It's really tough to be mad at losses anymore. Really, all I ask is that there are a few decent individual performances from young players. I've made peace with the A's losing. They're going to lose often in the next two months and that's fine, that's by design. There's no use in being the best team to not make the playoffs.
But man, they don't have to make it so painful. I have no idea why the A's can't simply just lose like a normal bad team – they have to find a way to get your hopes up and make it hurt. Losing via walk-off home runs twice in two days is a absolutely stellar way to make it hurt.
One sidenote – it feels like the A's have been walked off fairly often this year, but that's not really true. This was only their fourth walk-off loss of the year. The Braves and the Dodgers have both been walked off eight times. That's mainly because the A's, despite having the shakiest of shaky bullpens, had some pretty fantastic ninth inning work from Tyler Clippard in the first half. Now that's he's gone, maybe the floodgates are opening. Fun!
But there were some great individual performances today – and like I said, I care more about that than the team record at this point. Chris Bassitt wasn't quite as dominant as he's been in the past, but he was still pretty dang good.
He went eight innings with six strikeouts, one walk, and three earned runs allowed. All three of those runs came via the long ball – a two-run shot by Chris Davis (boo, hiss), and a solo homer by Gerardo Parra in the 6th inning. The excellent pitching was a huge surprise and achievement, considering this:
Bassitt was pitching while feeling pretty awful. Overheated early with heat and humidity, couldn't keep liquids down.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 16, 2015
If this is how he pitches when he's dehydrated, overheated, and sick... jeez, man.
It's just another mark in his résumé. Bassitt has been maybe the biggest and most welcome surprise of the season, and today confirmed that. He's a great pitcher and a fantastic find for this organization.
Meanwhile, the offense was good... for a while. Billy Burns lead off the game with a triple and was driven in with a RBI groundout from Mark Canha. Both Josh Reddick and Sam Fuld (!!!) hit solo home runs in the third – a welcome infusion of power from a club that has terminally lacked it lately. That's all the A's would get, thanks largely to one Billy Butler.
In the fifth inning, Miguel Gonzalez lost it. He just absolutely lost his command, and ended up walking three in a row with one out. Unfortunately, that lead to Billy Butler coming up with the bases loaded and one out. And, in the most predictable thing that has ever happened, he grounded into a double play. On a 1-0 pitch from a pitcher struggling mightily with his control.
I don't want to say Billy Butler is a completely sunk cost without any hope of revitalization, but he is the fourth worst position player in baseball by fWAR, so...
Pat Venditte came in for the ninth inning, and looked great! Unfortunately, Chris Davis is a monster. He somehow hit this pitch out for a walk-off home run with two outs.
That's a good nine inches below the strikezone. Chris Davis is, uh, pretty strong. That was not a bad pitch, and that was not Venditte's fault at all. Chris Davis is just really good. And really mean. Boo, Chris Davis.
Anyway, I don't mind losses. I just wish the A's would take a little mercy and make them less awful to watch.