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Game #99: Zobrist maximizes trade value, A's lose 2-1

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If you expected a win out of this game, that's on you.

Really, what did you expect out of a Bassitt/Bumgarner matchup? With Billy Burns on the bench? This game was marked up as a loss from the get-go.

Actually, I'm pretty satisfied with how this game turned out. Wins are meaningless at this point – if you haven't given up on your dreams of a miraculous comeback yet, I don't know what to tell you. The A's front office has waved the white flag, their best position player has one foot out the door, the team isn't playing with any sort of passion or drive. This is fine – this is the right move when you're 11 games below .500. But it also means we have a solid two months of games like this to get through, and you're going to have to find silver linings.

And hey, tons of silver linings today!

The A's looked remarkably competent at the plate, considering the fact that they only scored one run. It could've easily been more if you look at the quality of contact made and the uniformly good at-bats against Madison Bumgarner. The A's got severely BABIP'd – Marcus Semien and Billy Butler were both robbed of doubles by spectacular plays in the 5th inning. Sam Fuld had the same thing happen in the 7th inning. Both of these were opportunities to start rallies, both of these were nipped in the bud by excellent defense from the Giants.

The only hitter who could get anything going was Ben Zobrist, who is just about on his way out.

Man, it's such a shame we finally got Zobrist, the perennial A's target, the platonic ideal of the "A's-y guy", for this awful season. But it is what it is. He's peaking at the right time, he's allaying any fears about declining offense or injury, and that's going to help the team going forward. That's valuable, and that's worth celebrating even if no wins come from it.

Ben Zobrist: forever an A in my heart. Pouring some out for you, homie.

He ended up with a triple, double, single, and walk – going 3-3 in all. That walk came in the 8th inning, ruining his chance to get the cycle.

Boo, Giants, boooooooooo.

Jake Smolinski also looked good, showing off the gun by throwing out Brandon Crawford trying to leg out a double. Smolinski is another player to watch in the second half, an untapped ball of potential who is starting to look like one of Beane's signature trash-heap pickups. Even if he just hits lefties, that's pretty dang valuable considering we acquired him for literally nothing.

The other good thing to come out of the game is the emergence of Chris Bassitt, legitimate MLB starting pitcher. He looked genuinely good today in a way that he hasn't before. Bassitt's been getting good results, but he's only looked good sporadically – a fantastic strikeout on a 97 MPH fastball would be followed with a warning track flyball on a 92 MPH fastball down the middle.

He looked good today. Just genuinely good. Four strikeouts, no walks, the only real mistake coming on a 3-2 pitch to Madison Bumgarner. Because of course, Madison Bumgarner would hit a home run against us. That's destiny.

He also threw potentially the best pitch any player on the A's has thrown this year:

Just completely unfair.

***

This is what it's going to come down to for the end of the season – finding the silver linings and individual performances that inspire hope for 2016. It's been a while since we've last watched a losing team, and it's going to take a while to relearn how to do that. As far as I'm concerned, this was a pretty good game. Although it's tough to feel good when you lose to the Giants.

Boo, Giants, boooooooooooooooooooo.