This is the first time in franchise history (so that includes when the A’s were in Philadelphia and Kansas City) that the A’s have given up 11+ runs in 4 consecutive games. It's also the most runs Oakland has ever given up in a 3-game series.
All day today as I awaited an Eric Surkamp start I was reminded of a quote from The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Two characters are discussing capital punishment and one makes this remark:
But [with the guillotine] I should imagine the most terrible part of the whole punishment is, not the bodily pain at all—but the certain knowledge that in an hour,—then in ten minutes, then in half a minute, then now—this very instant—your soul must quit your body and that you will no longer be a man—and that this is certain certain! That’s the point—the certainty of it. Just that instant when you place your head on the block and hear the iron grate over your head—then—that quarter of a second is the most awful of all.
Sure enough, the guillotine dropped again today and it dropped hard. We all knew it was coming, and maybe that's what made it all the worse.
The Surkamp Era
Surkamp pitched a decent 1st but things fell into place in the 2nd.
With a runner on base, a hit by pitch was called. It was complete and utter poppycock, as far as I can tell - the pitch appeared to miss the batter by several inches, but the A's didn't challenge and Surkamp ultimately had to face an extra batter with 2 outs. So of course that batter was Jackie Bradley Jr., who hit yet another a home run. That’s fair, umps. After watching us get absolutely annihilated the last couple games, the Red Sox were definitely the ones who needed the benefit of the doubt.
Coghlan and Alonso are looking better. Alonso roped a double down the right field line to RBI Vogt in the 1st.
In the 3rd, Coghlan took a ball on the outside corner the other way for a single, then was bunted over to 2nd by Crisp. Crisp was bunt-happy today, doing it in his first two at-bats. Khris Davis came through with a single to bring the runners home, tying the score at 3.
As has generally been the case recently, the tie wouldn’t last long. Surkamp walked Pedroia and Ortiz before giving up a towering double to Chris Young which felt like a surefire home run. Pedroia scored, but somehow Ortiz only made it to 3rd. There was another walk in there, then Dull came in and finished the inning.
So, yeah. Surkamp went 2 and 2/3 innings and gave up 4 runs and my initial reaction was "Huh, I guess that wasn’t as bad as I thought." That’s how sad Surkamp/our starting pitching in general has been recently.
In the 4th inning, I just had to say THANK YOU WASH. Semien made a dope play on a sharply hit groundball up the middle by JBJ, ranging far to his left and spinning to beat Bradley with the throw by inches.
After Semien’s amazing play, things went back to how they’ve been the last few days. Mookie Betts singled and then Ryan Dull threw a meatball slider right down the middle of the plate which Pedroia hit over the Green Monster by a hair. 6-3 Boston. Ray Fosse audibly sighed and I think we could all sympathize.
The A's attempted to make it interesting. With 2 outs, Burns roped a single into right field, Reddick walked, and Khris Davis was hit by a pitch on the elbow to load the bases for Stephen Vogt. But it proved to be a classic teAse, as Vogt rolled over a pitch for an easy out to save Porcello. No repeat of 2013 today.
And then we were right back into it. Rzepczynski came out to pitch the bottom of the 5th and in 7 pitches gave up singles to Shaw and Vazquez and a double to JBJ to make the score 7-3 with runners on 2nd and 3rd, still no outs, when Triggs came in to pitch. It was a frustrating sequence for multiple reasons: Shaw stole 2nd and neither Coghlan nor Semien covered (it probably should have been Coghlan) - Semien just saved the pickoff throw from Vogt from going into center field. And then Burns should have caught the JBJ double with a better route, but he totally wastes his speed by running erratically whenever a ball is hit in his direction. Then…gah, I typed it all out but it’s not worth it. With the score 8-3 and the bases were loaded for Hanley Ramirez and he hit a gapper for 2 runs. Triggs made a nice play on a comebacker in the inning to get the runner at 3rd out at home and generally shows a lot of promise as a reliever, but it was just an ugly, long inning.
Zach Neal Debut
Zach Neal was hurled into the furnace for his major league debut down 10-3 in the 6th inning. He gave up a double that ended up scoring (with no help from a passed ball by Vogt), but actually pitched decently overall and showed a good mixture of pitches. He was able to get ahead 0-2 to multiple batters.
His 7th inning was even better, as he retired Bogaerts-Ortiz-Ramirez 1-2-3 on less than 15 pitches.
The 8th was less smooth. Neal got 2 quick outs, then gave up a long single to Vazquez that bounced off the Green Monster and another home run to JBJ to make the score 13-3.
Regardless of it not being a particularly good performance, it was really nice to see a long reliever in action.
Positive Notes from Today
- Coghlan is heating up, and Alonso is staying hot. Coghlan got a couple of singles today and overall has looked a lot better at the plate the last few days.
- Triggs is really intriguing, and other than the Hanley double pitched quite well. And in one play he showed more fielding ability than any of our other pitchers besides Sonny.
- Zach Neal had a decent major league debut, at least by the current standards of our pitching.
- I love the sound of balls bouncing off the Green Monster, though not as much when it’s the 19th one of the day and it’s against us.