Well, today's game was a microcosm of all of the weaknesses of the 2013 Athletics, at least after the All-Star break. They haven't been fielding the ball particularly well; they had another multi-error game today; their lineup cannot hit left-handed pitchers; they were shutout by Derek Holland this afternoon, and and A.J. Griffin is leading the world in home runs allowed; two more today. Check, check and check. The A's once-vaunted offense has scored 3.2 runs over the last 22 games, with no real signs of a breakout, and whether Texas scored four runs or just one, the A's would have still lost the game.
Derek Holland was great today. He mowed the A's down in his eight near-perfect innings, allowing four hits and two walks, while striking out 10. Meanwhile A.J. Griffin was victimized somewhat by the lousy defense behind him, but he gave up two home runs of his own, and would have earned the loss anyway. Alberto Callaspo did nothing to endear himself to A's fans; he went 0-3 with 5 left on base, seeing a total of 5 pitches and killing three rallies in the process. I'm using "rallies" loosely, of course. Josh Reddick was no better against the lefty Holland, grounding out and striking out with two on, to complete his 0-3 day, leaving 4 on base. I'll actually save you reading time. Cespedes had a hit, Crisp had a hit, Young had a hit, and Freiman had two. That's the game in a nutshell.
The Rangers got a gift run in the first inning as with two outs, Yoenis Cespedes dropped a fly ball at the wall to put a runner at second, who was singled in for the Rangers' 1-0 lead. That would effective end the game, although the A's would play nine more innings for sport. The Rangers would increase the lead to 2-0 on a home run by Nelson Cruz, who may or may not end his season with today's game. The A's would put two runners on in the second, one in the fourth, and two in the seventh, but they wouldn't score. Meanwhile, the Rangers would double their lead in the seventh as Griffin gave up a 2-run home run to Mitch Moreland to end his afternoon.
The A's made their best effort of the day in the ninth inning as Donaldson walked and Cedpedes singled to put two runs on, but Moss grounded out, and with runners at the corners and one out, Callaspo grounded into a game-ending double-play.
With that, the A's lead shrinks to 2 1/2, as they complete the 5-5 homestand and go back on the road. Everyone says not to panic, but this is not the same team as it was before the break. This team makes errors and has really bad at-bats. As the A's go through the team-wide slump, they hold a lead in the AL West, yes, but it's not big, and they are not playing well. Let's hope a change of scenery can bring the A's back.
Tomorrow is an off-day; the A's play Tuesday in Cincinnati for a brief 2-game series starting at 4:10PM. See you back here with all the action!