As another front page recapper said so succinctly in the game thread, "The problem with this A's team is that they have absolutely no idea how to win". And as much as it pains me to label the team that I bleed green and gold for as a "losing team", what the hell else do you want me to call it? You find me another team that can squander a lead equivalent of a grand slam in a matter of three innings, while crappy fielding, lackluster offense, and just an overall feeling of "let's just collect our paychecks, ground out to first base, and go home" permeates more games than not.
This was an absolutely winnable game; any time you are spotted four runs before the other team takes the field is a night you should win the game. If this happened to the A's, we'd say, and quite rightly so, "Game Over". But instead, the A's didn't even bother to hold a four-run lead, or get an insurance run in from third, or not throw the ball into the dugout, or try to block a third strike so a strikeout actually equals an out, or any other number of things that good teams do that we don't. This game was disgusting, and we deserve better--from the top down.
The easy answer to tonight's loss is that a broken bat, bloop single cost us the lead, and eventually the game. But that's not the full story, and I refuse to let Brian Fuentes off the hook for bad luck. It's not one player's fault; it never is, but I can sure blame a whole team. Thanks a lot for stretching a bases-loaded count to 3-1, Fuentes. Devine? How about not loading the bases with one out? Kurt Suzuki? I'd like to see any other player in the league, including several pitchers, at bat with a runner on third and one out before you. Kouzmanoff, I get that you're in your head right now, but if you throw another routine ground ball into the dugout for a two-base error that costs the A's a run they can ill-afford to lose, I'd might petition to leave you in Boston. Matsui? I can't even say anything. You went 0-5 in the middle of the A's lineup in a game they scored 6 runs. I think that's enough said. Josh Outman? Way to capitalize on what feels like the biggest first inning the A's offense has had in five years. Bob Geren? You manage this team. Why don't you seem to be accountable for anything? Moreover, why aren't you holding a team meeting and quoting my rant? Oh that's right, because "we just got unlucky today". You're steering this ship, and I'm afraid you don't really know what an iceberg is.
You really want a game recap?
The A's put four on the Red Sox in the first off Buchholz; singles by DeJesus and Willingham got the A's started, and and a groundout by Matsui (what else?) plated the first run. Suzuki and Barton singled for the next run, and a single by Ellis plated two more. Anytime you hang four runs in the first on a pitcher, he should not last until the fifth inning. I'm just sayin'. Of course, when your own pitcher only pitches into the third, the game maybe wasn't yours to win. Outman was awful tonight; he let the RedSox creep back in the first inning, allowing a single, a stolen base, a wild pitch, a groundout, a single and a double to cut the A's lead in half. Kevin Kouzmanoff throwing the ball into the dugout in the second brought the Red Sox within one run, and a walk, a double and a single gave them the lead in the third.
I suppose this is where I credit the A's plucky moxie for coming back in the fourth and tying the game on (what else?) a groundout. in the fifth, Willingham (trying his best to showcase himself for a trade, I imagine) doubled, Matsui moved him to third, and Kurt Suzuki obnoxiously popped up to the catcher for the second out, instead of scoring the run. Luckily, Daric Barton singled to give the A's another lead.
Willingham would try valiantly to increase the lead; he doubled, and after Matsui struck out, a balk was called to move him to third. But then the WORST THING EVER happened; Kurt Suzuki, instead of failing to get the runner in from third, walked. That set the table for Boston's master plan; inducing Daric Barton (who otherwise had a good night) to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Moscoso got the A's through the fifth; Breslow through the sixth, but Joey Devine was the weakest bullpen link, and despite every A's fan everywhere yelling for the bullpen, Fuentes didn't actually get up until it was too late. I suppose his initial wildness could be blamed on lack of warmup. Devin was a mess, allowing a double, hit by pitch, and a walk to load the bases with one out, and even though he got the second out, he was replaced by Fuentes. Fuentes nearly walked Crawford twice, but finally settled for a broken-bat singled, plating two. The A's were already losing, so practically no one noticed that Wuertz gave up a homerun in the eighth.
The A's lose 8-6, in a game that could have, should have been theirs. But of course, you are never lucky enough to get the good pitcher the actual night the offense shows up, and yet again, we're embarrassed by the AL East. And there isn't much time to sulk; tomorrow's game is at 10AM.
Edited to add: If you are looking for a silver lining from me tonight, here's what I have. Despite doing nearly everything possible wrong in the last few weeks, and losing four absolutely awful games in a row to the AL East, the A's are in last place, but only 5 games back; the smallest deficit from first to last in all of baseball. Tomorrow is another day.
Let's go OAK-LAND!