The A's finally played a low-scoring, tight, well-pitched game, the type of game that we've all learned to love as A's fans; unfortunately, our beloved elephants were on the losing end of this one. Although the A's entered the game leading the league in runs, they were unable to muster even a single run against a trio of Tampa Bay pitchers that have seen little success this season (Jeremy Hellickson, Joel Peralta, and Fernando Rodney).
It's important to emphasize the one positive. Jarrod Parker seems to have put behind him the control issues that plagued him in the first three starts of the season. Although he only had 55 strikes out of 91 pitches, he made his pitches when he had to and generally looked like a different pitcher than what we saw the first few games. That being said, I think most would agree that Parker got away with a number of mistakes (as did Hellickson). The one mistake he didn't get away with: The solo shot by Matt Joyce in the second inning, on a 92 MPH fastball right down Broadway. Joyce managed to get it out, but just into the first row. As bad as that pitch was, in Oakland that's possibly just a double. However, in Tampa, that was was the difference in the game.
The most encouraging sign was that Parker was able to work out of jams. Most notably, he managed to load the bases in the bottom of the 5th but retired Zobrist on a weak grounder to first. The A's really needed Parker to go deep after the Brett Anderson debacle yesterday, and the A's fanbase needed to know that their stud pitchers were still somewhat stud-like. So, "moral victory" for Parker.
The A's lineup was anemic. The last hit they managed was in the 4th inning, a single by Seth Smith. In the 5th, Josh Reddick absolutely scorched a line drive, right to Yunel Escobar who caught it with a minimal hop. Escobar was able to double off Norris from first, and that was the end of the threat. That was one of many great defensive plays aided by the insane Tampa Bay shifting. The A's really did not produce any other offense following the 5th. Coco Crisp did reach on an error in the 9th, initiating the teAse (R) but of course, the "rally" fizzled out.
The only real disappointing result is that Sogard as the smart mathy nerd meme may be busted. In a classic bonehead maneuver, he got doubled off in the third inning when he forgot how many outs there were and kept running on a Coco Crisp fly ball.
On beard watch: Beard trimmed, similar results. Of course the #shavethebeard crowd will say Reddick didn't go far enough, and the dwindling #nevershave crowd will say his shave stifled his recovery. The jury is still deliberating.
Sometimes you just get beat. This was one of those days. Adding to that, the Golden State Warriors lost on a last-second layup by Andre Miller, making it a pretty weak day for Oakland teams. But on the positive, they did put up a fight, Parker's ERA is in single digits again, and most importantly there's baseball tomorrow.
Join us for Sunday brunch with the A's as they attempt to manatee at least one game of this series!