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Game #139: Jharel Cotton brilliant in debut, A's beat Angels 4-1

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Jharel Cotton's changeup was as gorgeous as advertised and the rookie led the A's to victory in his big league debut.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The A's take the final game of the three game set against the Angels by a score of 4-1. Jharel Cotton was magical, the offense was competent, and you can feel good vibes about the A's for at least 48 straight hours.

In strange turn of events, A's offense arrives prior to the fifth inning

For the first three frames, the A's were hitless. That's normal these days and painful to watch, but alas, get used to it. In those first three innings, the A's were shut down by a wild Alex Meyer, a former top prospect acquired in the famed Ricky Nolasco trade.

Meyer has arm concerns and the Angels have everything concerns, but he could be a nice piece going forward, health provided. Remember that name.

In Meyer's inaugural Angels start was on a strict pitch count and thanks to high walk and strikeout totals, he'd only last until the fourth inning. Yonder Alonso would open that frame with a double, chasing Meyer. With one out, Max Muncy blooped a single to left and while the throw home beat an ambitious Yonder Alonso by some 12 feet, catcher Jett Bandy dropped the ball allowing Alonso to score safely. Brett Eibner would follow that would a double of his own to right, scoring Muncy and making the score 2-0.

One more in the fifth

In the fifth, Jhoulys Chacin, who is terrible, came on for the Angels. He'd promptly allow a single to Marcus Semien, a walk to Stephen Vogt, another walk to Khris Davis (which is no easy task) to load the bases with no outs. A Yonder Alonso single plated the A's third run of the game and kept the rally a rolling.

Unfortunately, the A's would do A's things from there to squander a chance at a big inning. In a poor guise of mortality, Ryon Healy would strikeout for out number one, in an attempt to get me to break my TV, Muncy struck out for out number two, and Brett Eibner popped up to end the frame.

Bases loaded, nobody out? Three straight unproductive outs. Classic.

Angels snag a run in the seventh

As we'll chat about more below, the Angels were hapless against Jharel Cotton today. Their only run of the day would come on a C.J. Cron homer in the seventh, a ball that just snuck over Brett Eibner's glove in center. Given another shot, Eibner probably catches it and given a night game, it might not reach the warning track. Unfortunately it was good for a run, but it was the only run Cotton would allow in his debut.

C.J. Cron strikes me as the type of guy that would put soda in a water cup at a fastfood restaurant.

Ryon Healy is the man

Another dinger, another great day at the yard, another reason to think the A's have found an answer in their lineup.

That run would make the score 4-1, effectively getting back the sole run Cotton allowed.

Cotton spectacular

Jharel Cotton's debut was a sight to behold. He'd end the day pitching 6 and 1/3rd innings, allowing a single run on the C.J. Cron dinger, while allowing two walks and inducing three strikeouts.

The stat line doesn't do justice to just how fun Cotton was to watch and how aesthetically pleasing his whole being is. He's short and slim, yet his fastball sits comfortably around 92-93. He spotted pitches like a veteran, often hitting Stephen Vogt right in the glove, and his changeup? Just watch this gorgeous butterfly.

Cotton used that changeup to garner an inordinate amount of popups and weak contact. He can throw it at any point in any count to both righties and lefties and it's nothing short of an absolute weapon. Cotton did start to lost his command as the day waned on, but for nearly the entire day he looked like a composed veteran on the mound, in control at all times.

His departure was possibly the highlight of the season: the limited crowd gave him a huge ovation, the infielders all gave him sports based butt touches, and Cotton left the field with an adorable and well deserved toothy smile.

A win

The A's left some guys on base and the clutch hitting was mostly absent, but the A's did enough in support of Cotton to get a nice win. At this juncture in the season, the result doesn't affect the standings but seeing the youngsters carry the team is all we need.