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Game #85: A's Turn Bassitt Into Hard-Luck Loser...Again

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Ho Hum. Another day, another A's loss, following a familiar script: A's jump to early lead (okay, a slim 1-0 lead courtesy of Sam Fuld's first home run of the season, but still, a lead), A's can't add on, other team ties game and takes the lead, A's can't score any more, A's lose. Bassitt was great today save for one HBP at the absolute worst time, the bullpen was perfect, and the defense was sparkling, but the A's offense--and most importantly, their running game--fell flat on its collective face as the A's were unable to score more than one run.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Good news: The A's broke up the multiple-game scoreless streak by Seattle starter Mike Montgomery and helped him to an early shower with two outs in the sixth inning.

Bad news: They broke up the streak by scoring just a single run; the only run they could plate today, as a combination of ill-timed poor at-bats, rally-killing double-plays, and a shocking lack of on-base movement led to the early termination of several promising innings.

If it's not one thing with the A's, it's another. The A's earn a disappointing split with the Seattle Mariners and stay in the basement where, really, they have shown that they belong, after they refuse to win a winable game while squandering an absolutely terrific outing by Chris Bassitt and wasting the best performance of the season by Fernando Rodriguez, who pitched 2+ perfect innings.

Despite what Eric Chavez believes; i.e. that Bassitt is missing a get-out pitch, needs another pitch in his arsenal, and isn't quite major-league ready, absolutely no one could have filled in for Sonny Gray more admirably than he, as Bassitt pitched another fantastic 5+ innings today; only a horrifying hit-by-pitch on Cano with two-strikes and two-outs led to the loss. I was surprised Nelson Cruz didn't just straight up homer to put the A's down 2-1, but instead, he would have to settle for a hard double, bringing up Seth Smith.

I'll just borrow from the game thread:

Nico:  Here's what I don't get...You don’t put Pomeranz in to face Smith, who doesn’t hit LHPs, in a key spot. But then you bring him in for one batter and take him out against a lineup that has 7 LH batters in it. This is the game to leverage Pomeranz: bring him in to face Smith and go 1.1 IP, then Rodriguez the 8th, Clippard the 9th. Pomeranz faces one batter, when the team is already behind. Talk about getting the least out of him.

Seth Smith's two-RBI single plated both Seattle runs, and just like that, Bassitt went from winner to loser. And let's be honest, a single from Seth Smith wasn't why the A's lost this game. Let's look a little deeper:

The A's scored their first run in the third inning on Sam Fuld's first home run of the year. Sam. Fuld. That should have been gravy; not the only run on the board.

Aside from the solo home run, the A's were shut down effectively in the first, second, third and fourth innings. It was the second half of the game that held all of the chances. After an overturned replay call at first put Mark Canha on base in the fifth inning, Marcus Semien singled him to third, putting runners at the corners with one out. Fuld hit the ball hard, but right into a 5-4-3 double-play to end the inning, and the A's best threat. Billy Burns opened the sixth with a single, a promising start, but he too was erased on a subsequent double-play, this time by Stephen Vogt, in a horrible at-bat, fouling off the first four pitches he saw. So while Billy Burns wasn't keen to run anyway, Vogt didn't give him any kind of a chance to run in that at-bat, which was pretty unacceptable in that circumstance. Because A's, Zobrist immediately doubled, a sure run had Vogt done anything else except erase Burns off the base-path. After Butler, in a lovely at-bat, walked, Montgomery was pulled, and Josh Reddick was called on to pinch-hit for Josh Phegley. And struck out.

Brett Lawrie opened the seventh inning with a single of his own, and didn't move from first base. Which meant, of course, that Canha erased him in the subsequent double-play. Baseball doesn't get much more frustrating than this. After a weak eighth inning and after two outs in the ninth, Josh Reddick scrambled for an infield single to keep the A's hopes alive. After Ike Davis--pinch-hitting for Lawrie, in a move I didn't much like--walked to put two on, Canha grounded out to end the game.

It's a shame, because the A's made half a dozen wonderful defensive plays behind their pitchers, Bassitt had such a strong start, and the bullpen was so good. Maybe in another 30 games, they'll be able to put it all together.

So the A's close the home stand with a disappointing 4-6 record and head to New York as Sonny Gray returns to the mound against the Yankees on Tuesday night. I'll see you right here with all the action at 4:05.

How about soccer? Anyone?