screeching halt after Yoenis Cespedes was able to single in Pennington on a single to left. The A’s took the early lead and were threatening to add on more with Crisp now at 2nd base and Cespedes on 1st. The A’s had some of their best base runners on with Brandon Moss at the plate and you could feel the offensive sea changing for the A’s finally. Moss hits a sharp single to right field where Avisail Garcia, the Detroit rookie, was playing. Other then the fact that he is a 21 year old rookie, Garcia was getting the start mainly for defensive purposes because he has a plus arm in right field along with solid range. Oh and not to mention the fact that he is being compared to Miguel Cabrera as the rookie to watch for in the organization.
Now at that point in the game, I personally don’t like being overly aggressive with base runners especially with both Reddick and Donaldson on deck and in the hole. Let the guys who have carried this team for so much of the season, have the opportunity to drive in some runs. I am going to assume that Gallego was thinking that the A’s needed to add on early and why not test the young right fielder if the opportunity arose. Here’s the problem, the ball that was hit was a solid shot off the bat of Moss and got to Garcia in a hurry thus not leaving him any time to think and just allowing instincts to take over. Gallego needed to do a better job of reading that ball off the bat because he calculated incorrectly that Coco was going to beat that throw by a seemingly large margin. I was sitting there watching saying “NOOOO, Don’t Send HIM!” because I knew that even though Garcia was young, he had the most “Reddick” like arm out of all the Detroit outfielders and the A’s paid dearly. Coco gets thrown out at home plate by a decent margin even though he tried to get around the tag with his slide. That costly error in judgement by Gallego essentially ran the A’s out of the inning and instead of Reddick being up with 1 out and the bases loaded. He ends up being up with two outs and runners on 2nd and third and strikes out on a called third strike. People say, ” Well he still had an opportunity to drive people in” but I would counter that by saying that the A’s now only had one chance instead of 2 to drive in runs because you don’t give Donaldson the chance to hit with runners on if Reddick can’t make something happen. If the A’s score a run there they probably win the game 5-4 as opposed to losing 4-5 but hind sight is always 20-20. I just hope that Gallego learns from his mistake and is just a little more cautious especially early in the game when every single run you can scratch out early is of the utmost importance.
Then you have Coco preferring to go with the basket catch as opposed to the standard glove out it front method. Look I can’t fault Coco because of the fact that his first step was back on the fly ball by Cabrera and then had to start a dead sprint in to try and make up the ground lost by that first step. OK fine, he gets a pass on that but he doesn’t get a pass for choosing to go basket catch. A, using that method makes any catch infinitely harder because at a certain point your trying to use your body to help you with the catch. Which is a recipe for disaster because just like when receivers in football try and catch the ball with their body, they are prone to drops or the ball squirting out of their grasp. B, fundamentals will always win out over the harder way to do something. I know Coco wasn’t trying to be flashy by attempting a basket catch, I just think he figured that since he was on a dead run it would be easier and he could bring the ball into his body just in case things got crazy. Well things got crazy and look what happened.
If you watch the replay Coco got to the ball in more than enough time to go the standard glove extended out in front of your chest route but just chose the wrong technique and made the catch harder then it already was after a dead sprint in from Center. I’m sure Coco probably chooses the latter choice the next time he has to come in on a ball. Let’s just hope that there is a next time this season where he can atone for the error.
Keys for Game 3:
- Josh Reddick needs to shorten up his swing like he did in his final at bat on Sunday where he put the A’s up 4-3 in the top of the 8th with a homerun. If Reddick just shortens up I think he will become way more consistent getting to pitches as opposed to swinging and missing which he has done a lot of this series.
- Cespedes needs to continue to generate runs by wreaking havoc on the base paths. Everyone saw exactly the type of talent that the Cuban Missile Crisis has when he gets on base and is allowed to do what he wants. He literally put himself in scoring position by stealing 2nd and 3rd and then advancing home on a wild pitch. More of this type of single handed production from Cespedes will spell doom for Detroit. Oh and Yoenis, you better hit a homerun and kiss the bat if you get the opportunity to face Al Alburquerque. That goes for every other hitter who faces Al.
- Finally Anderson needs to come out and throw strikes. I know Brett Anderson hasn’t thrown for a couple of weeks but this start is exactly the reason why he got his big contract from Billy Beane and why he is considered the staff ace based on talent. Anderson, it’s time to make good on that contract.
- The bullpen needs to come in breathing fire, crapping iron, and just strike batters out. If Anderson goes 6 innings the bullpen has to lock down the win because if it can’t the miracle run that has happened this season will be coming to an abrupt end on Tuesday night.
So one more time for the homies, LET’S GO OAKLAND!!!
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