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Game #135: Athletics 2, Red Sox 11

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"Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it."

In Catch-22, a book filled with men terrified of dying and doing whatever it takes in order to prolong their lives even a little bit longer, the soldier Dunbar lives his life according to a strict code of conduct. Time flies when one is having fun, and moves slower when one is bored and miserable, therefore, he aims to spend his life in a constant state of boredom and misery, in order to make his life feel as long as humanly possible. While it is not actually stated in the novel, it is widely known that Dunbar is a devout Red Sox fan and watches every single game, sometimes multiple times.

The great thing about playing the Red Sox is that despite all the young and fast and athletic and good looking and talented players that the team has, they do whatever they can to grind the pace of play of any and every ballgame to a total and complete halt and make sure that the opposing team and fans are so bored as the game plugs along that absolutely none of it can really fully appreciated, playing time clocks be damned. Teams filled to the brim with exciting young stars all maturing and coming into their own all at once are few are far between, and it really is rather generous of the Red Sox to their fanbase to do what is needed in order to ensure that their fans can enjoy as much time with these youngsters as physically possible (by playing really boring games). As seconds start to feel like minutes, minutes start to feel like hours, and hours start to feel like days, more time can be spiritually spent with these once-in-a-generation talents over the course of the ever fleeting existence of this season and our lives than most ever could dream of. Some hypothesize that watching the equivalent of a years' straight of Red Sox games "could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years."

The good news is despite getting no-hit for the first five-plus innings, the A's had an equally strong offensive output today as yesterday and the team also allowed the fewest total runs in a game against the Red Sox all season. Chris Smith proved, once again, to be a foil to the Red Sox offense and came up big to face the challenge when all other men around him trembled in fear.

Daniel Mengden was recalled to the big league club in a similar context to his first callup, as a warm-body pitching well in Triple-A right when there is an injury-and-ineffectiveness caused mass pitching shortage on the major league staff. In Mengden's first tour through the major leagues, he was largely successful, going right after hitters fearlessly and using his poise and finesse to keep batters off-balance. Today, Mengden allowed lots of hard contact early as he gave up two early doubles and two runs in the top of the first inning. While his second inning was scoreless, Mengden had trouble getting the final out of the inning, taking three attempts to record the third out and often nibbling unsuccessfully around the strike zone.

Mengden got two outs on five pitches to start his third, and then: Home Run, double, walk, double, single. Mengden was removed before recording the final out of the third inning, forcing John Axford to come into the game extremely early with the score already 6-0 and looking to be yet another blowout victory for the Red Sox over the A's. By the time he could record that elusive third out the score was 9-0.

Healy and Wendle went hitless in three at bats for the A's today, but Chad Pinder hit an opposite field double in his lone at bat of the game and Bruce Maxwell hit an RBI single to put the A's on the board. For the Red Sox Yoan Moncada had two hits in five at bats and scored two runs.

The A's lost 11-2 to the Red Sox, and it may have been their best played game against the team from Boston all year. It is hard to believe that the A's and Red Sox have only played four games against each other this season, considering each game length feels like the equivalent of the amount of time it takes to pass a kidney stone.

"Well, maybe it is true," Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone, "Maybe long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?"

"I do," Dunbar told him.

"Why?"

"What else is there?"