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Game #122: Four Braves Homers Sink Lifeless A's

Well, I wish I had better news, but I don't. The A's lost again tonight, with very little fight doing it, and with the inevitable Angels' win right around the corner, their lead will be a single game very shortly. The pitching was bad, the baserunning was bad, the offense was bad, the defense was bad, and they got four-hit, and lost 7-2. Shall I continue?

If you had the distinct pleasure of missing tonight's game, just go continue on with your night. There's no need. The A's are barely going through the motions in the games lately, and tonight was no exception. Remember Spring Training? When you looked at the starting lineup, and you were all, "Aw crap, split squad? All the good players are playing somewhere else?" That was exactly how the lineup looked tonight, with the added bits of irony that I was the most down on Freiman starting and he ended up providing the only speck of offense in another abysmal day of being four-hit and of course, that all the good players were in the game, or were Moss and Vogt and were on the bench. Four. Hit.

Also, Jason Hammel sucks. His last start was encouraging only in the sense that he finally didn't take a loss, but again today, he gave up three home runs to the Braves in three innings. Three home runs. Six hits. Five earned runs. You can only imagine how much fun this one was to watch for the fans. If I'm running the team, this was Hammel's last start. Chavez and his tired arm can't be worse. I actually feel confidant in promising that.

As far as promising signs of a team that is about to break out, whatever is the opposite of that phenomenon is explains the A's first few innings.

Coco Crisp recorded the first out of the game in his 0-4 effort. Tonight will be a night Coco would be best served to forget; not only was he blanked on offense, but it looked like he was having trouble seeing the ball for at least the first three innings today. He got a bad jump on a ball in the third that would drop for a single, he never picked up the subsequent home run ball, so no valiant effort was made on a catch, and he flat-out dropped a ball for a ground-rule double later in the inning. I say this as merely an afterthought, actually, because there are only so many times you want to write, "Hammel was just plain terrible today" in a recap.

Alex Wood took some time to find the strike zone, walking both Gomes and Donaldson with one out in the very first inning. Then something unexplainable happened; unexplainable, that is, unless you've watched the A's this month. With Norris batting and the two on, Gomes failed to get his hand back on the base during a pick-off move and was, well, picked off. With one out. In scoring position. And Norris at the plate. On a team that can't hit the broad sign of a barn right now. Gomes' out was the second of the inning, and of course Norris singled to rub some salt in that wound but good, and Freiman weakly grounded back to the pitcher. I mean, I would say that Hammel took a better swing in his one at-bat, but Freiman is literally the only offense for the A's today, so again, can I just pick on Hammel?

After missing a great scoring chance in the first inning, Hammel actually pitched a 1-2-3 first, probably surprising the Braves, before they realized that he was their super-fun Home Run Derby pitcher. Upton and Gattis both homered for the Braves in the second, on pitches that looked for all the world that were laid out there on tees. Down 2-0, the A's rallied back in the third, just kidding, no they didn't. Hammel wasn't content to lose 2-0, so he gave up a single, single and another home run, racking up the score to 5-0.

Derek Norris doubled and Nate Freiman homered in the fourth to cut the score to 5-2, and that was the extent of the A's offense. Well, except for another great play on the bases. The A's last baserunner of the game was in the fourth, as Callaspo singled after the home run, was moved to second on a ground out, and then simply forgot how many outs were in the inning. Parrino hit a routine fly ball to right, and Callaspo jogged to third...and was doubled up, because, of course, there was but a single out recorded. Yeah, so that was fun too. And I'd like to reiterate; that was the last time there was an A's player on base.

Chavez did some long work, giving up a home run of his own, but no one cared or remembered. The A's would have lost 5-2 if they didn't lose 7-2. It was ugly, it was costly, and no one wants to spend another minute on this one. Go enjoy your Friday night!