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A's Attempt To Sweep Angels Is A Fundamental Failure

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For all the hoopla over hits and diving catches, baseball often comes down to the details in between. In the bottom of the 1st, Mark Ellis had a Bobby Abreu ground ball glance off his glove into short CF. Both he and Pennington went to 2B to cover, while Rajai Davis just stood there like he thought he was Jack Cust getting a 2-strike fastball down the middle. 3 players, all of whom could easily have gone after the ball and held Abreu at 1B, none did. This became even more important when Torii Hunter hit a crisp DP ball to Pennington, but with Abreu at 2B, not at 1B. Singles by Vlad Guerrero and Kendry Morales would give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the 3rd, a single by Eric Patterson and a double by Cliff Pennington put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Rajai Davis hit a bouncer to 3B. If both Patterson and Pennington both hold, it's 2nd & 3rd with one out, and Daric Barton's subsequent grounder to 1B scores a run. If they both go, then Figgins has to concede Pennington going to 3B in order to cut down Patterson at the plate -- or he can tag Pennington out and allow a run to score. But the A's played it all wrong: Patterson came to the plate, cut down pretty easily, while Pennington held at 2nd. Suddenly, the A's didn't even have a runner at 3B with less two out, nor a run on the board, and they would come up empty in the inning.

Even in the 7th, when the A's, now trailing 5-0, put the first 5 men on base to chase Joe Saunders, with 3 runs in Oakland had 1st & 3rd with nobody out but for the second time in the game, could not get that runner at 3rd home. That's partly because Eric Patterson thought he'd try to bunt on Darren Oliver, but he popped the bunt up to Figgins. After 5 hitters in a row have reached base, you can't hand the other team an out by popping a bunt up. Especially not when you're Eric Patterson, and don't exactly have your defensive skills, your terrific eye, or your HR power to fall back on. Rajai Davis bounced into a DP to end that frame, and would later bounce out to end the game -- and end his hitting streak at 14 games.

Hey, down 5-0 in the 7th, the A's battled again and got as close as 5-4 and that's good. But just with some fundamental play -- the ability to, you know, go get a ball that's rolling nearby, the ability to get runners home from 3rd with nobody out -- we might be celebrating a series sweep right about now. Instead, it's onto Seattle for the A's last off-day tomorrow...and then Felix Hernandez on Tuesday night.