Today's game lasted three hours and thirty minutes, featured exactly zero well-played baseball from either team (except from Giants OF Jarrett Parker, who is history's greatest monster), and the Giants came from behind to win versus the bullpen.
If it wasn't for the pageantry and the emotional send-off to two Oakland greats, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson, this would've been the single worst game of the season. As it stands, I'm not going to remember Jarrett Parker hitting 3 HRs, and I'm not going to remember the excessive amounts of poorly played baseball. I'm going to remember Tim Hudson and Barry Zito leaving the mound at the Coliseum for the last time as the crowd roared.
You should try to remember that too.
The Cool Part
It turns out there was a reason why the A's were so hesitant to call up Zito in the first – he's just not very good anymore. We never had to watch him consistently through his nightmare tenure with the Giants, so I suppose it's easy for A's fans to forget that. But after the first 83 MPH fastball – I'm not exaggerating, his fastball was consistently 83-85 – you could tell that he wasn't going to be especially effective.
The start just did not go well. Marlon Byrd started the damage with a two-run double in the first inning, and he allowed two more runs in the second on a Jarrett Parker solo HR and a Kelby Tomlinson RBI single. He was removed in the third inning after pitching to one batter.
But, again, no one should care how well he pitched. We all knew this was probably the most likely outcome when we practically begged the A's front office for this to happen. The point wasn't for Zito to be this hidden ace that would lead us to the promised land – the point was for this moment to happen:
That's all anybody wanted out of this matchup. That's all anyone needed out of this matchup.
Meanwhile, Tim Hudson didn't fare much better. He only allowed one hit, but he completely lost his control in the second inning. The A's ended up with the most #lawyerball rally of all time – two bases-loaded walks and a bases-loaded HBP scored 3 runs and knocked Tim Hudson out of the game.
He got his moment as well:
The Rest of the Game
After all of that, there was still a full 6 innings to go. And man, it went on forever. After Zito and Hudson left the game, the pace-of-play slowed down to a halt. There were at least several thousand pitching changes. About a billion runs were scored. No pitchers on either team pitched well. This game was a black hole that sucked in fun and spit out frustration.
But those first three innings were magical! We'll always have those first three innings.
The A's got off to a good start in the post-Zito end of the game. Consecutive doubles from Eric Sogard, Billy Burns, and Mark Canha off of Ryan Vogelsong put the A's up 8-4 in the fourth inning. The Giants pulled within one run in the sixth inning, when Aaron Brooks collapsed after two effective innings in relief, making the score 8-7.
The A's got two insurance runs off of a Billy Butler homer in the bottom 6th inning. Billy Butler is really, really hot right now – he was hitting .313/.367/.542 in September before today's game. He's actually been an above-average hitter since the All-Star break, at about a 115 wRC+. Whether you choose to believe in Butler going forward is up to you, but he's been making an excellent case for himself lately.
Alas, nothing gold can stay, and the A's are not a good team. Jarrett Parker (not Jarrod Parker!) singlehandedly won this game in the late-innings. In the seventh, he hit a 2-run homer off of the first pitch Drew Pomeranz threw. In the eighth, he hit a grand slam off of Ryan Dull to put the Giants up 14-10.
Ryan Dull's has had a bad series, inflating his ERA from 0.00 to 4.05. That's obviously not ideal. It's actually only been on account of Jarrett Parker – he hit a solo HR off of Dull for the first earned run of his career last night, and then there was today's grand slam. Maybe we just don't let Dull pitch to Parker.
Anyway, that was it. The A's put together a small teAse in the ninth inning, but Santiago Casilla is good and the A's are not.
The A's are tanking, and today was just meant to be a fun thing for the fans to have in an awful season. It doesn't matter than it was an awful game after Zito and Hudson left. The point of the whole thing was that Zito and Hudson pitched in the first place. That was cool! That was an amazing moment for a team that's famous for not caring about what the fans think. The rest of the game won't stick with me like those first few innings did.
Well, aside from the fact that I now involuntarily wince every time I hear the name Jarrett Parker.