Game #54: 9th Inning Heroics Can't Overcome Jim Johnson, A's Lose to the Tigers 5-4

Thearon W. Henderson

In a boring afternoon of baseball, Chavez was let down by shoddy defense and the A's left a small army on base. But Nick Punto hit a homer, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.

An alternate universe exists where the A’s won this game 10 – 1.

Maybe that is the same alternate universe where Jeremy Giambi slides, but it exists. It’s a wonderful place where hits fall in when there are runners in scoring position, the defense makes routine plays, and unicorns still roam the plains.

I suppose that’s little comfort, but this wasn’t a team that was overmatched, it was just a good team that managed to throw away every scoring opportunity until the ninth inning.

The team RISP mark was 2-14. Both of those two hits came in the 9th inning, at which point it was almost too late. The A’s loaded the bases twice, and got a grand total of zero runs from it. It was just one of those frustrating games where opportunities exist everywhere, and absolutely no one can convert them.

Eric Sogard was probably the worst offender, bouncing into a 1-2-3 double play in a bases loaded nobody out situation. He did the absolute worst thing a hitter could do, and basically the one thing that wouldn’t score a run. It was not fun. But it was just the beginning of an afternoon of absolute frustration.

The Tigers’ only scored one run I’m really going to give credit for, on a Romine single backed up by a Kinsler double. The other runs came on a grounder Sogard couldn’t pick up (what?) and a fly ball Josh Reddick dropped (what??), and Jim Johnson Jim Johnsoning.

Our other light-hitting middle infielder had a much better game – in the fourth inning, Nick Punto hit a two-run homer. It was magical. I honestly think my favorite thing in baseball is when a light-hitting utility player and/or an AL pitcher hits a home run. It’s just ridiculous, like a puppy trying to walk on two feet or something. I almost expected Punto to dive headfirst into home plate.

I hope you enjoyed it, folks, because that was the one Punto homer we’re going to get this year. What a shame to waste it on such a forgettable game.

I almost wish there wasn’t a teAse in the end, just because I’m sick of having to talk about Jim Johnson. In a game where the A’s don’t score two in the 9th inning, JJ’s usual runs don’t matter and I can brush over them. But, alas, they ended up being the difference between a rousing walkoff victory and a depressing ending to a depressing game. Whatever.

Okay, so JJ’s not a good pitcher. I’m an optimist, but I accept that. He was in the past, and I think it was still a good pickup by Beane, but he turned out to be just awful. Come on, he has a 6.55 ERA a third of the way through the season. What is he even doing.

I’m not going to join the DFA now crowd, though – I have no faith in Scribbles being substantially better. But man, Jim Johnson. What a waste of $10 million dollars.

As for that teAse, it’s good to see that we destroy Joe Nathan, I guess. Donaldson and Reddick both doubled off of him, and Cespedes got one of his trademarked infield singles. But Jed Lowrie failed to get the job done with two outs, and that was that.

There absolutely are brightsides to this game: Chavez pitched well (but was let down by shoddy defense) and the offense hit well and walked a ton. Of course, the offense didn’t hit well when it mattered.

That alternate universe sounds really nice right now.

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