The A's lost by a lot in a game started by Eric Surkamp. What are you gonna do.
We'll do a quick recap of the early inning carnage
The first: the foreshadow
Surkamp walked the leadoff man, Sin Soo Choo. Not a good move. From there, centerfielder and revelation Ian Desmond singled, Nomar Mazara hit into a fielder's choice, moving Choo to third and Ryan Rua hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Choo. Not a good inning, but not a disaster either. 1-0, Rangers.
The second: disaster strikes
After a walk and a single, Surkamp got ahead of Robinson Chirinos with two quick strikes. Ahead 0-2, a count that has plagued A's pitchers all year long, Surkamp threw a curveless curveball that Chirinos launched deep into the night for a three run dinger. 4-1 Rangers.
The third: disaster still striking
Ryan Rua, who has the worst baseball name in the league, led off with a dinger. A walk and a single put runners at first and second, ending Surkamp's night in favor of Marc Rzepczynski. The A's welcomed Scrabble by yackety-saxing some classic A's defense. What did the A's defense do this time, you ask, unsure if you really want the answer?
Elvis Andrus singled to designated hitter Khris Davis who was standing in left. As you know, when Davis was creating his character, he used all his available points on power, draining his right arm empty of any strength whatsoever. He fired a changeup in the general direction of cutoff man Danny Valencia who threw to Marcus Semien, covering third. The wild throw trickled away from Semien, allowing Andrus to move to second.
Of course, it didn't make much of a difference. Back to back walks plated the third run of the inning anyway, but it was still a play that was lightspeed ugly, one that only the A's make. The score stood 7-1, Rangers.
On Eric Surkamp
I'll refer to an ancient proverb, loosely translated after centuries of an archaeological game of telephone.
If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all.
Surkamp was terrible today, and he's not anything remotely near an answer going forward. But let's guide the hate away from Surkamp, he's trying his best. He's a symptom, not the cause. The A's came into the year with limited pitching depth and have run into worse injury luck, having a full rotation on the disabled list. For some reason, the front office hasn't taken a chance on a higher upside AAAA player, so here we are.
This has to be the last we'll see of the tall lefty. I wish him nothing but luck, but he should not make another appearance in the Green and Gold. The A's need to make a move, try an Edwin Jackson, or a Tommy Milone, and find a way to not sacrifice their pen night after night in non-winnable games.
For the past three games, the A's offense has been actually competent. This shouldn't be a huge surprise, they've faced some bad left handed pitching, and the offense actually should hit lefties well.
Rangers' starter Martin Perez has always been a thorn in the A's side. He always overperforms, sometimes dominates, and often leaves you scratching your head as to why the A's couldn't do anything against him. Tonight was like that, although a different flavor.
Normally, A's hitters look befuddled against him. Tonight, they made solid contact with some unlucky results while doing themselves no favors on the basepaths.
Billy Burns opened offensively with a single, Lowrie did the same, and the A's were in business. Valencia followed with an unlucky out, a smash to third snagged by defensive star Jurickson Profar. No matter, as Khris Davis followed with a first pitch double to right. Burns scored easily from third but Lowrie, inexplicably trying to score all the way from first against Nomar Mazara's laser arm, was thrown out at the plate by a solid five feet.
It's a bad decision for Wash to send Lowrie. Lowrie is faster than Butler, but if they race, it's a close race, and that's a bad thing. He looks like he's wearing ankle weights as he gallops slowly and my honest though when he rounded third was "gee, the internet sure is choppy". Nope, Lowrie is that slow. He looks pained when he sprints too, like he chowed down on a jumbo jack just before going to the plate.
Billy Butler flew out to follow, and who knows what happens if he's hitting with one out instead of two. Maybe the A's tack on two more runs, maybe they do A's things with RISP and don't score at all. Either way, it was a major, self inflicted mistake that cost the A's a chance at a few runs and it's a mistake that's happened too many times before.
The A's remained at a single run until the sixth. Back to back to back singles by Lowrie, Valencia, and Davis would score the A's second run. A sacrifice fly by Butler scored the third, and a double by Phegley scored the fourth overall run, the team's third in the sixth.
The A's would tack on two more in the ninth. Phegley was hit by a pitch to lead off and was replaced by pinch runner extraordinaire, Tyler Ladendorf. Semien singled to left, putting runners on first and second. Smolinski would strikeout for the first out, but Alonso doubled to follow, plating both runners. That'd be it for the game, the final score standing 10-6 in favor of the bad guys.
Once again, the pen was mostly an overused shining star. Scrabble settled down to throw an inning and two thirds with some wildness thrown in. Fernando Rodriguez continued his quiet destruction of the league for an inning, Dull did the same for two. Daniel Coulombe gave up a dinger to Elvis Andrus, but let's give him a pass. The A's have utilized him like an overused sponge, not caring how much he's soaked up just hours before. Zach Neal came on for the ninth and was just terrible, but otherwise, a fine night for an overused and underappreciated pen.
Sonny Gray tomorrow!
At the end of the long and boring day, it's a 10-6 loss for the A's. Tomorrow is sure to be better, as resurgent (??) ace Sonny Gray takes the hill, hoping to put the A's back in the win column.