It's an interesting game, where it is four-three after 6, yet seems like it should be a football score. That’ll happen when your ace pitcher gives up 10 hits and a walk, the other team makes three errors and gets two runners thrown out at the plate, and your own offense leaves eleven hundred men on base.
I though I was numb to the sight of the A’s loading the bases with no one out and failing to score, but my neighbors might disagree. Honestly, this has to stop next season. I don’t care if they employ the suicide double-play as their MO, but they have to score at least one in that situation, particularly when Seattle helped the struggling Cust out by walking him twice to load the bases (one intentional, one not so much). The A’s had the leadoff man on base in almost every single inning, due in large part to the fact that Shannon Stewart led off four different innings and reached base all five times he batted (four hits and a walk).
Yay for Shannon!
And I hate to pick on the only other consistent hitter we have on our team, but Mark Ellis’ at-bat in the seventh was positively Crosby-esque. After working a bases-loaded 2-0 count from a new pitcher, Ellis swung at three pitches that I’m not sure Crosby would have. What is it about our players with the bases loaded? (And as long as I’m asking questions, what is up with the ‘rally fries’?)
But just when it looked like the A’s were going to come up empty for their bases-loaded efforts, Mike Piazza pinch hit for Dan Johnson and after going fishing for his second strike, fought off a tough pitch to dump a single into left, scoring two, and putting the A’s back on top. That lasted a whole inning.
But quite frankly, it didn’t seem to matter how many runs the A’s scored today; after the first two no-hit innings, the A's pitchers (including Haren) just seemed to get hit, blooped, and dinked to death. I kept looking at the scoreboard saying, "They’ve only scored four?" While Haren wasn’t anywhere near as bad as his line score will show; he was definitely missing the ‘ace’ quotient again. (In my opinion, he should be done for the season; we need him next year.)
But great start or not, Haren left with a good chance to get win #15, but Embree had other plans. He didn’t drag it out any; allowing a pinch-hit homerun to the first batter of the eighth, and after Putz blew away the A’s in the ninth, it was only a matter of time before the Mariners would score. To their credit, they ended things in the ninth, letting us all get some sleep.
Offensive struggles aside; the A’s defense was miles ahead of Seattle’s. Hannahan threw two runners out at the plate, Swisher made a nice catch in center, and there was no question--at least for the night--who the better Suzuki was. Our Suzuki was as good as it gets behind the plate, blocking ball after ball after ball in the dirt, just like a pro, while the seasoned veteran Ichiro dropped a routine pop fly in center.
Today’s game had a little bit of everything, including a bunt hit by an A’s player (Suzuki), and a reminder that Haren won’t be the only one left out of the Cy voting. I just can’t fathom how little Putz has been used over the last month, as the Mariners have gone nearly winless. I really do feel sorry for Seattle; unlike our green and gold, they had a real opportunity to fight for the West crown this year. At any rate, I sure wish they were representing the West instead of the annoying team in my backyard.
But such is the nature of this season. The A’s lose 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, and for those of you into the Barton watch; he was 2 for 5 with his first stolen base.
The A’s are coming back home as the season winds down. They play the Rangers tomorrow night at 7:05, looking to salvage some of their pride after the last Texas series.