We'll work in backwards chronological order and start with the bottom of the 9th, which saw a 3-2 A's lead turn into a 4-3 loss. One reason I like to watch games instead of relying on box score data is that not all hits, runs, processes, and outcomes are alike. I am here to tell you that having watched the bottom of the 9th, it is stunning how bad the three pitches were that Street threw to Rios (single), Barajas (double), and Mench (single). The first was a fastball, center cut, with just nothing on it. The last two were hanging sliders that would be hard to miss. On a night when the A's collectively, and Huston Street individually, desperately needed to show some success, Street just looked overmatched for the task. I have no explanations, just observations - and the A's have themselves a real dilemma here.
In the top of the 8th, with Oakland leading 3-2, Carlos Gonzalez' fourth hit loaded the bases with nobody out and Emil Brown pinch ran for Frank Thomas at second base. Ellis followed with a soft line drive to the SS hole that seemed to hang forever, in slow motion, before John McDonald made a fine diving catch. The rule of thumb, if you've ever played Little League baseball, is "live drive, go back to the bag" until you see it go through to the outfield. As slowly as the play unfolded, you wonder how on God's green earth Emil Brown could manage to get doubled off of second base. There's a reason he is so villified on AN - the season is now bookended with tough losses on blown saves by Street, preceded by ridiculous baserunning blunders from Emil Brown.
And so it goes. Many positives, from Carlos Gonzalez' four hit game to Ryan Sweeney's three hit game, from Greg Smith's outstanding 6 innings of work to Brad Ziegler's continuingly-historical 2 innings of work, wasted in an eighth consecutive exercise in futility. And the A's brass left scratching their heads pondering why Street suddenly can't do anything right, and wondering whether the A's will ever win a baseball game again.