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Double the Recap, Double the Fun (does not apply to today's games)

We had to watch these awful games, so all you have to do is read the recaps. Since Louis and I both had games, we both wrote recaps. Enjoy! They're FOR SURE more fun than the games were!

Shockingly, in the first game of the twin bill, A’s managed to do something that they haven’t done much this second half: compete in a game where their starting pitcher was less than sharp. Of course, in true A’s fashion, ‘competing’ means ‘taking the game all the way to extra innings and losing in the tenth instead of the third’, but what can you do? And why does bonus baseball turn up at the most inopportune times, such as game one of a long three days of baseball.

Dana Eveland pitched an uneventful first couple of innings, but ran into trouble in the third, as the Royals put two runners on with one out, and then allowed another infield hit to load the bases. The Royals, who apparently can hit with runners in scoring position, wasted no time driving in two runs courtesy of Billy Butler, another run courtesy of a wild pitch, and the last run on yet another hit. When all was said and done, the A’s were down 4-0 before the third inning was completed.

The downside of playing a possible five games in three days is that you sometimes have to leave a struggling pitcher out there to get hit (especially in the first game), and the A’s did just that. But instead of getting pounded further (see: Meyer, Dan), Eveland turned it around after escaping the third, and despite giving up ten hits on the day, the 4-spot in the third would be the last runs he would give up; helped, no doubt, by his zero walks and five strikeouts, and several outs made on the basepaths by the Royals.

In an interesting move (keeping in mind that the A’s are playing the first game of a double-header with another one looming Saturday), despite Eveland’s relatively low pitch-count, he was pulled after the sixth (and 83 pitches) and Huston Street came out of the ‘pen in the seventh to continue his audition for a future closer role. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only a single hit and recording a pair of strikeouts, and looked good doing it. Joey Devine and his super-sparkly ERA pitched a perfect ninth, but an error by Bobby Crosby led to the walk-off Royals’ victory in the tenth, handing Devine his first loss of the year.

You might ask how the A’s managed to score the four runs to pick up their struggling starting pitcher and send the game to extras in the first place, but surprisingly (and with a little help from a Royals error), the A’s had a “big” inning in the fifth, as Patterson singled with one out, Sweeney reached on the error, Crosby singled in one run, and Cust doubled in two.

Daric Barton homered to tie the game in the sixth, but in another interesting decision by the bench, was called on to bunt a runner to second in the eighth. Had the game mattered, I would have questioned this move to no end. Barton is the hottest hitter on the A’s, by a long shot, and in my opinion, his at-bat was wasted on a sacrifice bunt, especially when it brought up the bottom of the lineup.

The A’s did not score again, and after the error opened the door in the tenth, the Royals seized the moment, and the game, 5-4.

The second game started out as you might expect if you knew Dan Meyer was going to be pitching. He allowed eight runs; seven of them earned, and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Anyone surprised? He was followed by Saarloos, Embree, Foulke and Blevins as the A’s tried to mount a comeback. (Stop laughing.)

On the other side of the mound, Davies threw a hundred and one pitches over his five innings, but held the A’s to a single run; an RBI double by Ryan Sweeney.  The A’s mounted two more threats later in the game, but couldn’t pull off the sheer quantity of runs that they needed. Sweeney duplicated his earlier effort in the seventh, bringing in Pennington and Davis on another RBI double, and Barton knocked Sweeney in with a sacrifice fly. In the ninth, off the Royals’ sixth pitcher (they would use seven total), the A’s were able to get two more runs home via a Cust double and a Barton ground-out, but the six runs were just a tease, since they gave away nine. This team is terrible.

Bottom line: The A’s go down in a sweep today, and a sweep of the series, and now limp into Baltimore to face a team that is playing as badly (if that’s even possible). It will be the series that both sides just try not to lose. 

We can only hope for better times.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Ernie Banks personified the love of baseball with his perennial smile and pledge to "Let's Play Two!" during his time with the Cubs. But over the last few decades, the number of scheduled double headers has virtually been eliminated, with teams wanting to maximize every fan dollar and potential television revenue. With today presenting the opportunity to witness such a rare event, I was hopeful we could see the A's capitalize on their unrequested day off, and snare a pair from the Kansas City Royals. But it was not meant to be. One game was lost late, and the other, lost  almost immediately, but in the end, they both counted the same, as the A's dropped the contests 5-4, and 9-6, in a game that, to be honest, really wasn't that close.

The A's left Kansas City, swept, not just today, but in the three-game series, and have continued a free-fall that has been in full force since the departure of Rich Harden and Joe Blanton via trade. We know the pain is to be short lived, but boy, it still hurts.

In the first game, the A's fell behind 4-0 early, in the third inning, but battled back to tie on the back of a 2-run double by Jack Cust and 6th-inning bomb by Daric Barton, forcing extras, as Huston Street tossed 2 strong scoreless innings, continuing his hot streak, in relief of Dana Eveland, who managed an uneventful 6 innings, with 4 runs and 10 hits. The best news? No walks for Dana, but... no win either. In the 10th, it was trouble from batter number one. Former A Esteban German reached base on a Crosby error, and following an intentional walk, Joey Gathright brought the first contest to an end with a single to left. And that was that.

In the second game, Dan Meyer did his part to make sure the game was never really in doubt. This time, the Royals managed their 4 runs int he first frame, and he was chased after only 3 and 1/3 innings, giving up 8 runs, 7 earned, which has now ballooned his season ERA above 8. Strong pitching from Saarloos, Foulke and Blevins, following Meyer, wasn't enough to get the A's a victory, as Meyer fell to 0-4 on the year.

The ninth inning of the second game offered up enough of a tease to be interesting, as the A's turned a 9-4 deficit to a 9-6 gap by knocking around a very hittable Kip Wells, but could not get the tying run any closer than the on deck circle. Jack Hannahan, who started the game with two walks, ended it with three consecutive strikeouts, the last two with men on in crucial situations, leaving him cursing and pulling at his batting gloves in frustration.

Now, the A's take their tale of misery to Baltimore, where Dallas Braden will try to stop the losing skid. As for me, I'll just be happy if they stick to losing only once a day. Twice in one day was too much.