Sometimes, reality bites. When the A's won five in a row earlier this month, for a short time, holding the best record in the American League, it was tempting to think we could skip the rebuilding process and go straight to contention, years before the experts gave us a chance. But a lineup full of inexperienced players and career minor leaguers, combined with a start by a pitcher who likely would be out of the rotation were it not for a few injuries to key starters, made for a patchwork offering today - one that seemed over soon after it began.
Lenny DiNardo's second start for the A's this year proved much harder than his first. He departed after only 2 1/3 innings, giving way to Captain Kirk Saarloos, who gamely threw for 5 2/3 innings himself, but saw a 3-0 lead stretch to 5-0, and eventually 8-1, as the A's could only manage a single tally on Emil Brown's fourth inning triple.
In the last five games, the A's have now posted scores of 1 run, 2 runs, 1 run, 2 runs and again... 1 run. And unless you're playing hockey or soccer, that's usually not going to be enough. But they couldn't match up against the Mariners' Carlos Silva, who pitched seven full innings, allowing only four hits and the one run, to advance his record to 3-0 on the young season, dropping the A's record back down to 9-8, and 0-2 early against the AL West division.
The excitement we held last week when we saw Crosby batting over .300, Ryan Sweeney going 4-4, and Buck knocking doubles all over the park already seems like a distant memory. Jack Cust, my would-be favorite A, has got me worried he might not ever catch up with off-speed stuff, and just maybe won't again achieve the levels of productivity he showed us with an amazing 2007 debut. Crosby is back to his old stance, swinging at slop. The A's 6-9 spots, combined with the leadoff man, went 0-16 with a walk in the game, and that's simply not going to get it done.
We're all too happy to see the Mariners head out of town now, as the A's look to shake off their intra-divisional woes and take on the AL Central's Kansas City Royals, starting tomorrow. I've got tickets and hope I won't be driving down 880 tomorrow night, angry at the world. But if it's anything like tonight's game was... yeah. That just might happen.