Game #102: Hello? Offense?

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps tired from scoring 13 runs in yesterday's contest, perhaps left in the baggage claim in Oakland, or perhaps melting in the sultry Texas heat, the A's offense was certainly missing in this one. Scratching out just a single run against a pitcher they have dominated, the A's offense fell flat behind Jason Hammel as the A's lost to the Rangers 4-1.

So the box score tells me that the A's managed seven hits in tonight's game, but thinking back to the game, I don't really remember them. They were certainly not noteworthy, they were not hit hard, and more importantly, they were not consecutive. A single here, a double there, a whole lot of pop-ups (seriously, it felt like every other batter popped up) and exactly one mounted threat was the extent of the damage against Jerome Williams. I'll let that sink in.

One. That's the number of runs the A's managed tonight off a really terrible team.  And I completely blame the offense for this loss, but Jason Hammel was no picnic himself; seven hits and four runs (three earned) is positively pedestrian, and I'm sure somewhere in Triple-A, a certain starting pitcher is agreeing with me.

After Lowrie hit a one-out double in the A's half of the first and was ultimately stranded, the bottom half of the inning got off to a shaky start, as Brandon Moss got trapped in a sunbeam and had no chance at catching a lead off hit that dropped fifteen feet in front of him to put a runner on base. His routine catch on the next batter recorded the first out of the inning, and he would have another chance in the inning, as with two outs, Beltre took a swing that I thought for sure was out for a 2-run home run, but Moss made a leaping catch up against the wall to end the inning, allowing Hammel a scoreless first. Hammel wouldn't be so lucky in the second and third innings, and the game was all but ended in the sixth.

The A's would strand another one-out double in the second inning, and the Rangers wouldn't waste theirs. A double and a single would score the first run for Texas, and only a double-play prevented more. A triple and a single in the third for the Rangers would stake them to a 2-0 lead, and the A's wouldn't even mount their first (and only) threat until the sixth inning. Sogard and Jaso would single to lead off the inning, and after Lowrie flew out, Cespedes singled to score the A's only run. Of course, Jaso was thrown out at third on the play, effectively ending the A's only real rally.

If the A's were looking for a shutdown inning in the sixth from Hammel, they got the exact opposite. After his team closed the gap to 2-1, Hammel broke it back open to 4-1 with a single, walk, single and sac fly before being replaced by O'Flaherty. The A's singled in the seventh (Vogt) and put on a teAse in the ninth, as Moss smoked a single to right and Donaldson walked with one out to bring up the tying run, but Stephen "IBISV" Vogt flew out to Martin, who made all kinds of plays in center tonight, and Derek "My hair!" Norris grounded out on a fantastic play by the Rangers as the ball kicked off the first baseman, ended up with the second baseman who threw to the pitcher to end the game. It just seemed like the A's couldn't get anything started or completed, and fell meekly to the Rangers on the hot Texas night.

The one thing they did well tonight: Replay. Bob Melvin challenged two plays; a pick off play that saw the safe call overturned on the runner getting back to the bag, and a safe call overturned as a runner was out at first by an eyelash. So there's that. And Cespedes was really only "day" instead of "day to day", so that's good too.

Don't forget; because of the heat, Saturday and Sunday's games are both at night; 5:05PM start tomorrow and 4:05PM on Sunday. Tomorrow's match-up will feature Sonny Gray vs. Nick Tepesch. We'll see you right back here with all the action.

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