Tonight was an all time horrible baseball game. First pitch was scheduled for 5:10 PM, but a rain delay that really should have been a rainout postponed first pitch for nearly three hours. First pitch got off at 7:50 PM, so instead of a normally terrible game, we had a terrible game with a nearly three hour wait before hand. It was like waiting for an international flight on Delta.
The reason the Twins didn't call for a rainout and schedule a doubleheader for tomorrow? For one, they didn't put a roof on their stadium, which is basically in Canada. That doesn't seem prudent, but the A's essentially have Porta Potties in their stadium, so I can't really make fun. One of the reasons they postponed it, and forgive me, I'm not totally familiar with the intricacies of rain weather delays, is that Twins family day is upcoming, and a doubleheader tomorrow would ruin that.
2016 y'all. Gotta love it.
Manaea bad, so very bad
It was an awful start for Sean Manaea. He gave up six runs in five innings with five strikeouts, three walks, and a pair of homeruns. It's especially glaring when you consider the Twins are 28 games under .500, in large part thanks to their offense.
Manaea's badness wasn't a luck or bad defense based mirage, the Twins smoked pitch after pitch, making loud and long contact all night long. Like many of Manaea's starts, much of the damage came early in the count. The Twins were looking fastball and crushing fastballs, and while Manaea showed some ability to put guys away, he struggled getting to counts where he would literally be able to do so.
It's a bit of a perplexing problem for the guy who supposedly has top of the rotation potential. The stuff is certainly there for strikeouts, his changeup has looked downright good and his slider has shown flashes. But his fastball has seems flat, and Manaea has had trouble start after start throwing fastballs in fastball counts without being punished dearly.
The Twins scored their first run off Manaea in the second on an RBI check swing groundout by Kurt Suzuki. If you re-read that sentence, you'll realize I just described the A's from 2015 on: giving up runs in annoying ways, usually with former players involved.
They'd tack on two more in the fourth, thanks to a walk, a single, a double, with some normally bad defense sprinkled on top. The big blows, however, didn't come until the fifth. After a leadoff walk, Manaea struckout the Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier in a fairly filthy sequence of pitches. He couldn't finish the job, though, as Kenny Vargas, a poorer man's Billy Butler, homered to left for just his second hit of the year. Max Kepler homered to follow, going back to back and scoring the Twins sixth run of the day.
A's make bad pitcher look good, water is wet
Over an offseason spent drunken on normal optimism, the A's lineup looked palatable. Then the season started and the devil known as reality crushed our hopes of an above average offense. For about a seven game span just a week ago, things started looking up again.
But here we are, on a Tuesday night, watching bad baseball much later than we'd like, and Tommy Milone dominated the A's.
There's an argument for Tommy Milone as the single worst starting pitcher in baseball. It's by no means the absolute truth, but it's very possible. He's the worst starting pitcher on the worst team in the game, he was DFA'd and made it through with no claim, and his ERA was above six coming into the game.
Against Milone, the A's scored a single run, a Marcus Semien solo homerun. Marcus Semien is the lone functioning tire on the shopping cart that is the 2016 A's. The other wheels are going in opposite directions, doing nothing productive while swinging at sliders out of the zone. But Semien? Semien is good. I hope he finds his way to San Diego next week, he deserves it.
Otherwise, the A's were lifeless. Milone would go six innings, giving up a single run in spite of repeated fastballs sitting at 86 MPH low in the zone. Since the strategy of pitching a bad pitcher was so successful, the Twins went to fellow bad pitcher, Trevor May. May would give up a double to Marcus Semien but escaped the seventh inning without a blemish.
In the eighth, Neil Ramirez came on for the Twins, and did things you'd normally expect from a Twin. Jed Lowrie, ever the professional, walked in a very professional at bat. Josh Reddick followed with a double, and Danny Valencia followed with a three run dinger to the opposite field, making the score 7-4. Valencia had been rather cold for a little over a week, so good to see him ratchet that value up and bust out of his slump.
That'd be all she wrote for the A's offense, but at least she wrote something. It's not always a guarantee.
A rookie debut
You know what makes a lost season a little more fun? Debuts. I think we should have a rookie debut every night, or at least during every loss. Tonight's debut was Patrick Schuster, a sidearming lefty reliever. Schuster came in, and to the delight of his family and maybe girlfriend, struck out the first batter he saw on three very beautiful pitches to end the seventh.
He'd go an inning total, allowing three runs on two singles and a past ball. Two of those runs scored thanks to Liam Hendriks, so the line isn't as bad it looks. Schuster has the look of a LOOGY, but faced four straight righties in the inning he gave up the damage. A successful debut, regardless of the results.
Rookie debuts remind us all that these players making most nights between 7-10 PM unbearable aren't robots designed to steal our soul, but rather human beings chasing a dream. Congratulations Patrick Schuster, welcome to the big leagues!
With the 11-4 loss, the A's move to 36-48 on the year. They've played some decent baseball over the past few weeks, but are ultimately creeping closer and closer to a truly pathetic record and further from a respectable baseball team. Sonny Gray goes tomorrow for the A's against Ervin Santana in an attempt to take the series.