Well the boost of energy that many A's fans were hoping for with a new face in the dugout has yet to transpire. And many of the things that plagued the team in the pre-Melvin era- anemic offense, sloppy glovework, and yes, questionable handling of the pitching staff by the manager- were evident this afternoon, a 5-3 loss to the White Sox that marked the A's 12th defeat in 13 games.
First, the offense, which through the first six innings can be summed up in two words: Coco Crisp. The A's leadoff hitter started things off in the first with a single- the 1000th knock of his career- stole second base, took third on a single by Cliff Pennington, and scored on Hideki Matsui's sacrifice fly.
The A's would go in order the next four innings before Crisp led off the sixth with a double, and eventually scored on a groundout by Ryan Sweeney.
Meanwhile the three runs scored by the White Sox up to that point came courtesy of a monster homerun by Adam Dunn in the fourth. Other teams have guys that can alter games with one swing. The A's have to work for everything they get.
For the most part, anyway. Not so in the seventh inning when Scott Sizemore jumped on a hanging breaking ball to tie the game at three with a solo homerun. Alas, the A's new third baseman gave it right back in the bottom half. Starter Guillermo Moscoso sandwiched a pair of walks around a pop-out, thus ending his day after facing one batter two many, and Grant Balfour came on to induce a grounder to third off the bat of Carlos Quentin. Rather than get the sure out at first, Sizemore opted for second instead and threw wide of the bag past a diving Jemile Weeks, allowing Mark Teahen to trot home with lead run. Paul Konerko hit the very next pitch into left field for an RBI-single that proved to be the winning run.
The A's closed within 5-4 in the ninth but the teA'se ended on bang-bang play with Coco Crisp being called out at first base. In Oakland, even when you're safe, you're out. It was a fitting end to a tumultuous road trip, in which the A's won only once in ten tries, made a managerial move, and lost another starting pitcher to injury. Tomorrow's day off cannot come soon enough.