5 wins in a row!
While the A’s offense is pretty offensive, right away you could see Kuroda had a lot more run/movement on his fastball/sinker than in the past. I watched the game last night with my son and I was trying to show him the movement he had and I said his recent outings the movement was not as good (I was also trying to get him to understand that everyone has some good days and bad days and it is hard to always be good as he had a tough day at his own practice today). Anyway, I said against what is a weak lineup if he doesn’t walk guys he will do well. My son was getting tired by the 7th inning (even though we got there in 1 hour on DVR) and said “you were right about Kuroda, he is great tonight.” Putting up zero’s and allowing only 1 runner to get to 2nd base (or 3rd), was a great performance. The interesting part for him was in the 7th inning as he was possibly tiring a little and he looked like he was trying to push through the 1st and 3rd situation with only 1 out and a 3-2 count on the batter. Kuroda was paying a lot of attention to the base runners and Stewart kept trying to slow him down. Stewart was spot on because Kuroda was overthrowing which was causing his pitches to straighten out. Sometimes backing off is the answer. Stewart called for the slider and Kuroda shook in agreement and then did the fake to 3rd and back to 1st move that I believe will be outlawed next year. Then when he got the signal form Stewart he switched it to the changeup and Kuroda agreed and did the same fake to 3rd play. The next sign was again for the changeup and this time he threw the changeup that fell out of the strike zone for a swinging strike and getting a huge out. The sequence was an obvious critical one because if the batter took ball 4 there they have bases loaded and 1 out in 2-0 game and Kuroda probably would have been out of the game. The pitch was the correct one, but we also caught a break.
Outside of the above sequence, the biggest point in the game was the 1st inning. With 1st and 2nd one out ARod got a hit with RISP and it was a line drive through the right side where Jeter had to freeze to ensure the line drive went through. Jeter might have been able to score only because the throw was poor, but Thompson held him up probably correctly. Cano then popped up on the first pitch he saw. Cano was pounding line drives, but is now in that I will swing and hit anything mode that is frustrating. I like when he takes pitches without stepping out of the box before the pitcher releases the pitch. It is almost like he knows whether he is going to swing no matter what or don’t swing no matter what…that is not effective, even for a guy with the sweetest swing in the game. Swisher saw a fastball early in the count and then all they had to do was throw changeups and he popped up.
After Jones hit a monster solo shot on a first pitch fastball (he crushed it), Milone threw a lot more changeups and curves in key spots and we didn’t have an answer. Tex did get our other run in with his 2nd double of the game with 2 outs and that extra run was huge. It gave Soriano the 9th inning with a little more breathing room. Soriano has gotten the job done, but his stuff has not been as tight as I remember. He may need to get in a groove because his game is location and throwing his breaking or fastball on any count.
Grandy tried to bunt twice into the shift, but both pitches were ones where he pulled the bat back. It is good to see he will do that…
Stewart made another great throw on a backhand ball in the dirt to throw out weeks by a lot. The catch, release, throw speed and accuracy were perfect. He can’t hit at all, but he surely can throw (sounds like Martin)
Congrats to Jeter for passing George Brett on the all time hits chart…next up is Cal Ripken
Let’s go get 2-3 from Anaheim.