Sean Doolittle collected his third save Wednesday and had to go through Albert Pujols to do it.
Sean Doolittle throws fastballs. Albert Pujols hits fastballs.
That made Wednesday’s ninth-inning confrontation between the A’s reliever and the Angels’ DH a classic of the genre.
Or, in the words of A’s catcher Stephen Vogt, “It was fun.’’
Doolittle’s inning had started with Kole Calhoun taking him deep, the homer cutting Oakland’s lead over the playoff-hungry Angels a single run at 8-7. Then Mike Trout singled, meaning that Pujols and his 558 career homers was at the plate as the potential winning run.
“It was a kind of `Is this going to end’ thing,’’ Vogt said. “Is it going to be Pujols doing what Pujols does or Doolittle getting the popup like he does.’’
Evan Scribner’s addition of a cutter has made him a late-inning weapon out of the A’s bullpen.
Evan Scribner struck out Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and David Freese in order in the ninth inning to close out Oakland’s 6-2 win over the Angels Tuesday.
There was no save on the line, but the first two men have MVP titles on their resumes and Freese is the cleanup hitter who’d already driven in two runs.
Still, they seemed no match for Scribner, who made the A’s roster in a last-ditch attempt this spring and who has steadily move up the ladder to the point where he’s the club’s eighth inning setup man.
“That at-bat against Pujols, that was a big one for me,’’ Scribner said. He’d faced Pujols six times over the course of the last few seasons, and Pujols had two homers and five RBIs to show for their matchups.
And he’d never struck out against Scribner. It went strike looking, strike swinging and strike swinging. Three pitches and Pujols was cooked.
“Pujols has gotten me a couple of times,’’ Scribner said. “So that was fun.’’
What do Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista have in common?
Brandon Moss is about one month ahead of his 2013 RBI pace for A’s.
Probably many things. But for our purposes right here, they are American League All-Star sluggers who play every day and who have fewer RBIs than Brandon Moss, who can only count on playing when a right-handed pitcher faces the A’s.
The difference? Those three are right-handed and seldom get benched against right-handed starting pitchers. Moss is left-handed and it’s a coin flip if he’s going to start when the A’s face a left-handed starter like, say, Washington’s Gio Gonzalez, who faces the A’s on Sunday.
Moss came into the weekend with 28 RBIs in 134 plate trips, the AL’s fifth-best RBI total heading into Saturday. Bautista has 23 in 164 trips, Pujols 26 in 153 and Cabrera 25 in 133. Those three have not missed a game for their teams. Moss has played in 35 of the A’s 36 games, which seems to be in the same terrain, but he’s only started 29 of the 35.
Eric Sogard says he will be more alert to Angels’ deception in future
One of the issues addressed by the A’s in their review Monday before the start of the three-game series with the Angels was the need to keep in mind how much the Angels like to throw behind runners.
On Tuesday, despite the preparations and the warnings, the A’s ran into outs on the bases with the Angels throwing behind them twice.
In the third inning, Josh Donaldson, batting with Jed Lowrie on second base, singled to right, thought Lowrie would try to score and was caught between first and second when Lowrie held at third