We were all feeling good after an early morning win, but a slow march towards an inevitable lost brought us all back to reality. Jesse Hahn wasn't good and the A's defense managed to make matters worse. Ubaldo Jimenez wasn't great but the A's managed to make him so. At the end of the day, the A's drop another game, this one by the count of 5-2.
Watching Rich Hill is like eating a hearty steak. It's the most delicious meal, but it takes up every crevice in your stomach and you can only take so much. Indeed, Hill was out after five innings and change today as his pitching was so rich with strikeouts and deep counts. Delicious, but inefficient.
For the first two innings, Hahn was the exact opposite. Five of his first six outs were groundballs. On a different day, some of those will find holes, maybe Jed Lowrie butchers one or two. But groundballs are good. For two quick innings, Hahn was like a salad wrap. Healthy, tasty, and refreshing.
And then the third inning happened.
Ryan Flaherty led off with a sharp line drive out that probably deserved a better fate. Chris Joseph followed by roping a single to center, Manny Machado followed that with an absolute blast to the wall putting runners at second and third with one out. Hyun Soo Kim followed with a groundball so weak, the runners moved up while Jed Lowrie nabbed Kim at first. The score stood 1-0 Orioles.
So runner on third, up comes Adam Jones. On a 1-2 fastball that caught far too much plate, Jones smashed a single to center, plating the O's second run. That brought Chris Davis to the plate, one of the best home run hitter in the world. Davis worked a 2-2 count.
Let's play a game! You get to decide what to throw Chris Davis, home run hitter in a 2-2 count in a game where your fastball has had worm-genocide levels of groundball dominance. You can:
- Throw a fastball
- Throw a curveball
- Underhand a changeup over the heart of the plate
If you chose C, you win, I guess. Josh Phegley put down three fingers signifying change, but it might as well have meant turn around and throw the ball out of the stadium yourself.
Davis's dinger would plate the third and fourth runs of the day. It was a painful inning because the pitch calling was awful and Hahn had every chance to get out relatively unscathed, but he didn't. It's an inning that you see from bad teams.
Hahn attempted to get back on track in the fourth but was unable to do so, mostly due some awful, awful defense. Jonathan Schoop led off with a single to short, a ball hit about 80 feet at about 70 miles per hour. Bad luck, but that's ok. Hahn is a groundball pitcher, maybe he can erase that runner with a groundball. What did Hahn do? He induced a groundball! Unfortunately, it was hit weakly just past the first base side of the pitcher's mound to no man's land. Yonder Alonso fielded the ball and in a maneuver that can only be described as a seizure, rolled and chucked the ball past a covering Hahn. The runners would have been safe with a perfect throw and the lead runner was able to advance on Alonso's blunder. That runner would score on a GIDP to the next batter, a groundball finally hit hard enough to yield an out.
Hahn would depart with one out in the sixth and runners on first and second. Fernando Rodriguez would get the A's out of the inning unscathed, continuing his excellent start. The final line on Hahn reads 5 ⅓ innings pitched, 5 runs, 4 of which were earned on 8 hits, 4 walks, and a big fat zero strikeouts. In many ways it could have looked a lot better but it also could have been worse. We'll chalk it up to it being just his second start this year.
One thing to note was a drop in velocity. He came out throwing 94-97 with his sinker with ease. He ended around the 90-93 range which is never a good sign. He did look at ease the entire time, for whatever that's worth.
The A's offense
After consecutive eight run outbursts, the A's reverted back to early season form. They scored their only two runs in the fifth. Yonder Alonso mashed a double to center and Phegley singled on a groundball up the middle to break the shutout. Billy Burns singled to first, moving Phegley to second, and they both moved up a bag on a Jed Lowrie groundball to the right side. Josh Reddick would single deep into the hole at short, plating Phegley but keeping Burns at third where he would whither away while Khris Davis popped up to second.
Otherwise, quiet game for the A's offense. It certainly was a B team squad, with Phegley and Butler getting the start against righty Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez ended up going 8 innings, probably 2 longer than a good offense would let him. He's far too wild a starter for the A's to only garner two walks, but it's the second game of a double header. Oh, and the A's are bad offensively, at least right now.
-I've been beating the patience with Chris Coghlan drum all year. I still think he'll be fine, he had probably the best offensive 2015 of anyone on the current roster. But Chris, my dude, get it together.
-Yonder Alonso is a reminder of why you shouldn't give up on Coghlan yet. Alonso has gone from totally lost to looking like a big league hitter. Great day for the A's first baseman hitting wise.
-The bullpen was wonderful. Fernando Rodriguez was legitimately dominant and Andrew Triggs looked like an eighth inning staple, not the 26th man. Good stuff.
After the losing streak, splitting a doubleheader doesn't feel great. But doubleheaders are hard and a split is acceptable. The A's look to take the series tomorrow morning. Let's go Oakland!