There comes a point when we have to realize that pitching can only keep you from losing games, not matter how great your pitching is, unless if they are so impressive that the official scorer can subtract runs from the other team based on your pitcher’s performance (I kid). If your offense don’t score any runs, then your great pitching only serves one purpose, prolonging the inevitable outcome, a loss.
The only good thing I can say about the game today is that we didn’t lose by one run. The Rays put four on the board, an insurmountable lead against Kazmir for even the most optimistic of A’s fans. The starting pitching was average at best, as Dana Eveland’s smoke and mirrors routine continued to break down, involving a lot of pitches, only a handful of them really good. The speedy Tampa Bay ran wild on him, and he allowed two towering homeruns and two other assorted runs through his five innings. Andrew Brown came in and got people out to keep the deficit at 40-0 4-0, and Casilla looked like the worst pitcher ever loading the bases, and then the best pitcher ever by using the K to prevent further runs. But 1-0 or 10-0; did it ever matter? The game was painful, boring, slow, tedious, frustrating, and predictable, and I blame the offense.
The A’s mounted the only threat of the game against Kazmir in the first inning, with two on and one out. After Brown flied out, Ellis got picked off to save Kazmir another K in the inning. The good news is that the A’s are no longer affected by the broken bat problem plaguing the rest of the league; they don’t ever get the bat on the ball, and they strikeout almost every other out. It’s bad--really bad--when the highlight of the game for the A’s was getting two runners on in the same inning. The A’s lone two hits were singles by Cust and Sweeney, and it’s impossible to determine how well Kazmir pitched; I’m sure I could throw a quality start against the A’s right now. They are winless on this road trip, and have lost six in a row.
Granted, Kazmir is an elite pitcher, but the A’s made it look easy for him tonight. They are a terrible offensive team who doesn’t even have good at-bats anymore, and quite frankly, they’re as tough to watch right now as I can remember.
Dallas Braden takes another turn on the mound tomorrow night. I hope he’s not expecting run support.