When I first saw the lineup the A’s were trotting out at the Coliseum today against the Detroit Tigers my immediate thought was, “Verlander is gonna throw a no-hitter.” I truly believed it too, everything seemed to be lining up for exactly that. So when I saw that Verlander had retired the first 9 hitters of the game without incident, I took to Twitter, I had to make my mark. So you can thank me, not Josh Reddick for busting up the perfecto with 2 outs in the 4th inning. Seth Smith made it all okay with a homerun to lead off the 5th, nobody seriously expected a victory against one of the game’s best, but not getting no hit would be nice, and not getting shut out would be even better. So while Verlander carved up what seriously looked like a Spring Training split squad lineup (The A’s had no bench players available today too… none…zero), I wouldn’t be terribly boastful if I were the Tigers because the real A’s took 2 out of 3 from them.
TURNING POINT: Perhaps it was the moment Justin Verlander walked from the Tigers’ dugout and picked up the baseball. The A’s simply didn’t have a chance, mustering just the Reddick single, and the Smith homer (he also walked). When the starter’s second to last pitch (number 103) is a 99 MPH fastball, you really have no chance. that’s what happened today.
ON THE HILL: Jarrod Parker was certainly fighting an uphill battle today, against the ace of the other team, and against the strike zone. Parker’s control problems continued, leading to 4 walks and a strike percentage in the 50’s. But Parker managed to last 5.2 innings, and surrendered only 2 runs while striking out 6. If he can simply gain some command of the strike zone, he’s shown he has ace potential. Grant Balfour worked 0.2 innings, and walked in the 2nd ER charged to Parker in his new role, which according to Susan Slusser he was none too happy about. Jordan Norberto continued his recent success with 1.2 clean innings, his ERA is now at 3.63 for the season. Pedro Figueroa gave up a run for the second straight appearance in the 9th.
AT THE PLATE: Not to beat a dead horse, but a lineup missing Kurt Suzuki, Jemile Weeks, Brandon Inge, and Kila Ka’aihue not to mention Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp on the DL was not going to win. They didn’t manage a hit against Joaquin Benoit or Jose Valverde either, it simply wasn’t their day.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The A’s split both series on this homestand, and are still a game above the .500 mark as they head down to Los Angeles of Anaheim to face the Angels. Tyson Ross (1-3, 7.71 ERA) squares off against old friend Danny Haren (1-3, 4.19 ERA) tomorrow night from Disneyland. Obviously all A’s fans will look extra fondly on Mother’s Day after what happened in 2010 with Dallas Braden’s extraordinary day in Oakland, I was visiting my mom when I heard he was working on a perfect game, we put the game on and witnessed history. I still get chills every time I watch the game highlights. I hope all the mothers out there have had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and send best wishes to all of them (specifically to mine ofcourse, who’s been a big supporter of my writing), thanks for putting up with our baseball obsessions, and even sharing in them when history presents itself.