In an eight hour ordeal of a game, the bullpen lost it, again. This should surprise no one, and if you're rooting for the tank at this point (a perfectly valid opinion!), this is the best outcome. Pretty much everyone else played well and the offense looked good.
Yeah, the bullpen lost the game for the A's. We all ready knew most of the bullpen was unsalvageable, so who cares that they proved it again? Wins and losses are meaningless, and I was pretty okay with how this game turned out.
Besides, the Astros are infinitely more likable than the Angels or the Rangers. I can deal with a loss to them.
And the offense did look good! Jake Smolinski had a stellar game, and got the A's on the board with a solo homer in the second inning. He's looked good, and certainly has a future on the team - even if it's just as a platoon OF, that's a useful player to have. Marcus Semien followed with a solo homer in the fourth, and Mark Canha collected an RBI single that knocked Scott Kazmir out of the game.
Those are all names you should be looking for in the box score. It matters to this team long term if these guys hit, and that should be the takeaway from this game. The guys who the A's are basing their future on played well! That's good news!
Well, everyone except for Sonny Gray. Whoops. His awful September continued tonight. His velocity was up - he sat 92-93 most of the night - but he had serious trouble controlling his fastball. He allowed three runs in a thirty pitch first inning, and never looked sharp. He did get it together enough to go 5.1 innings in total, but the five earned runs raised his season ERA to 2.72.
The A's pulled ahead in the 5th inning, scoring three runs on a Smolinski double, Carson Blair single, and Craig Gentry triple. Hey, Craig Gentry's still alive! Good for him.
Alas, the bullpen bullpen'd. Fernando Rodriguez got two quick outs in the seventh inning before allowing a three-run homer to Evan Gattis to give the Astros the lead. Dan Otero didn't do much better, allowing former A's farmhand Max Stassi his first career home run. Otero would allow one more run before the game mercifully ended.
There's not really much more to say about this game, other than the fact that it dragged the heck out. There's nothing worse than four hours of poorly played baseball. This game is why pace of play rules are needed. Ugh.
But really, it wasn't the worst thing. Sonny Gray's not fixed, and the bullpen didn't miraculously fix itself. But everyone else did their job, Semien and Smolinksi continued their late-season tear, and the youth movement continued to move forward. I'll take it.
And we got some A's-shortstop-on-A's-shortstop violence, which is straight up hilarious.
Semien got trucked!