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Game #141: A’s 3, Mariners 14

The important thing is that Ryon Healy continued to show his growth and prowess at the plate by hitting an ultimately meaningless, but still noteworthy, home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Having made a major adjustment in his hitting approach in the minor leagues, one similar to the adjustment that Josh Donaldson made during his time in the A's system, Healy has been finally tapping into his power that had eluded him during his first few years in the lowest levels of the minor leagues. In just part of one season, Healy has decisively promoted himself from an afterthought prospect playing a position the A's have a glut of other prospects at to an integral piece of the team's rebuilding effort and future for the next few seasons, whether he is playing third base or first base (or even corner outfield).

With the game well out of reach in the bottom of the eighth inning, after Max Muncy had a good at bat and worked a walk, Healy strode to the plate to face Tom Wilhelmsen. After three pitches, a called strike and two foul balls on tough sliders, Healy was down in the count 0-2, and with two outs it appeared likely the A's offense would put someone on base but fail to advance or drive in that runner for yet another inning over the course of this tiring game. Wilhelmsen would attempt to get his slider passed Healy one last time to put him away, but instead Healy hit a high line drive to left field that cleared the fence and netted the A's two runs. The home run was Healy's eighth on the season, and with three weeks still to play it is likely that he will hit a few more, but any number above zero is impressive considering he was an afterthought prospect being forced to repeat Double-A at the onset of this season.

Kendall Graveman was bad today. He didn't have the accuracy that he requires in order to force batters to induce weak contact, and wound up throwing many balls out of the zone. Having lately been reliable for going six or seven innings, Graveman was only able to pitch five innings today before needing to be removed from the game, having walked three batters while striking out only one, allowing an impressive twelve hits in those five innings, and surrendering a total of eight earned runs. It was a start that Graveman, fans in the stadium, and fans in general would be better off just forgetting about and moving forward from. The combined efforts of J.B. Wendelken and Chris Smith would yield six more runs for the Mariners over the final four frames of the ballgame (most of the runs coming as Wendelken was approaching fifty pitches in his second inning of work), when the game's outcome was already more or less a foregone conclusion.

Regardless of whether someone is rooting for the team to lose in order to secure a better draft pick for next year or rooting for the team to show some signs of life in the final weeks of the season, today was a rather ugly affair. The A's look to salvage the final game of the series tomorrow at 1:05.