The Moment: In a battle as closely fought as this one, nearly any play can turn the tide. In the 7th inning, the A’s were up by a run but the Twins were threatening. After throwing away an out with an Eduardo Nunez bunt (-.002 WPA, but probably even dumber since Nunez can hit) Brian Dozier came up with 1 away and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Dozier struck out. Crisis averted for the A’s. Oops.
The Hero: Sean Doolittle wasn’t pitching when Dozier struck out, but he did retire Joe Mauer on a well fielded liner, then came in and worked 1-2-3 through the 8th. High degree of skill.
The Condolences: Joe Mauer tagged a liner after Dozier struck out, but Yonder Alonso made a great play at first, so the condolences are extra condolency tonight. Mauer did walk, but was retired the other 4 times he came to the plate.
The Soundtrack: I’m Back – TI. Do you think Mauer knows that TI came out with other songs? I’m just saying, maybe when he is playing well, Joe should go with “I’m Back” right?
The Story: There were big time roster moves before and after the game that I will definitely touch on tomorrow, with Phil Hughes being moved to the bullpen and Danny Santana moving to the DL and Byron Buxton being recalled, so there wasn’t as much attention on this game, which is just fine, in my book.
There might be wailing and gnashing of teeth at this result were it focused on too closely, but this is one of those games that you can’t really be too broken up over. The Twins had 8 hits, and though they struck out 10 ties, they simply left too much meat on the bone, flailing with runners in scoring position. They weren’t overmatched, so much as unlucky.
Ervin Santana recovered from his stinker of a performance last week. It seemed as though he might have some issues, giving up a lead off home run to America’s favorite breakfast cereal. Coco Crisp, but then settled in, allowing only 6 more hits and 2 more runs. Unfortunately, the A’s only needed those 3 runs.
Danny Santana has been doing just fine as the center fielder, making us all reminisce about 2014, but he tweaked a hamstring, leading to an interesting outfield shuffle, with Eduardo Nunez, Robbie Grossman and Oswaldo Arcia patrolling. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse out there. But Buxton is coming back. We’ll see how it goes this time.