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Game #18: Blue Jays 9, A's 3

Game Over

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Can't win ‘em all.

In the game Duck Hunt, which came out in 1985, the player attempts to shoot ducks out of the sky while their trusty basset hound would fetch anything they successfully shot. The game itself was simplistic, just aim and shoot, but despite that simplicity most anyone could derive some amount of joy out of it. I, personally, was rather terrible at Duck Hunt, both because my skill was rather lacking and because I then, and still now, have some internal negative reaction to hunting for joy that carried over into my gaming. And that meant that I was able to frequently witness the basset hound laughing derisively at me as I failed to kill any of the ducks on screen.

There were a lot of ducks, or Blue Jays, on the pond in this game, and Chris Bassitt, the team's basset hound, didn't do a spectacular job managing them. And this was no laughing matter. A couple of singles up the middle, followed up by several perfectly placed ground balls around the infield led to two Blue Jay runs in the first inning. Bassitt needed to throw over thirty pitches to escape the inning, as his stuff appeared to be only somewhat lacking but was highly inaccurate, missing his shots and allowing the Blue Jays to freely flutter around the basepaths via wild pitch. While Bassitt only walked two batters over the course of his five innings, which isn't great but isn't horrible, most of his missed locations occurred when the ball caught too much of the plate and was driven far. Troy Tulowitzki's bat finally appeared to migrate back north after spring training, as he homered twice on the day, once off of Bassitt, but perhaps the biggest blow that Bassitt allowed was a three run home run to Josh Donaldson in his second inning of work, giving the Blue Jays a lead that the A's would never come close to challenging.

In relief of Bassitt was Liam Hendriks and Marc Rzepczynski, and though they logged innings they didn't provide much relief. Hendriks served up Tulowitzki's other home run of the day, as well as a sacrifice fly and a hit by pitch to the aforementioned Donaldson. This hit by pitch actually led to retaliation by the Blue Jays, who in turn would later peg Khris Davis, who would score an, ultimately, meaningless run. Remember, these Blue Jays, led by John Gibbons, are manly men who do not wear dresses on the playing field, and will certainly not tolerate micro-aggressions like the least effective A's reliever accidentally plunking their star player in a non-close game. Thankfully no one got hurt resulting from the Blue Jays' pettiness, and likely this "incident" will be isolated to today's game only. Rzepczynski allowed an unearned run in the ninth after committing an error by making an errant throw to first base on a comebacker.

Oakland's offense had a decent game, but wound up firing blanks whenever it mattered most, hitting into a double play in one third of the innings they played (and no, none of the double plays were hit into by Butler, though he did have a nifty slide halfway between first and second on one). Going against a pitcher like JA Happ, hitting into a few double plays is to be expected, and in today's game Happ clearly demonstrated why twin killings, or dead ducks, are truly a pitcher's best friend, as a handful of opportunities for the A's to put a crooked number on the scoreboard wound up netting the A's at most one, usually zero, runs. The standout performers were Canha, who despite his odd season batting line continues to make his case for regular at bats, as he hit his third (of three total on the season) opposite field home run in the first inning, instilling fans everywhere with a whole lot of false hope that would quickly evaporate, as well as Crisp, who has a strong at bat seemingly every single time he's at the plate and drove in a run. Though he wound up hitless, Khris Davis continued to make contact and look less completely unhinged when swinging the bat. Despite only scoring three runs and walking once, the offense is certainly starting to show what it can be capable of (and remember that Bassitt has that clause in his contract that states that the A's aren't allowed to give him more than 2.5 runs of support on average for all of his starts, so only putting three across the plate is something to be expected when he's on the mound. Why on Earth is that in his contract? No idea).

In the game of Duck Hunt that is baseball, the A's mostly wound up firing blanks or firing wildly, and the Blue Jays managed to flutter and fly away with a victory in today's game, with that stupid dog laughing at the A's the entire time. But, the Blue Jays are likely going to be contenders this season, if not challenging for the best record in the American League, so losing in Toronto to the Blue Jays isn't the end of the world as we know it. The A's simply need to push the reset button and start anew tomorrow. I've heard that the A's pretty much have the next game in the bag anyways.