I don't know why, but it always seems like weird things happen in Texas. There was an ejection. There were four errors, two by each team. But costliest of all for the time being, the A's lost four players to injury, then they lost the game 5-4. The damages:
* Nomar Garciaparra looked like he re-aggravated the calf issue that has bothered him
* Mark Ellis also injured a calf getting out of the batter's box
* Brett Anderson had to leave in the sixth inning with what appeared to be a blister on one of his fingers
* Santiago Casilla tweaked something in his hip or leg during a pitch
With the errors added in (Orlando Cabrera let one go through the legs and Jason Giambi looked like he got a tough one on a shot), four of the five runs the A's allowed were unearned. Texas also made a pair and Kevin Millwood was not as effective as he'd been to start the season (10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) but the decision to let him pitch until his arm falls off - 121 more today after averaging 113 a game so far - helped him get the win when Nelson Cruz hit a single to left that Matt Holliday couldn't come up with cleanly, helping ensure Hank Blalock would score without a throw.
Prior to leaving the game, Anderson was having a fine start for the A's. His only real blemish had been a run in the first that might not have even reached base if he didn't try to field Michael Young's ball down the third base line. It seemed like it could have gone foul.
For a little while it didn't look like the run would matter as Anderson, born in Midland, TX, looked very good from the second to fifth innings before the A's took no precautions in the sixth when the blister popped up. Andrew Bailey had problems finding the plate, and though Chris Davis was ejected after arguing a bad call on a high strike three, Jarrod Saltalamacchia came through with a two-run single. Anderson ended up with 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB (one charged to him that Bailey finished off) and 5 SO in 5+ innings.
The A's had tied it in the third courtesy of an error on Ian Kinsler, then scored two more in the fifth thanks to consecutive singles by Cabrera (3-for-4 tonight) and Giambi. After coughing up the lead in the sixth, Ryan Sweeney (3 runs) tied it right back up with his first homer of the season leading off the seventh. Casilla worked the bottom of the inning and started the eighth but had to be replaced by Michael Wuertz. Blalock got aboard on Giambi's error, making it to second, and the single by Cruz was the deciding factor in a sloppy game. The A's went down 1-2-3 in the ninth against Frank Francisco and that was it.
Now the A's are probably faced with a number of decisions to make. Word is Eric Chavez may be ready to return but the way it's been going it's only a matter of time before he does something again, whether it's on a throw to first or another reason. It's probably best to shut down Garciaparra to let his calf fully heal. The A's can't keep sending injured players out to play third base and hope to just make it through each game without having to replace them. Now with Ellis out as well, there's no telling how much time he'll miss yet.
We could be looking at the possibility of seeing people like Eric Patterson or Jeff Baisley, to name a couple, or we may wind up seeing Bobby Crosby and Jack Hannahan getting more playing time. Either way, prospects don't look good on offense or defense under any of these scenarios. Sean Doolittle is looking very good in Sacramento but the injuries the A's have don't make it likely that he'd be brought up yet. He hasn't played third base and right now Giambi's hanging in there. Having Crosby or Landon Powell backing him up isn't ideal but it's not their most pressing issue.
As for Anderson, it's too early to say how long the blister will keep him out. They can go away quickly or they can linger for a while. It's also too soon to tell what the situation will be with Casilla, especially lacking a complete diagnosis yet. Maybe we'll see Sean Gallagher return (I believe there are no restrictions on time spent in the minors when a recall is necessary due to using the DL) and Jerry Blevins could be in the mix. There are others down there they could turn to on a short-term basis, but when you add it all up the A's could be hurting in more ways than one for the next couple weeks or more. We may be seeing numerous moves before the A's fly to Seattle.
Tomorrow it's Josh Outman against Vicente Padilla. In case you missed the news Trevor Cahill has been pushed back to Saturday, giving him some more time to work on things in another bullpen session. The fact he pitched well against the Mariners in Oakland earlier this month probably factored into the decision as well.
Overall, a very bad night for the A's. Only in Texas.