I don't think I've ever watched a game as poorly executed as tonight's circus show that was the Athletics' game.
Every facet of the game was horrible. The A's pitching staff gave up seven runs to the fifth-worst offense in baseball (by runs scored). The offense managed only two measly runs off of some of the Mariners' worst pitchers. And Oakland's defense committed four pathetic errors, each of which seemed to come at the worst possible times, accounting for two unearned runs.
This game was very ugly, and I'm sure that very few of us wish to relive it, so I will keep the recap brief. In the top of the first, Marcus Semien hit a one out single and stole second base. However, Josh Reddick and Billy Butler struck out swinging, and despite a wild pitch on strike three putting Butler on first base, Canha flew out to strand the runners. This set the stage for a pathetic bottom of the first. Robinson Cano, standing on second after a two-out single and a wild pitch, was driven in with Nelson Cruz's RBI double off of starter Jesse Hahn. After a walk to Kyle Seager, Logan Morrison hit a hard chopper right at Semien, who had Morrison shifted perfectly. The only problem was, Semien couldn't come up with the ball cleanly (error number one) and rushed a throw home (error number two), leading to a second Mariners run.
The A's stranded two more runners in the top of the second, and gave up another run courtesy of a Seth Smith RBI double. The A's finally showed a little life in the top of the fifth, as back-to-back two-out walks by Semien and Reddick set the stage for Billy Butler's RBI single. However, two more runners were stranded as Mark Canha struck out to end the threat. Never fear, though - the A's gave that run right back, and then some. After two singles put runners on first and second with one out, Brett Lawrie made a fantastic stop on a hard grounder by Nelson Cruz...and threw the ball into right field trying to start the double play. Two more runs scored, and Hahn barely escaped the inning without any more damage.
The A's got right back at it in the top of the sixth, as Coco Crisp stranded two more runners with the team's tenth offensive strikeout of the night. After Chris Taylor's one-out single in the bottom half of the frame, Hahn bounced a pick-off throw past Mark Canha for error number four on the night. After a walk to Seth Smith, Angel Castro made his major league debut, striking out the first batter he faced in Brad Miller. Robinson Cano followed that up with a chopper through the middle to knock in his team's sixth run.
Mark Canha made things a little bit interesting in the top of the eighth, smashing his fifth home run onto the concourse in left field. The A's followed this up by stranding two more runners, thanks to an Eric Sogard strikeout and a Coco Crisp bloop that Dustin Ackley made a nice sliding catch on. The bottom of the eighth got really strange - I honestly don't know what happened, as it all kind of mixed together. I do know that Chris Bassitt, Fernando Abad, and Dan Otero each got one out in a very long half-inning, somehow only allowing one run in the process. The A's went quietly in the ninth, stranding Marcus Semien after his leadoff single (his third hit of the night).
Yes, the A's were awful tonight. And, it's time to be blunt - the A's are not going to win the World Series this year. We all had hopes, but at this point it is about as likely as a Country Breakfast bunt single, or a Ryan Cook outing without a walk. However, the A's are not as bad as they played tonight, or in these last four games, for that matter. They will heat up and some point and make things interesting, possibly fighting for a wild card spot, possibly playing spoiler.
Some crazy trades will go down in the coming months. Old friends will be sent away, in favor of newer, younger faces. The youth on this team will continue to develop, flashing a glimpse every now and then of what the near future may hold. All is not over, A's fans. Things might not be working out as we all hoped, but no one person can be blamed for any of this. Nobody expected the bullpen ERA to be higher than a Rockies fan in the upper deck. Baseball is crazy, and unpredictable, and right now the ball just isn't bouncing in favor of the Oakland Athletics organization.
If you can't deal with that, fine. If you want to leave, leave. If you want to complain, complain. If you want to burn every copy of Moneyball you can find, go for it. But that's not what I'm going to do. I'm going to keep watching my team, the team that I love with every ounce of my heart, and keep hoping that they will find success, as a team and as individual players. I'll cringe at every error Semien makes, and yell at Lawrie every time he strikes out, but I'll stand by this team and root for them until I die. I hope you all will join me.
Tomorrow's game begins at 1:10 PST. Felix Hernandez looks to continue his career dominance over the Athletics, and Jesse Chavez looks to end his team's slide. Keep fighting, Oakland.