You know what makes for riveting baseball? Sacrifices!
The A's actually got out to a decent start, staking themselves to a 4-1 lead after three innings.
The Rangers got on the board first, as DeShields walked, moved to second on Choo's sacrifice (of course) and scored on Adrian Beltre's single to right. Beltre moved to second on catcher Carson Blair's dropped ball, an homage to the injured Josh Phegley.
In the second, the A's captured the lead off lefty Martin Perez. With one out, Josh Reddick walked. He would score on Jake Smolinski's triple to deep left center, who would subsequently score on Marcus Semien's triple to straight away center. It was a bit of history for the A's, who hit back to back triples for the first time since 1992 while tying the franchise single season record with 40.
The last time the Athletics?src=hash">#Athletics had back-to-back triples was on July 26, 1992 vs. Toronto (Willie Wilson and Mike Bordick).— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) September 23, 2015
#Athletics have 40 triples, tying Oakland record set in 1968.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 23, 2015
You will of course remember the 1968 team as the last A's team to end a game in a tie. That team would end the season 82-80, missing the playoffs like this years version. Moral of the story? No more triples.
Anyway, back to the game at hand. Marcus Semien would come in to score on a Mark Canha single. That's neat because he's one of the guys we care about most for 2016.
The A's tacked on a run in the third thanks to some A's style fielding by the Rangers. Danny Valencia walked and Billy Butler singled to open the frame. Josh Reddick would reach on a double play turned fielder's choice by a Mitch Moreland drop, putting runners on the corners with one out. Jake Smolinski followed with another almost double play to score the run. Way to earn it, A's!
Things turned south from here, as they typically do with your late season A's. Sean Nolin danced in and out of trouble for most of his outing finally paid in the fifth. Nolin walked the leadoff hitter Chris Gimenez, a bold strategy especially considering Gimenez bats ninth for the Rangers. Gimenez moved to second on a tailor made double play ball ruined by the pesky hit and run. Should Lawrie not have been covering second on the play, it would have been an easy 4-6-3. He was, however, and Gimenez took third on the play. Sin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre would follow with back to back sacrifice flies to cut the A's lead to 4-3.
The A's extended the lead in their half of the fifth on another slightly undeserved run. Brett Lawire hit a leadoff single and moved to second on Adrian Beltre's fielding error. Lawrie would move to third on Billy Butler's daily GIDP and would come in to score on Mike Napoli's fielding error. Personally, I think this error should go to Jeff Banister who had the Stephen Vogt sized cajones (post foul ball) to play Mike Napoli in left during a pennant race. You gotta love baseball.
Here's a clip of Napoli's error.
Nope, that's not it. Try this one.
Shoot, wrong again. Sorry.
Things fell apart for the A's in the sixth as a clearly tired Sean Nolin trotted out for his final bit of work. He would get no outs in the frame after allowing a prompt two run homerun to Mitch Moreland. In the heart of a first pick race, there's no harm in letting Nolin stretch himself out in a season shortened by injuries. His velocity was better today so take solace in the process, even if the results were ugly.
The Rangers would tack on one more in the frame in the form of ugly baseball. After an Elvis Andrus single, Mark Canha committed an error on a bunt, putting runners at first and second. Chris Gimenez would follow with another bunt to move runners to second and third while simultaneously challenging insomniacs worldwide. The Rangers plated the run thanks to another sac fly to Billy Burns, making the score 6-5.
The Rangers plated two in the 8th courtesy of an RBI double and you guessed it, a sacrifice fly. This one was historic, as it was objectively the ugliest sac fly in baseball history. The ball was hit to deep second (seriously, like 10 feet into the outfield) and caught by Lawrie who fired a 27 hopper to home. Rougned Odor beat the throw easily.
The final run of the game came during an teA'se. Canha's double was followed by Valencia's single, making the score 8-6. Billy Butler made the final out of the game because of course he did, and the A's fell yet again.
More Sean Nolin Thoughts
Sean Nolin is one of just a few pitchers to watch on the A's these days, so every start will be overly scrutinized. Like most of his appearances, this one was a mix of good and bad. The good? His velocity was better, routinely touching 90 as the game wore on and hitting 92 at times. The bad? His command was off, as two leadoff walks were directly responsible for a decent start turning ugly. He battled from behind in the count all game long which is brutal to watch but fixable, and frankly not a huge concern going forward for the normally accurate lefty.
Stephen Vogt sighting!
Stephen Vogt pinch hit in the 8th and struck out. Whatever, the fact that he's walking is a minor miracle. It was his first at bat at home and the A's faithful gave him a nice ovation. Yay Stephen!
Bryan Anderson sighting!
Bryan Anderson made his A's debut after Vogt pinch hit for Carson Blair. The A's newest catcher has a nice ability to actually catch the ball, a refreshing new development. Anderson also looks like the no good senior in high school Ryan Dull skipped class with. Seriously, look at these goobers. I love them both so much already. If Bryan Anderson doesn't catch Ryan Dull this season, I am boycotting the A's to attend Bryan Anderson's grunge band's concert.
Texas Rangers Anagrams (and partial anagrams)
This game was so boring I started thinking of anagrams for the Texas Rangers. I wrote down about 5 before someone alerted me to this new website called Google who did the work for me. Anyway, here are some of my top 100 favorite:
1. Garners Taxes
2. A Strangers Ex
3. Stranger Axes
4-100: Anything with the word sex (always funny)
And onwards we march
While today was tough to watch, there were many positives. Marcus Semien is a big league hitter and his stats are shooting up. Mark Canha's at bats are all must watch. Ryan Dull warmed up which got me all warmed up. Remember, bad baseball is better than no baseball.
#Athletics "tragic number" to clinch last place: 2.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 23, 2015