Coming into today's game, the A's were 2nd in MLB in DER, or defensive efficiency rating. That is to say, the A's were the second-best team (.001 behind the Mariners, who are 1st) at turning potential outs into actual ones. Given that, the A's recent competition-crushing play, and the specter of playing the Rangers, it would stand to reason that the A's would be at the top of their DER game this evening.
If you thought that, you'd be wrong. Earlier this evening, the A's layed a egg against Texas in pretty much every way possible. Josh Reddick's 7th inning HR off of Roy Oswalt was the extent of the offense against a pitcher who had arguably his best start of his shortened year. He struck out 6 of 23 batters faced, walked no one, and allowed only 3 hits.
Bartolo Colon had a pretty pedestrian start, although his line might not show it. He threw 7 innings of 8 hit, 1 walk, 6 K ball. He also threw 30 balls in his 97 pitches, which for a normal pitcher might not seem that bad. But for a pitcher like Colon, who lives on the corners, not getting those calls is really the difference between success and not. He also didn't help himself, as he catalyzed the Rangers first run with an errant pickoff attempt to 1B that allowed Craig Gentry to get to 3rd with two outs, who was later singled home by Elvis Andrus. That throw was preceded by an overly aggressive dive by Chris Carter on a play that Jemile Weeks makes easily, allowing Gentry to outrun Colon to the bag.
Defense would again bite the A's in the 4th. After an Adrian Beltre HR to make it 2-0, and a Michael Young single rocketed to CF, Brandon Moss took a Rajai Davis-like route to a Nelson Cruz flyball and had the ball nick off the heel of his glove for a double and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Surely, it was not an easy play, but it's a play Reddick makes with his eyes closed. Later, Craig Gentry would bunt a ball towards Colon as part of a squeeze, and Gentry would reach as Weeks couldn't get to 1B in time to cover. It wasn't all his fault, though, as Carter probably made a mistake in breaking in rather than staying on the base.
I won't normally say this, but having Coco Crisp out of the lineup really kills the A's defensive prowess while Cespedes cannot yet play the field. So, come back soon, Coco! ...then get traded, please.
Gentry's speed was the difference in this game. In addition to his basepath disruption, he also made a great diving catch on a sinking bloop by Kurt Suzuki in the 2nd.
As was reported by multiple outlets earlier, Brett Anderson is headed out for a rehab assignment soon and Dallas Braden may not be far behind. Even if Colon pumpkins a little, there are reinforcements coming as soon as August.
Join us tomorrow for the businessman's special. Baseballgirl will be your host against A's kryptonite Colby Lewis. The A's will counter with their own secret weapon, Travis Blackley, who has already outpitched Clayton Kershaw this year in a start. Here's hoping for a split of this short series.