Happy Friday, everyone!
Good thing it's an early game; you still have the whole night to drink to forget the 2015 baseball season.Well, will you look at that. This game ended at the same time as a snappy Sonny Gray West Coast start. Unfortunately, this game was played all the way across the country on the east coast and started way back in the afternoon, starting Brad Miils instead.
Incidentally, when I was nosing around for a scouting report on tonight's starter, I was told he is "crappy with no upside". That's funny, because I feel like the 2015 Oakland Athletics and this whole season can be summed up with that tagline as well.
As you may or may not know, this game started out promisingly enough for the A's, as they built a grand-slam-sized lead for Mills before offering up six unanswered runs. We can't really be surprised by this, can we? On any given night, half of the A's bullpen is awful (and it's never the same half) their defense is suspect at best (sure, the A's were not technically charged for an error tonight, but that doesn't mean they made routine plays), their offense is great at scoring early and hiding for the rest of the game, parlaying seventeen hits into just the four early runs and the two in the ninth. They even lost the game at home plate; the Orioles threw out two runners at home and the A's threw out none, despite one awfully good chance.
Coco Crisp had a terrific night; notching four hits; three of them doubles, Mujica did his job; he didn't allow a run, Fernando Rodriguez pitched a perfect two innings of relief, Drew Pomeranz pitched a fantastic eleventh, twelfth, and nearly the thirteenth before he left injured. His replacement, Aaron Brooks, threw exactly two pitches to give Pomeranz the loss and end the game. (Seriously, there's not a better way to assign blame than the old W/L record?)
The A's got on the board early in the second inning with a two-out rally as Lawrie singled, Butler walked, and Coco singled in the first run of the game. If Billy Butler didn't run at the same speed as a garden snail, he would have scored their second run on the subsequent single by Semien. Instead, he was thrown out at the plate, as the catcher, you know, caught the ball and applied a tag. I adore Stephen Vogt and love his bat. But I think he's bordering on being a below-average catcher and he did his defensive highlight reel no favors in tonight's game. He also caught thirteen innings with the one glaring play, so maybe I'm too hard on him.
The A's added their second run in the fourth inning, again with two outs, as Butler singled, Crisp doubled (not scoring Butler for obvious garden snail reasons) and after Semien walked to load the bases, Burns unleashed his patented infield single. Butler scored on the play, but Crisp was thrown out at the plate soon after, likely assuming that even after bobbling the ball, Machado would throw to first. Instead, he wheeled around and threw home.
After Reddick doubled with one out in the fifth, Stephen Vogt hit a two-out, two-run home run that staked the A's to a 4-0 lead that would last almost exactly 3 minutes. Mills allowed a leadoff double and a ground out, but with a runner at third and one out, he induced Machado into a satisfying popup for the second out. He would have been fine if he hadn't hit the next batter. Okay, he still might have been fine. Except he grooved a pitch to Adam Jones that left the building. Not fine.
With the slim lead at 4-3, the A's sent Scribner out as a replacement. He pitched a perfect sixth and allowed a single in the seventh. His replacement, Abad, allowed an infield single and technically a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Burns caught the ball in center for the second out and rocketed the ball home to Vogt. The throw wasn't great, but it was catchable, and in plenty of time to tag the runner. Vogt didn't catch the ball, but he did tag the runner. I guess that's something. No, not something.
Of course, despite talking it over twice with Vogt, Abad grooved the hanging-ist hanger that ever hung and that was practically hit out of the ballpark itself for a booming home run to put the Orioles on top 6-4.
The only surprise in this one is that the A's came back. After two infield singles from Semien and Burns to start the ninth inning, the A's scored one run on a Phegley (pinch-hit) ground out and the tying run a Valencia single. Of course, both teams just treaded water for four more innings until the Orioles hit a home run. As absolutely expected.
And 2015 marches on. And on. Same time, same place tomorrow. Bassitt gets to have the fun tomorrow. We'll see you back here for all the action!