Like you, I love the game of baseball! I love the sights, sounds and smells (even at the Coliseum) of the ballpark. I love how in baseball to be successful, team work is needed. And I also love that at its core, baseball is an individual sport, a battle between a guy on a mound holding a rock in his bare hand and a guy standing 60 feet and 6 inches away, holding a wooden stick. What I'm trying to say is, isn't baseball great?!!
Then we experience tonight's baseball game....A depressing 8-5 division loss to the "Los Angeles of Anaheim near the Carl Jr's off of Katella Avenue Angels."
Last weekend, the A's were riding high, winners of 5 straight.. Life was good!
Then the last 4 days occurred. Rajai Davis goes on the Disabled List with a sore hammy,. Jesse Hahn pitches lights out and the A's still lose. Tonight, young and promising left-handed starting pitcher Sean Manaea, left the game after two innings, with what the team is describing as shoulder tightness...The A's lose and suddenly life is no good!
As musician Juliana Hatfield once said, "Baseball is more than a game. It's like life played out on a field."
Here are some of the highlights and low-lights of what happened in tonight's game, #21 of the 2017 season:
The High's and Low's of the 1st inning:
So far in 2017, A's lead-off hitters are getting on base at the pace of a elderly Oldsmobile driver, out for a Sunday drive, in the fast lane of the i-880. The A's overcame Jaff Decker's first inning lead-off strikeout, to plate two runs in the top half of the inning. Life was looking good!
Sadly, the bottom half of the first inning occurred. Right from the get go, it appeared something wasn't right with Sean Manaea. His fastball was sitting in the 86-88 mph range (about 5 mph below average). This drop in velocity made his fastball and his change-up easy pitches to sit on and adjust to. Somehow Manaea was able to get three up and three down in the 1st, but the cause for concern was established.
Susan Slusser followed up with this quote from Manaea after the game:
Manaea on his shoulder tightness: "I’ve dealt with it before, it only took me a few days to get back. ... I'm not really worried about it."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 27, 2017
100 MPH in the 3rd Inning:
After Manaea exited, Frankie Montas came in to provide long relief. While his line score doesn't seem very impressive (2 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and 1 strikeout). Montas gave the many A's fans in attendance at Anaheim Stadium and those of us watching at home, a level of excitement when Montas froze Danny Espinosa with a 100 mph fastball to end a bases loaded jam in the 3rd. When the last time (if ever) you remember an A's pitcher throwing 100 mph?!
The bottom of the Angels batting order always seems to hit the A's pitching:
Whether it is Johnny Giovotella in 2016, Chone Figgins in 2004 or tonight's hero, Cameron Maybin, doesn't it seem like the Angels bottom of the order always hits the A's hard, no matter the season or personnel? The 7th, 8th and 9th hitters of the Angels line-up combined to go 5-11 with 5 RBI's in tonight's game.
A's outfield defense:
Both Decker and Joyce seemed to get bad jumps on baseballs that fell just out of their reach tonight. I love the work ethic and style of Krush Davis, Jaff Decker and Matt Joyce, but let's be honest, the trio won't win any gold gloves anytime soon.
Instant replay, BoMel!
There were a couple of plays tonight that seemed to warrant an instant replay call from A's manager Bob Melvin...Maybe he and the coaching staff are a bit timid because they have lost 3 of the 4 replay challenges they have used in 2017. Anyone have any theories on why the team didn't pull the replay trigger tonight?
Alonso is legit:
Tonight was not all bad. Yonder Alonso drove in 2 key runs with 2 outs in the 1st inning and he crushed a solo homer in the 6th inning. Alonso is putting together a nice April.And I know I mentioned this in the game preview thread, but have you read his account of life as a Cuban immigrant? You need to read this article in the Player's Tribune....You will instantly become a huge fan of Alonso.
The beauty of baseball and of life is there is always tomorrow. And tomorrow includes the return of A's opening day starter, Kendall Graveman! So rest well A's Nation, there are 21 games in the books, but 141 more contests to go!