Well, even though games don’t come much more frustrating than this one, you have to believe that this offense will put it together more games than not, right? The A’s still don’t have a homerun or a triple, but it would have taken about seven singles to win tonight. They had six. But some power wouldn't have hurt, and certainly the cold Oakland night prevented the big hits from going out.
I’m going to start with a lineup vent. Chavez cannot hit lefties. That’s common knowledge. If you’re going to play Chavy against a lefty, I certainly wouldn’t bat him fifth. At the very least, I would be batting Nomar, Cust, or Ellis ahead of him.
But even that could have been worked around. The A’s had chances to score in just about every inning, starting with the first. After Sweeney struck out, O-Cab drew a walk; bringing up Giambi, who grounded back to the pitcher. Rowland-Smith uncorked the worst throw to first base I’ve ever seen, and that is NOT an exaggeration. It looked like he was trying to hit Giambi as a moving target running up the line, but he missed Giambi, the first baseman, the base, the field; and the ball rolled down the line, sending Cabrera home, and Giambi to third.
Remember the lineup vent? After Matt Holliday walked, Chavez then came up with runners on first and third and one out. Although he didn’t strike out, he did pop up. The runners were stranded. (LOB Count: 2)
Right. The debut. Do not be fooled by Brett Anderson’s line today: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO. He pitched a hell of a lot better than that line will tell; only giving up runs in one inning, and maybe even on one pitch.
Anderson breezed through a 1, 2, 3 first inning, but ran into big trouble in the second; after getting the first out, he walked Griffey, gave up his first hit to Lopez, and then allowed two broken bat singles before a huge hit to left field that Holliday probably could have been a little more aggressive on. In literally a blink of an eye, Seattle put 5 runs on the board.
The A’s started their half of the second inning with a double from Jack Cust. After Suzuki reached on an error, sending Cust to third, Ellis popped up. Sweeney walked to load the bases, and Cabrera (who had a great night, going 3-3 with a walk) hit a sac fly. After Giambi walked to load the bases yet again, Holliday grounded out. (LOB Count: 5)
After the disastrous second inning that would be the difference in the game, Anderson settled down and pitched a 1, 2, 3 third, a 1, 2, 3 fourth, faced the minimum in the fifth, and allowed one hit in the sixth. He showed great stuff; just had one unlucky inning.
Chavez singled to start the third for the A’s, but was stranded (LOB Count: 6). Ellis lead off the fourth with a single of his own, and after Sweeney flied out, Cabrera singled Ellis to third. Giambi was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, but Holliday popped out in foul territory, and Chavez grounded out. (LOB Count: 9)
Suzuki had a two-out single in the fifth, and was stranded (LOB Count: 10).
The A’s would finally get the RBI hit in the sixth as the first two men reached (Sweeney walk, Cabrera single), and after Giambi grounded out, Holliday (after leaving the bases loaded twice on the night) finally got the big hit; a double down the line to score Sweeney. Garciaparra picked up Giambi on the sac fly, and the A’s closed the gap to 5-4, but would leave the bases loaded again. (LOB Count: 13)
The seventh inning saw a two-out single by Cabrera, but he was stranded (LOB Count: 14).
Holliday tried for his first Oakland homer leading off the eighth (obviously thinking it was Colorado), but was tagged with a deep fly out. The A’s would go 1, 2, 3 for the first time.
Seattle made a bid for an insurance run in the ninth, but a spectacular catch by Mark Ellis kept the run from scoring. The only inning Seattle would score in was the second, but it was enough to win the game.
The A’s had one last chance in the bottom of the ninth, but they went 1, 2, 3 again, saving the frustration of yet another runner left on base.
I hate when the A’s lose like this in front of a full crowd. I would think the A’s would like to make fans remember how much fun it is to win, so maybe the fans will come back. Not to mention, King Felix and Erik Bedard are on the hill for Seattle on Saturday and Sunday, so that is looming large the rest of the series.
But it’s baseball; and they scored 4 runs instead of last year’s 1 or 2, so that’s something to take away from this game; they easily could have scored 8.
Josh Outman makes his 2009 A’s debut against Felix Hernandez tomorrow at 1pm. Stay tuned!