The Athletics were quickly reminded that their bullpen renaissance will have to wait for next year as the A's fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-7. The A's came back from a 3-2 deficit with a four-run seventh inning, but Fernando Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz, and Dan Otero combined to allow five runs in the bottom half of that inning.
The 7th inning of the A's-Dodgers game took 1 hour and 43 seconds to play.— Bill Arnold (@sfgwire) July 30, 2015
The difficulty was that Jesse Chavez was I suppose not impressive enough to give him a third plate appearance tonight without the designated hitter. There were two out in the top of the sixth inning, however, and he was only up to 79 pitches. Chavez had given up three runs, including a two-run home run to Yasiel Puig in the fourth inning, and he had a lot of traffic on the bases throughout.
Let's talk about bullpen usage here. Fernando Abad was the only effective reliever tonight, so it's not like Bob Melvin could have done anything for the bullpen to give up nothing. But one thing Bob Melvin might have considered was, with Dan Otero warmed in the bottom of the seventh inning, removed Drew Pomeranz for the game when right-haned batting pinch hitter Kiké Hernandez came to the plate. Pomeranz has not been good against righties this year, and Hernandez enters tonight's game with a career split of .301/.373/.507 in 83 plate appearances against left-handers.
The counter-move, upon bringing in Dan Otero, would have been for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to bring in left-handed batter Carl Crawford or switch-hitter Alberto Callaspo. Carl Crawford hit righties in 2014 at a .295/.330/.415 clip, but this year he has been lightly used and is hitting .226/.241/.366 against right-handers in 54 plate appearances. Callaspo, of course, has hit nobody for a long time, and this year is .245/.333/.296 in 184 plate appearances against righties.
But Pomeranz faced Hernandez with the game in the balance, having already conceded consecutive base hits. Hernandez doubled, two runs scored, and the Dodgers never looked back.
Some A's offense
The A's did manage to out-hit the Dodgers 13 to 12 and scored more than five runs for just the second time this July.
Brett Lawrie was tonight's star with his first career four-hit game, earning nine total bases and hitting a ninth inning solo home run. He had four runs batted in and scored three runs, with a stolen base for good measure.
Josh Reddick would be the second star of the night, playing because left-hander Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his start due to hip soreness. Reddick was 3-for-5 and stole third base twice tonight, he scored one run.
Stephen Vogt seemed rather lost at the plate this evening. He managed just a first inning walk in his 0-for-4 night that included a 4-6-3 double play and two swinging strikeouts. Vogt is now 0-for-his-last-13, 13-for-74 (.176) in July, and has just one home run this month.
So now what?
Well, I suppose you can say this is the sort of performance we have to look forward to for the rest of the year. They won't all look like this. Sometimes we'll manage to pair our seven-run efforts with a good start from the backend starter. Sometimes we won't score at all and give up 10 runs anyway.
For the first time since 2011, we're going into August waiting for next year. The pitchers will change and perhaps some of the fellows in the lineup will too. For now though, we just have to wait.
More baseball tomorrow as the Indians visit the Coliseum. First pitch is at 7:05. Wednesday night, however, it's the Los Angeles Dodgers 10, the Oakland A's 7.