Dallas Braden pitched a great game last night as the A’s beat the O’s 4-2. Much of his success came from the fact that he induced a lot of ground balls.
And with an infield defense like the A’s, that is going to produce a lot of outs and some highlight reel plays.
The infield defense, led by Cliff Pennington and Daric Barton, put on a show last night. On a couple plays, Pennington made some strong, off-balance throws that were right on the money to Barton, and Barton completed it with splits-like stretches to make the outs. Another play involved Pennington ranging way to his right to nab a line drive and rob a base hit. And Barton had a diving catch in foul territory, in addition to two nice double plays started by Barton (a 3-6-1 and a 3-6-3) that made me wonder how this guy is not a natural first baseman.
There are at least four or five Gold Glove candidates on this team. We’ll see if they can at least get one.
Pennington provided the big hit that proved to be the difference in the game, with a 2-out, 2-RBI triple in the 5th. And Andrew Bailey finally got a save opportunity, and nailed it with a 1-2-3 inning.
Another thing to note is that Jake Fox – who I was unnecessarily harsh on in a post two days ago – was in the game at catcher last night. He was 1-for-3 with a sac fly RBI. He was also catching Dallas Braden for the second time in a row. Is this going to be a trend, with Fox as Braden’s personal catcher? If Braden keeps pitching like he did last night, this sounds like a good plan to me.
The A’s have now guaranteed themselves at least as series split with Baltimore. Let’s make it a series win today. Go A’s!!