The 2016 Oakland Athletics are an enigma this year. This team can turn in an absolutely disastrous performance all week, playing just above the level of Little League, and then they can turn around and do what they did tonight against the White Sox; they destroyed James Shields and hung six earned runs (seven total) on him in 4.2 innings while nearly pitching a perfect game on their side of the mound. Go figure, right?
The story of the game has to be Kendall Graveman, who pitched a complete game tonight in 95 pitches, allowing just two hits. It was spectacular. The run support wasn't too far behind, as the A's loaded the bases in the second on a Davis single, a Semien walk, and a Smolinski infield single. Shields walked Max Muncy to put the A's on the board 1-0. They would add to this lead in the third as a Valencia single and a Davis home run increased the lead to 3-0.
The A's continued scoring in the fifth, as they mounted a two-out rally with a home run from Stephen Vogt to make it 4-0. A double by Davis and a home run by Alonso increased the score to 6-0, and the A's still weren't done. Semien walked, innocently enough, but a routine ball to shortstop allowed him to score. Healy hit the ball to short, as the runner took off for second, and the ball just perfectly bounced around to allow Semien to score the A's seventh run.
The A's added their eighth run with another two-out rally on back-to-back doubles by Valencia and Vogt, and just for the icing on the cake, scored their ninth in the ninth on a hit-by-pitch, a walk and a Semien single. With the exception of one player, everyone in the lineup got on base, and everyone except Muncy had a hit; the exception, of course, Coco Crisp, who led off to the tune of 0-5.
We do it again tomorrow night, game at 4:10 as Ross Detwiler takes on Chris Sale. Our studio guys seem to think because the A's won tonight, they have the advantage tomorrow. Let's go with that.