Last week I further built upon my case that the recent spate of perfect games in baseball--that would be five over two years if we include Armando Galarraga--is not so much a case of superior pitching as it is inferior hitting.
Well, last Saturday I worked the Padres/Athletics interleague game, and though these two teams are not necessarily juggernauts of the offense, they are still lineups with major league hitters, facing major league pitchers.
Starting this particular circus were Ross Ohlendorf and Tyson Ross (they have Ross in common, eh?). They also both had no-hitters going through three innings, despite 56 pitches (30 strikes) from Ohlendorf and 44 (22 strikes) from Ross.
Ohlendorf lost his no-no when Seth Smith crushed a 1-0 slider over the center field wall, and Ross lost his no-hitter in the sixth, with two outs, to Carlos Quentin, after issuing a walk to Chase Headley.
At that point the score was Oakland 3, San Diego 2, and Ross came out after tossing 95 pitches, 50 for strikes, while Ohlendorf was pulled after 3.2 innings, and 85 pitches, 51 for strikes.
Sean Doolittle came in to cover Oakland in the seventh, and promptly lost the lead, allowing a double, a walk, and then a double, but was bailed out in the bottom of the seventh after Cliff Pennington walked, and Jemile Weeks singled. Josh Reddick then hit into a force out allowing Pennington to move to third, and Luke Gregerson was called in, mid at-bat, to finish off Jonny Gomes. His first throw was a wild pitch, and Pennington scored and the game was tied.
With a three-and-one count, Gomes crushed a two-run shot over the left field wall.
In the eighth, former closer Grant Balfour came in to hold the lead in the eighth, and he was awful, as follows:
- Chase Headley lead off with a hard grounder down the line, nicely picked by Brandon Moss for a ground out.
- Carlos Quentin walked.
- Mark Kotsay singled hard to right on a 3-2 count, with Headly moving to third. So, three batters, one fine defensive play, and runners on the corners.
- Yonder Alonso hit a scorched line drive--also down the first base line--that Moss was able to spear while falling down. In the process he rolled over first base, doubling Kotsay off the bag, and ending the inning.
Somehow through all of that, Balfour was credited with a hold, while Gregerson, who threw precisely six pitches (he whiffed Brandon Inge after the Gomes dinger on three straight strikes) got the loss.
In the end, Ryan Cook came on to save the game, and of the nine pitchers who took the mound last Saturday, he was the only one who displayed any pitching acumen at all.
He got the save, and crazily Doolittle got the win despite five batters, two hits, a walk, and two runs over an inning. However, since awarding the victory is at the discretion of the OS, I personally begged Art Santo Domingo to award the win to Brandon Moss, who saved the game and Balfour with his two terrific defensive plays.
Still, four San Diego hits, and seven Oakland hits for a 5-3 game, with such lousy pitching does confirm my original therom: hitting sucks.