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Hammel, Rockies Humble A's, 4-2

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I could go on the kind of tirade The Manager should, but chances are The Manager will give the usual "I was happy we fought back late in the game" line, or a variation of it.

What The Manager should actually do point to the fact that if not for two more errors (the A's have now made six in their last three games) this game could still be going on instead of us talking about a lackluster 4-2 loss that once again featured a late tease.

 

Things got off to a bad start right away as the second hitter of the game, Ryan Spilborghs, reached on a throwing error by Jack Hannahan, who bounced one Daric Barton couldn't pick. He'd score on a double by Garrett Atkins, who came into the game batting .216. Then in the fifth, Dallas Braden forgot about the speed of Dexter Fowler on a bunt, pausing to glance toward second long enough that his throw to first may or may not have pulled Barton's foot off the bag. Either way, Fowler was called safe, an error was credited to Braden, and it came back to hurt them on a two-run single inside third base by Todd Helton and a single by Atkins, who had three hits to raise his average to .226.

Meanwhile, Jason Hammel had very little trouble with the Oakland offense. This is no real surprise but apart from two doubles by Matt Holliday and a walk to Jason Giambi, nobody else did a thing against him until a Kurt Suzuki homer in the seventh. After that walk to Giambi in the fourth, Suzuki lined out to left and Holliday, who'd been running on the pitch, was easily doubled off second. Hammel would pitch into the eighth before the Colorado bullpen made things a little, ahem, rocky, but Suzuki fouled out with the bases loaded after a walk to Giambi forced in a run. Although Huston Street took one off the right arm in the ninth, he pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save.

Braden was neither very good nor very bad tonight but the mistakes were what hurt them the most and he couldn't limit the damage. It could've been worse in the sixth when Clint Barmes, the first hitter Brad Ziegler faced, lifted a pop fly to right field. Jack Cust and Adam Kennedy both converged on it before it fell next to Cust. It was another example of poor communication and confusion leading to a ball dropping that had no business not being an out, but Ziegler was able to get out of it and at least give the A's a chance to mount some kind of comeback without it really turning into a blowout. Craig Breslow, Santiago Casilla and Andrew Bailey worked a perfect inning apiece to close out the pitching line for the A's. I'd questioned using Bailey tonight but hadn't realized the last time he got into a game was on the 20th. In that case I understand getting him an inning.

In the end it's just another uninspiring loss by a team that shows very little to get excited about apart from a brief rally or two at some point in the game. They went down 1-2-3 five times and left a total of six runners on base, half of them in the eighth. They only had 4 ABs with runners in scoring position, coming up empty each time (the Rockies were 3-for-11 in theirs). Colorado got what they needed early and kept their lead, making it 18 wins in 21 games. It wasn't pretty at times but in the end the only thing that matters is the final score, not how you arrive at it. When sloppy play contributes to another loss, that IS going to stand out as a problem.