The A's 2016 season has turned into a bizzaro continuation of the poor 2015 season. Rather than 1 run losses and a dumpster fire bullpen, this year features starting pitching unable to stay healthy or effective combined with an offense that seems to be cold when the pitching does provide decent work. Needless to say, it has been a rough year.
On Thursday, the 2016 A's continued their struggles as they lost both the game and the series to the Rangers in Oakland, falling 5-1 to a complete game by Rangers RHP Colby Lewis.
Lewis, a long time thorn in the side of the team from Oakland, continued his mastery of the A's, and nearly had a perfect game. A Yonder Alonso walk with two outs in the 8th inning finally broke up Lewis' perfect game bid and finally - mercifully - Max Muncy doubled to lead off the 9th to break up the no-hitter. Coco Crisp flared a one out double to score Muncy to end the shutout, but Lewis was able to complete the inning and get the complete game and the win.
The star of the game for the A's, and really the lone bright spot, was rookie RHP Daniel Mengden who pitched 6.1 innings allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and 1 walk and striking out 7. The mustachioed Mengden features a throwback look, a throwback delivery, a four pitch mix, and a bulldog mentality. He performed admirably, keeping the A's in the game for 6 innings despite the A's bats flailing vs. Lewis. Despite the quality effort, Mengden took the loss to drop to 0-2. However, his ERA stands at just 2.25 after two outings, and the 23 year old who started the year in AA looked very sharp in his home debut.
The 2016 Athletics season has featured the 2nd consecutive year that a makeshift collection of talent, with little long term clarity or clear, cohesive structure, has failed to gel into a competitive unit. Thursday afternoon's flirtation with being perfected by Colby Lewis was the latest chapter in the frustrating two year period. Hopefully the A's organization can right the ship and pull out of the funk.
A's next face the rival Anaheim Angels, starting at 6:35 PM Friday night in Oakland for a fireworks night, with young RHP Kendall Graveman on the mound. Matt Shoemaker will take the hill for the Angels.