The tone of tonight's game was set from the first batter. Upton popped up with what should have been the first out, but four A's fielders were unable to catch the ball in foul territory. I could be generous and excuse them for the dome, but I won't. Catch the ball! Of course, the very next pitch was smoked for a double.
So the Rays have a runner on second and no one out. Then something great happens for the A's. They get the runner dead picked off at second; Mazzaro making the perfect throw, and Cabrera just doesn't catch the ball. The ball sailed into center field; the run was driven in on the next pitch, and the A's were down 1-0. They would never recover. Mazzaro would give up two additional earned runs in his five innings (to go with 7 hits), but he never had a chance. Here's why:
First inning: Kennedy grounds out to pitcher. Cabrera singles. Hairston pops to first. Holliday walks. Cust lines out to first.
Second Inning: Suzuki strikes out swinging. Giambi strikes out swinging. Sweeney flies out to left.
Third inning: Ellis lines out to right. Kennedy strikes out looking. Cabrera grounds out to second.
Four inning: Hairston singles. Holliday strikes out swinging. Cust walks. Suzuki grounds into FC. Giambi grounds out to second.
FIfth inning: Sweeney grounds out to first. Ellis pops out to second. Kennedy pops out to third.
Sixth inning: Cabrera singles. Hairston strikes out swinging. Holliday lines out to right. Cust singles. Suzuki grounds into FC.
Seventh inning: Giambi strikes out swinging. Sweeney singles. Ellis grounds into double play.
Eighth inning:Kennedy grounds out to first. Cabrera flies out to left. Hairston pops out to third.
Ninth inning: Holliday pops up to third. Custs grounds out to second. Suzuki singles. Giambi walks. Sweeney reaches on FC. Ellis grounds out to end game.
Our offense is terrible. Literally unwatchable.
It's almost not worth commenting on the bullpen work, but I'll give it a shot anyway. It's the sixth inning, and the A's are down by 3 runs. With the bullpen rested, Geren elected to pitch Casilla and his 6.52 ERA in what was actually a close game at the time. Casilla uncorked a two-out wild pitch to give the Rays their fourth run, and allowed a homerun in the next inning for their fifth. Gio Gonzalez (who won't be starting this weekend) gave up the sixth run in relief of Casilla, and Jeff Gray pitched a scoreless eighth.
The difference between 3-0 and 6-0 is this: in the ninth inning, the A's loaded the bases. A double ties the game. A homerun (however unlikely) gives the A's the lead. The key to having a chance in a game--any game--is to not dig yourself a hole that you can't climb out of with one swing of the bat.
It's not that the A's didn't get breaks either. There were a handful of calls that I thought the A's got lucky on; including a pretty clear missed call in the ninth.
I'm tired of defending this team. I'm tired of feeling like I care more than the team does. I'm tired of no offense. I'm tired of rookie pitchers wasting starts every time out. I'm tired of losing baseball games.
We do it again tomorrow, but BRADEN'S BACK!
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