A's Insider notes: Sluggers boost confidence in loss

June 4, 2011, 2:56 pm
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June 4, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVEA's PAGE A's VIDEOPaul Gutierrez

A few observations from the A's come-from-ahead 8-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox Friday night at Fenway Park- Was intrigued and, I guess, pleasantly surprised by Bob Geren's lineup to start the A's 10-game roadie. After two days off, Daric Barton returned, but hit sixth for the first time this season, rather than his usual second. Plus, Hideki Matsui, who I've advocated should be the team's everyday designated hitter until he either breaks out of his slump or shows that he has absolutely nothing left, was also back after missing the previous two games against right-handed pitchers. He hit clean-up.- Matsui had an 0-for-5 night but, in what might serve as a confidence-builder, he drove in the A's first run of the night with a first-inning fielder's choice.- Barton, meanwhile, had a pair of two-out, run-scoring singles that no doubt will help his confidence. But he also committed his seventh error of the season, on J.D. Drew's bouncer between first and second, and he could have padded the A's slim lead in the seventh. With one out, Josh Willingham at second and Kurt Suzuki at first, Barton grounded into a rally-killing, inning-ending double play. It was only the second time all season he's had a multi-hit, multi-RBI game (May 15 against the Chicago White Sox).- There are few things in sports as deflating to a team as a pitcher, handed a four-run lead before he even takes the mound, giving it all back, plus one, before the end of the third inning. Welcome to Josh Outman's painful world. The left-hander lasting only 2 23 innings - the shortest non injury-related outing by an A's starter this season - and gave up five runs, four earned, in his third start of the season. His inability to get outs made it a battle of the bullpens.- To which Guillermo Moscoso answered the challenge, with 2 13 scoreless innings. Initially skipped in the rotation due to Thursday's off day, the right-hander got his work in anyways, and impressed in doing so. Especially after giving up lead-off singles to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in the fifth inning before getting out of it unscathed.- If Matsui does flame out and the A's have to part ways with him, Josh Willingham should be the D.H. and Ryan Sweeney should be the everyday left fielder. Willingham had trouble playing the Green Monster - as has every player not named Carl Yastrzemski - but had a great day at the plate with three hits, including two doubles.- While it might be fashionable to beat up on Brian Fuentes for giving up the hit that allowed the winning run, he made the pitch that had to be made, shattering Carl Crawford's bat in the process. The problem was, Fuentes fell behind, first 2-0 and then 3-1, so he had to serve up a strike rather than a slider to get Crawford to chase. The runs that scored on the flare to shallow center field ere charged to Joey Devine, the first runs he's allowed in 33 innings over 33 games, dating back to Sept. 4, 2008. Yes, he's coming back from Tommy John Surgery.

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