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Game #88: Tanaka dominates the A's, Yankees win 6-2

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The A's manage three meager hits against Masahiro Tanaka and co. as the Yankees take the rubber match, 6-2.

The A's second to last hit came in the second inning. I think that's bad.
The A's second to last hit came in the second inning. I think that's bad.
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

In every non-playoff season, you can point to a day where the year really ended. With the benefit of hindsight, you can point to opening day, but without said benefit, you can point to today. The A's played like a 100 loss team, doing almost nothing right, catching 0 breaks, and doing nothing to deserve a win. Adios, 2015.

Hey, here's a hilarious tweet from earlier.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Don’t count the Oakland Athletics out of a the postseason just yet <a href="http://t.co/MX1G4rYnfX">http://t.co/MX1G4rYnfX</a></p>&mdash; Outside Pitch MLB (@OPSN_MLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/OPSN_MLB/status/619218158549889028">July 9, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Things didn't start off horribly for the A's. After a 7 pitch top of the first (seriously, someone learn to take a pitch), Jesse Chavez took the hill in the bottom of the frame. With one out, recently named All-Star, and fivehead owner Brett Gardner took Jesse deep to right. It wasn't quite the pathetic shot Mark Teixiera hit yesterday, a homerun that only leaves three stadiums, but it wasn't a blast either. I think in most stadiums it's a double, and with the subsequent hitters both getting out, maybe the A's escape the inning unscathed if that ball doesn't get out. Regardless, in the joke that is Yankee Stadium, it was a homerun and the A's were down 1-0.

The A's would get it back in the second, however. Leading off, Josh Reddick reached on a catcher's interference call, probably the one break the A's got today. Billy Butler followed with a scorching double to left on a great swing, keeping up the decent stretch of hitting we've seen from the "slugger" lately. Reddick scored from first on Butler's knock, tying the game. After an Ike Davis walk and a Brett Lawrie GIDP, Mark Canha launched a double to right center, plating Butler, the go ahead run. Just like that, the A's were up 2-1, and looking and feeling good.

It didn't last long, however. The Yankees tied the game at 2's in the bottom of the third, thanks to a Jacoby Ellsbury walk and back to back singles by Gardner and Teixeira, with an equal dose of weak range by Ben Zobrist. It was an inning that could have turned disastrous, but, Chavez escaped the jam with the lone run scoring, in spite of it all coming with 0 outs.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jesse Chavez walked Stephen Drew with one out. Stephen Drew is hitting .181, but whatever. Cole Figueroa followed with a double down the right field line moving Drew to third. If the ball was fair, it was not fair by more than a quarter inch. Melvin, Vogt, and Chavez all argued the call, which on replay looked inconclusive, and due to a rule which shouldn't exist, can't actually be reviewed by the umpires. Why can't that be reviewed, you ask? Take it away, Jeremy!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/teckertfong">@teckertfong</a> make that determination because often the ball is in mid-air. You&#39;d need an overhead angle. It&#39;s a waste of time to review.</p>&mdash; Jeremy F. Koo (@jfkooAN) <a href="https://twitter.com/jfkooAN/status/619215126755938304">July 9, 2015</a></blockquote>

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On the very next play, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right on an even more questionable call proving that yes, it does get worse. Both Drew and Figeuroa scored, giving the Yankees an insurmountable 2 run lead.

Maybe there's an alternate universe where both those balls are called foul, and the A's escape the inning tied at 2. Maybe Jesse Chavez stays in the game longer, pitching a gem and eases my heart palpitations. The A's had some pretty bad luck that inning, no matter your view on the topic. But even if those plays break the A's way, the team did 0 the rest of the game to deserve a win. Should those balls be called foul rather than fair, we're probably still watching in the 16th inning, the A's still with 3 pathetic hits. I'm sure Evan Scribner would give up the walkoff homerun while Didi Gregorious is trying to bunt Stephen Drew to second base or something. So in a way, thanks for ending our misery, baseball gods.

After a rough June, Jesse Chavez continued his struggles today, with an outing that looks worse on paper. The homerun wasn't a blast, the other runs scored on questionable calls. Still, Jesse didn't look sharp, threw too many balls, and couldn't put guys away. Look for his endurance to be a major storyline come the second half.

From that point till the ninth, the A's managed a single baserunner as, get this, Billy Butler reached on a dropped third strike. Masahiro Tanaka dominated the A's, a team who looked like they were told splitters existed two minutes before first pitch. Tanaka continually used his best pitch to make hitters look foolish, inducing weak contact and strikeouts on predictable pitches in predictable locations. Good thing I didn't write about how much I like this lineup! Oh.

If you count Butler's reaching as an out, Tanaka retired the final 19 batters he faced in a thorough domination of the A's lineup. With weak at bats and 7 pitch innings, the memories of yestermonths offensive outbursts are fading fast.

To wrap up this horrible day, the A's gave up 2 in the eighth on, get this, a Semien error. With runners on second and third, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a groundball to Semien, who fielded it nicely and unleashed a nasty two seamer, pulling Ike Davis off the bag at first. Ike did a horrible job with the throw, deciding to do none of catching the ball, tagging the runner with said invisible ball, or keeping his foot on the bag, all of which he probably could have done. Mostly though, it was a bad throw on a routine play, on an otherwise fine defensive day by the A's timid shortstop.

If you're looking for positives, the A's pen was beyond solid today, with Fernando Abad, Eric O'Flaherty, and Fernando Rodriguez allowing 0 earned runs in three innings. All three looked solid. Who knows, maybe the bullpen will stop ruining our days in the second half.

Bleh. Oakland Athletic players, you've got 21 days to bust up that trade value. Get to it.