If you like maddening, frustrating, leave-a-bad-taste-in-your-mouth games, this was a humdinger. Playing a bad team? Check. Aforementioned bad team gives you a crooked number of runs in one inning? Check. Your starting pitcher leaves with a two-run lead? Check. Things are lining up for a fifth win in a row? Check. Terrible team suddenly rebounds to the tune of five homeruns? Check. Said homeruns turn a sure win into a horrible loss? Check...and...check.
It is not without a certain amount of irony that the one strength I thought the A's had going into the season--the bullpen--has turned out to be one of its weakest links, and that's saying a lot, considering the offense this teams puts out day after day. There are a number of things that went wrong in tonight's loss, but it is worth noting that although the A's did "score" six runs, they only scored in one inning, and some of those runs were courtesy of the Orioles' defense.
Trailing the game 3-0 (thanks entirely to Adam Jones), the A's came to bat in the top of the fourth inning, looking for some runs. Sweeney swingled the first run in; Gross (who was playing for Cust on the strength of his 5 for 7 career totals against Millwood) singled in the second, and Mark Ellis stole home to tie the game. (Okay, he actually ran on a ball four count, but it worked.) Wasting no time, the blazing-hot Coco Crisp (who inexplicably bunted in the third inning) blasted a 3-run homerun to put the A's up 6-3. They should have been able to make that work.
Ben Sheets gave the A's six shaky innings in his start; allowing three earned runs (four total), seven hits, and three walks in the process. But great pitching performance or not, the point remains: He left the game with a 6-4 lead, and pitched well enough to give the A's a win.
Needless to say, the bullpen did not.
A struggling Brad Ziegler relieved Sheets in the seventh, and after recording a strikeout, he walked a lefty and gave up a game-tying bomb to Ty Wigginton. He was promptly replaced by Bowers, who gave up his own homerun to Luke Scott to untie the game. Tyson Ross, not to be outdone, gave up his own 2-run homerun to Tejada in the eighth, and before you could even ask what in the heck happened to the game, the A's had lost.
What has happened to the bullpen? How can we lose to the Orioles? Why can't we score a run in multiple innings?
And Bengie Molina just got traded to the Rangers.
Hopefully I will see all of you at tomorrow's event; come out for some drinks! We can talk about the game while watching together.
3 game series vs Orioles @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards
WP: Vin Mazzaro (3 - 2)
SV: Andrew Bailey
LP: Brian Matusz (2 - 9)
|4 - 2 win|
WP: Matt Albers (3 - 3)
SV: Alfredo Simon
LP: Cedrick Bowers (0 - 1)
|6 - 9 loss|