Ervin Regains Magic, Shuts Down A’s


The A’s have found themselves in a bizarre pattern the last few games.  They win in relatively impressive fashion, then get beaten the next game in pretty much the same impressive fashion.  Saturday they beat the Tigers 3-1 behind ace Brandon McCarthy, then lost 3-1 on Sunday against uber ace Justin Verlander.  Last night they shut out the Angels 5-0, tonight they got shut out 4-0.  So perhaps this means tomorrow they’ll unleash an offensive ambush on the Texas Rangers, only to have that same ambush brought down on them Thursday.  Ervin Santana reestablished in everyone’s minds tonight just why he has gained the reputation as an A’s killer, dominating  the A’s for 7.2  innings, allowing just 4 hits and striking out 9.

TURNING POINT:  The only serious trouble Santana got in was brought upon himself by losing his command in the top of the 6th inning.  With two outs Jemile Weeks singled and stole 2nd while Cliff Pennington ultimately worked a walk, then Josh Reddick walked to load the bases for Seth Smith, who chased a slider in the dirt to end the threat.  Cashing in on even 1 or 2 of those runners on would’ve put a lot of momentum in the A’s dugout and given them a fighting chance.  But the A’s left a goose egg in the run column, and Mike Trout‘s 7th inning homer pretty much sealed it for the Halos.

ON THE HILL:  Bartolo Colon‘s start could go in a baseball glossary for the term scattered hits, he gave up 12 tonight in 6.2 innings, with the Angels only cashing in 4 runs with all those base runners.  They were making contact pretty much the whole game, only striking out 3 times and not a single walk was issued by Colon.  He only threw 89 pitches, so it seems the Angels were swinging aggressively at Colon’s strikes.  Jerry Blevins finished off the 7th inning for Bartolo, retiring the only batter he faced.  Andrew Carignan had a solid rebound after his ugly first outing back in Oakland, issuing a walk but retiring the side in the 8th without much incident.

AT THE PLATE:  The A’s only mustered 5 hits against Ervin Santana and 2 relievers, so there wasn’t much to report from the green and gold with the sticks tonight.  Josh Reddick with 2 walks, and Cliff Pennington with a walk and a hit were the only A’s to reach base multiple times tonight, not exactly a recipe for success.  Jemile Weeks’ eternal 2012 battle with the Mendoza line continued as he managed 1 hit in his 4 at bats putting his AVG right at .200.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  For the 3rd straight series the A’s managed a split, it’s certainly better than losing the series, but the A’s would like to be able to shut down some of these opponents when they have the opportunity.  That’s something this team will have to develop as they continue this iteration of the rebuild.  The A’s move on during this whirlwind week and head to Arlington for 2 against the AL West juggernaut Texas Rangers.  They’ll be greeted by the Japanese phenomenon Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.84 ERA) tomorrow night, the A’s will counter with the soft tossing “cool as a cucumber” Tommy Milone (5-2, 3.92 ERA).  Darvish has something like 25 different pitches he can use, and you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be painting the corners with his various colors.  The A’s will have to be aggressive and swing hard at the very few pitches he will give them to hit, try to fight off the nasty ones, and hope to get Darvish out of the game as soon as possible if they have any hope of taking him down.  On the other hand Tommy Milone will have to have laser precision or else the Rangers’ modern day “murderers row” will pound him into oblivion.  I always feel like bad things always happen when the A’s visit the Rangers, but then again sometimes masterful performances a la Dallas Braden or Trevor Cahill in recent years take place, either way it’ll be fascinating to watch.

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