Michael Duca on the A’s and Giants: Donaldson is turning out to be the A’s gamer;The Giants Panda is back with improved average

by Michael Duca

OAKLAND–I was right down on the field when Josh Donaldson hit his walk off homerun on Wednesday night at the Coliseum in the A’s 3-1 win and I had mentioned to somebody standing next to me that the bottom of the ninth was not going to be quick and easy just because the Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez had thrown a lot of pitches. Sanchez had 104 and the A’s Coco Crisp worked the count on Sanchez for awhile and hit a ball down the third base line for a double.

Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus came out and replaced Sanchez with relief pitcher Joe Nathan whose scuffled this year, he brought an ERA of 4.58 into the game and if your closer has an ERA like that you’ve given up a lot of runs. There was a long at bat by the A’s John Jaso that resulted in an opposite field ball that hit off Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos’ glove to put runners on first and third.

With one out the Tigers were looking for the double play and Nathan tried to sneak a first pitch sinker in that didn’t sink and Donaldson went yard with it. The most excited guy was A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir who was in danger with a terrible loss at 1-0 after pitching a brilliant game out there.

Sanchez painted the strike zone beautifully, his fastball was clocked at 94-95 but he was moving it in and out, he was able to back off just a little bit and then he threw it at 91-92, he was not finding the strike zone and Sanchez is not a really tall pitcher and plate umpire was Jerry Meals who is about 5’6 and that by defintition is when your sight changes, his visual has his eyes starting lower so the strike zone is going to be a little bit lower.

SF Giants update: Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum who pitched five innings of no hit ball against the Cubs on Tuesday afternoon at AT&T was lifted he could have pitched maybe one more inning and he had 94 pitches, with 32 pitches in the first inning, and in that inning he had absolutely no command of the first inning and Timmy had no idea where the ball was going.

Despite the result SF won it 5-0 and Lincecum was able to fight and figure out ways to win games when doesn’t bring his best stuff out to the mound with him. The fact of the matter he still is mechanically out of whack. He’s not leaning forward into the pitches. He’s not pushing his upper body forward into the target.

If Lincecum can find a way to quickly correct that things will go well because he’s clearly becoming more and more of a pitcher and less and less of a thrower. However you have to be concerned about back to back outings like he’s had and he’s throwing a ton of pitches and this is a guy whose walked three hitters in his first three starts this year. Now Lincecum has 35 walks, the Giants have to be worried about that he averaging more and he’s walked 11 batters in nine innings his last two outtings.

As far as Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is concerned the Panda is back, there’s just no two ways about it, the Panda is back, that guy who was occupying his uniform for the first month of the season and hitting .166 and working counts and looking like he was struggling on every swing, has been replaced by the original article.

Sandoval is aggressively swinging at anything that is within the same time zone as home plate, you can’t be a good bad ball hitter and all of sudden be a good select ball hitter. There were a lot of people happy to see that Sandoval worked 13 walks in the first month and half of the season. Sandoval is now hitting .246 an improvement since April.

Michael Duca does commentary each week on the A’s and Giants for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

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