clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game #132: A’s 1, Astros 3

Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

If it already wasn't abundantly clear, the A's are currently in a phase of "out with the old, in with the new." Just before tonight's first pitch, news broke that Coco Crisp, the longest tenured Oakland Athletic having signed with the team before the 2010 season, had been traded to the Cleveland Indians (the team that originally called him up to the majors and the team he played for from 2002-2005) for salary relief and/or a low level prospect or two. More than likely, sometime tomorrow, Joey Wendle will be called up to the big league team to take Coco's place on the roster, a youngster with rather lofty expectations attached given his controversial arrival into the organization, and the A's will once again shift their focus on the future identity and future leaders of this now-purgatorial ballclub.

During Crisp's seven year long tenure with the A's ballclub, he was a constant spark plug for the offense, and was consistently either starting rallies or capitalizing during them. Though the memories of Coco's walkoff single to right field to finish off a four game sweep against the formidable New York Yankees, or his Fosse-Scream inspiring walkoff single in Game 4 of the 2012 playoffs feel like distant memories during these trying times, Coco never stopped being being the most clutch player on the team as he wound up collecting his sixth career walkoff hit with the A's in this dismal season on July 22nd. A commanding presence both on the field and in the clubhouse, Coco was beloved by players and fans alike in Oakland, and will likely have a lasting impact in the clubhouse after his departure.

But tonight, it was obvious that the spark plug the offense was needed was missing, and the offense had no chance of getting started against Astros' starter Collin McHugh. Despite the best efforts of Marcus Semien, who reached base twice on a walk and double as well as drove in a run, for the second straight night the A's were absolutely baffled and useless against Houston pitching. The A's scattered baserunners throughout the ballgame, but nothing ever surmounted to anything resembling a sustained rally and the team collectively went 1-11 with runners in scoring position. The one run that the A's did score occurred in the eighth inning against a never-good-when-it-matters-most Luke Gregerson after Max Muncy reached on an error, then Brett Eibner tapped an infield single to shortstop, and a wild pitch placed runners on second and third base with nobody out. Marcus Semien would end his at bat with an RBI groundout but that would be it for the A's offense.

Kendall Graveman pitched decently in his start today, but with the Athletics' offense continuing to sputter in a major way, he would have needed to be perfect in order to end his night with a win. However, against Colby Rasmus, who elected to not play in any rehab games in the minor leagues because he wouldn't see any "quality pitches," and had already made his return to the Astros' lineup known with an outfield assist on a shallow fly ball to left field with Ryon Healy standing on third base, took Graveman deep on a sinker after fighting off multiple tough two strike pitches. Graveman would allow a second home run, much later in the game (the seventh inning) on a full count sinker that didn't sink enough to Evan Gattis. Graveman's final pitching line would be seven innings, four hits, three runs, one walk, and one strikeout.

With the veterans of the now old-and-gone Athletics baseball teams of the early 2010's well on their way out, it is high time that the A's adopt a new identity for the team and have new leaders step forward to begin representing the voices of the team along with Stephen Vogt. While Coco's abilities may have been just a shell of what they once were during his prime with the A's, his ability to provide insight and guidance to young and upcoming ballplayers was unparalleled by any other Athletic on the roster. Perhaps evidenced by today (or likely just sheer coincidence), Crisp's ability to lead and provide a spark to an otherwise lost and bewildered offense was missed, and the team will need to find a replacement voice sooner rather than later. Time will tell who that new voice of leadership will be.