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Our Offense Is Really Terrible

As predicted by many, today’s game was the exact opposite of the previous two; as only three runs were plated in the rubber game of the series this afternoon. Unfortunately, only one of those belonged to the A’s; and it was practically an accident.

I’m not even sure you could legitimately call this game a pitchers’ duel despite the 2-1 final; the low score was more attributed to lackluster offense than stellar pitching.

For the A’s, Smith battled early and often, yet only surrendered a single run. His command was never really sharp, and after giving up a sac fly to break the scoreless tie in the fourth, Crosby had to make a nifty play to get him out of the inning without further damage. But when was all said and done, he pitched five innings of one-run ball, and being up against the soft-tossing Doug Davis, that really should have been plenty to win.

National League rules forced Smith out in the sixth, bringing on pinch-hitter Rajai Davis to start the inning. Raj smoked the ball, but it stayed up just long enough to be caught. The A’s followed with a walk by Ellis and a single by Sweeney, and then caught a break when Cust blooped a single down the line for the game-tying RBI. That’s all the A’s would get in the entire game, only managing three hits (and I can name them: a hustling double by Hannahan, and singles by Sweeney and Cust). LHP or not, that’s a pretty awful showing.

Most of the A’s bullpen did their job, as Ziegler replaced Smith and threw an unconventional three up, three down sixth, picking off the only baserunner he allowed. Ziggy started the seventh as well, but an infield single and sacrifice brought in Embree, who promptly struck out the next batter--who reached first base anyway. With runners on first and third, Embree struck out the pinch-hitting pitcher, and got the ground ball for the third out, leaving the score tied at 1 going to the eighth.

Foulke wasted no time in giving up an absolute bomb that broke the tie, and lost the game. And blame him if you want; he was the pitcher of record, looking shaky at best, but he’s not the real reason the A’s lost the game.

Thus concludes another incredibly frustrating offensive game for the A’s, and I would expect to see many more like this with an offense that only seems to hit well in blowouts. We needed a single run to have a chance to win the game; or at least tie, and the offense rolled over and did not hit. Yet again. 

Thanks to the Angels’ own troubles, we are still hanging in there in the AL West, 3.5 games out, but it’s no secret that the A’s are still at least one key element away from being a competitive team; they have flashes of talent, and a couple of good, young players who will develop, but they are ETA: still too inconsistent to be a competitive team, and they are not the team you want in a close, low-scoring game.  At some point, how many times can you excuse a poor offensive performance by crediting the pitching? Doug Davis threw strikes today, but the A’s offense is very clearly not good, especially against lefties, and especially when missing a real DH in the middle of the lineup.

Worth noting in the game was that the seldom-seen Bowen tossed out two runners today, and Emil Brown struck out every time he was up to bat, which is something he has done pretty much every time up to bat over the last few weeks. As more players return from the DL (please please Frank!), I would expect him to be on the expendable list.

The A’s are caught right in the middle of being a rebuilding team, and having enough go right for them to actually compete, and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next month. Almost every game is winnable for this team with the starting pitching we have seen; but they do need to figure out the missing piece(s) of the offense...and quick.

Baseball waits for no one; the A’s play again tomorrow night at home against Florida, Hendrickson vs. Harden. 

Don’t forget to buy your AN Day tickets here!