I really dislike the Yankees.
This isn't an unpopular opinion or anything, but the Yankees deserve every ounce of the hate they get from small market teams everywhere. I feel like that gets forgotten as they've grown increasingly irrelevant over the past three years, but they're my most hated team in baseball. The culture they represent and the obnoxiousness of their ubiquity is completely unmatched. Since 2010, A's fans have mostly replaced their hatred of the Yankees with hatred of the Giants, but don't believe the hype. The Yankees are The Worst. They will always be The Worst.
Here's another thing that is The Worst: getting swept in a four-game series at home. Luckily, that hasn't happened to the A's since 1999. Unluckily, that streak is officially broken. About a month after sweeping the Yankees in New York, the A's get swept by them at home.
By the transitive property, this series was The Double Worst. That sounds just about right to me.
This entire series was the baseball version of shrugging and going back to bed, but today in particular was such a 2015 repeat it gave me flashbacks.
The game started out on such a positive note. Billy Burns manufactured a run basically by himself - hitting a single, then stealing second, then stealing third, and then scoring on a groundout. When he's at his best, that's the type of game-changing energy he brings. He has not been great this year - he has 7 XBHs to his name, almost all of which were hustle-doubles - but he's valuable because so few players in baseball are capable of doing things like that. Baserunning like that is almost as good as a solo homer.
Speaking of solo homers, Jesse Hahn. He was really good today! Much better than his line would suggest, but I'll get to that. The real blemishes on his day were two solo homers - one by Brian McCann, one by Jacoby Ellsbury. But solo homers, whatever. He walked nobody, his sinker was great, he hit 95 repeatedly, and was incredibly efficient.
The A's retook the lead in the 5th inning, when Stephen Vogt hit a two-run double, an oppo shot that just kept hooking away from Brett Gardner in left. Vogt had a three RBI day, which is neat. Michael Pineda looked real sharp, but the A's hit him for three runs in six innings. That's a moderately good sign, if we're looking for silver linings.
But Hahn was pulled at the first sign of trouble, which is where things began to fall apart for the A's. The Hahn pulling was absolutely inexplicable. I don't love second-guessing managerial decisions, but this was just bizarre and bad. Hahn was pitching really well, getting through 5 2/3rds on 73 pitches. He had plenty left in the tank, and, even though he had allowed two baserunners in the inning, looked fresh.
Melvin decided to go with John Axford instead for the last out of the inning. Axford, who had pitched three of the last four games. He allowed two hits, scoring two runs. Both were charged to Hahn.
The next inning, the Yankees scored one more run on a Carlos Beltran double off of Sean Doolittle. A two-run deficit is simply insurmountable against the Yankees' three-headed bullpen monster. The A's scored the most unearned of all unearned runs off of Andrew Miller (reached on error, reached on error, RBI groundout). That's all you can realistically hope for against Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman.
The Yankees are bad. This series was bad. You can't be too down on the A's, considering they're missing like eight key players, but yeah, I'm pretty down on the A's right now. Screw the Yankees.