I get it, you know? It must be hard to drag yourself out onto the field day after day, playing for nothing, and winning so infrequently. I get how painful the A’s are right now--we know; we’re watching them, writing about them, counting the games down to the blessed end of the season. But would it kill the team to care for about 3 hours a day, if not for yourself, but for your teammate, who pitched so well, and obviously cares so much? Not that I blame them, but the team is doing a great impression of just playing out the season.
And I expected better from a player with Mark Ellis' professionalism; he certainly has been a culprit lately. This is the second play in as many Duchscherer starts that he appeared to be lackadaisical on a ball to his side; both of which led to Duchscherer losses.
And Duke certainly deserved better today, as once again, he pitched well enough to win and instead was handed the loss, after he had exited the game neither quietly nor willingly. The only real blemishes on Duchscherer’s line tonight were the two towering homeruns hit by the Rays, and the runner he left on in the seventh when Ellis forgot he ever campaigned for a gold glove.
The A’s got on the board (and tied the game temporarily) in the fifth on a Patterson 2-RBI single that barely missed Pena’s glove, one of the few-and-far-between breaks that the A’s have received in the last six weeks. But the Rays scored a run in the seventh after Blevins relieved Duke, and the game was pretty much over from there.
It’s not that the A’s didn’t have their chances to score tonight; Suzuki was tagged out at the plate on an Ellis’ single early on (you have to send him there, despite the likely out; when this team has a base hit with two outs and a runner on second, you send the runner); Ellis hit into a rally-ending DP his next at-bat; and Daric Barton had possibly the worst pinch-hitting appearance of anyone’s career with the tying run on second; three straight fastballs for three strikes. The bat never left his shoulder.
The A’s tried to make it interesting in the ninth with a leadoff walk by Cust, but Rajai Davis was thrown out trying to steal on the first pitch. He probably should have waited on that one and let Crosby hit the dead-red fastball. But the A's needed the steal, and it was a chance worth taking.
Other game notes: Embree pitched the eighth, Street pitched a scoreless ninth, leaving two runners on base, and Emil Brown had a pinch-hit walk in the ninth.
The A’s try to win the series tomorrow against Shields.