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Game #159: Close But No Cigar, A's Fall 3-2 to M's

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Graveman pitched well in his final outing of the season, but the A's could not quite muster the batting and bullpen support to win. A 9th inning rally fell 90 feet short of tying the game.

Pinder's first MLB yaya
Pinder's first MLB yaya
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Graveman pitched a solid game, giving up just one run in 5 2/3 innings.  His outing - and his season - was the story of the day.  Graveman made a philosophical change midway through the year, possibly spurred by the example and tutelage of Rich Hill.  Graveman went to what was his best pitch far more often.  The sinking fastball became his clear go-to pitch.

Graveman finished the day with a line of the 5 2/3 innings with 1 run on 7 hits allowed, 6 K's and just a single walk.  It was a strong outing against a Mariners team who has somewhat had his number.  It was a good sight to see as KG ended his season on a high note.  Graveman finished the year with a 4.11 ERA in what has been a very strong offensive year around the bigs.  Graveman finished the year with 31 starts and 181 innings pitched, both easily the most on the team.  He has demonstrated himself as a solid middle of the rotation starter.

Every A's player who has been around a couple years feels like he has more tenure than he actually does, and Graveman is no exception.  This was just his sophomore MLB season.  He barely has 2 years service time and is still just 25.  For such a young pitcher to find a groove was a major plus for the franchise going forward.  Graveman finished the year with a 10-11 record.

Offensively, rookie Chad Pinder hit his first big league HR.  Congrats to the rookie infielder.  Pinder has been driving the ball as of late and you see his bat has pop.  My concern is his defense.  He has much work to do to be a middle infielder.  Hopefully his time with Ron Washington will bear fruit.  My feeling is Pinder will either be traded or he will be in an uphill battle to be a utility player on next year's club.  The odds are that he will be back in Nashville to start off 2017.  Regardless, seeing him trot the big league bases for the first time was fun.  No doubt it felt good for the 24 year old 2nd round pick from the 2013 draft.

The loss went to Liam Hendriks, who fell to 0-4 on the year and saw his ERA bump up to 3.92. Hendriks has been strong since returning from an early-season triceps strain, but not tonight.  His 7th inning HR to random A's killer Mike Zunino gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead.

Sean Doolittle finished up the 7th with a bit of hinjinks defensively.  Ryan Madson followed in the 8th and gave up the run that proved the difference in the game.  Madson had not pitched in 10 days as the A's have been losing plenty of-late and the one recent win was a blowout in the A's favor.  Madson's ERA stands at 3.73.

The top of the 9th brought some excitement against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz.  Ryon Healy, arguably the best rookie hitter since the All Star Break, led off with a single.  41 HR man Khris Davis then knocked his 23rd double of the year to put the tying run on 2nd with no outs.  Danny Valencia went down on a K meekly.  Yet another rookie, Bruce Maxwell then pinch hit for his fellow rookie Brett Eibner.  Bruce knocked a clutch opposite field RBI hit to give the team a chance.

With the A's down 3-2 with men on the corners and just one out, Yonder Alonso and Max Muncy both struck out to end the threat.  It was another in a long list of 2016 A's losses.

The A's season will be over in just three games.  Aside from the excitement of a variety of promising young players getting their feet wet, it will be an eminently forgettable year.  The hope is that 2017 and beyond will bring much brighter days.  The good news is you see shining moments from players who should have a long future with the club.  The bad news is the A's have lost more than 90 games in back-to-back years for just the 2nd time in their Oakland history.

The club will be getting a high draft pick, anywhere from 2nd to 8th.  We will all await the adjustments in the offseason.  Hopefully more surgical adjustments than another year of taking a wrecking ball and starting from near scratch.  The good news is the offseason will be here soon, and hope will spring as we set our sights to spring 2017.  There is a foundation being put in place.  The team must improve defensively, play with better fundamentals and hopefully keep the injury bug much further at bay.   Will the A's mojo change after two long years of losses?  Will A's fans get a chance to see a beautiful and somewhat lasting edifice be built?  Only time will tell...

Regardless, die hard A's fans will continue to support and analyze.  Here is to hope springing eternal.  Let's Go Oak-land! CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP