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Game #35: Other Than the Ninth, Mr. Lincoln, How Was the Game?

It's really too bad baseball wasn't an 8-inning affair tonight, because the A's played a lovely game, right up until the ninth inning, where Santiago Casilla not only couldn't preserve the gorgeous 2-1 lead, but he couldn't send the game to extra innings either. And also, had the A's had a four run lead, they wouldn't have won either.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

(Checks calendar) Yep, it's Friday. The A's held a 2-1 lead going to the ninth. A whole lot of questionable pitch calls and/or terrible pitch executions in the ninth gave Texas the 5-2 win and ruined a gorgeously-pitched game by Hahn.

Oh for heaven's sake. Let's get this over with. No one wants to belabor the point and/or think about this game any more than absolutely necessary.

*** Click here to revisit tonight's Game Thread!! ***

Yes, it's Texas. Yes, the A's should have had more than two runs. Yes, in losing efforts, it's never one player, blah blah blah; I'll save you the effort. Santiago Casilla did not have "it", whatever "it" is today. That was evident from basically his first hit, when both Oaktown Power and I looked at each other and said, "Not only will the A's lose, but it won't even be in extra innings". It really shouldn't have come as a surprise. Here's an interesting thought from the game thread:

Can someone answer me this...

Why is it some kind of unwritten rule that you can’t yank a guy (the closer) in the ninth when it’s 100% CLEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING EVERY FAN WATCHING, that a pitcher doesn’t have it? It’s like you are not allowed to pull a closer in the ninth, you have to "let him work through it". No. Just no. Casilla was either way out off the strike zone, or hanging breaking balls. And the Rangers were hitting everything. I’m positive Melvin saw it too, but it’s like he’d rather sacrifice the game than go pull Casilla when it was clear his crap was gonna get hammered tonight. After he gave up the sac fly (a pitch that was homer-able), I would have pulled him right there. Guy on first, 1 out. That’s not too tough a situation for the next guy to come into.
Posted by NothingFiner

There are many nuances to managing, some I'm sure we don't understand unless we are actually there, in the clubhouse, actually with the team. But I agree with this; it was crystal clear to everyone; and not in the 20/20 hindsight way, but by the first, and if not the first; the second hit, that Casilla was not only going to blow the save, but also lose the game. And not just because it's Friday, although IT IS. You should look at my texts. I was writing the recap title with full confidence long before the game actually ended.

I know this complaint is literally akin to complaining about the arrangement of the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, but for duck's sake Melvin, Phegley and Casilla! My 18 month old daughter can strike out Joey Gallo if she could throw a change-up (or the knuckle-curve) in the dirt. How did you ever think it was a good idea to throw anything but? We are armchair managers at best, but I'm confident that I would have better managed the ninth inning; starting with, "Thanks, Casilla, we'll take it from here" with one out and a man on first.

You know the scene in Major League? The one where Pedro Cerrano swung and missed twice on curveballs, and then the pitcher asks for a different pitch? Because...nonsense.

The A's defense was great tonight, including some great plays (see: MLB video). The A's offense consisted of a home run in the fifth inning by Matt Joyce to give the A's a 1-0 lead; one that they would relinquish to Texas on a sacrifice bunt of all things (sigh). With the score 1-1 in the seventh, a single by Trevor Plouffe and a pinch-hit appearance by Mark Canha (a ballsy choice, considering he replaced the guy with the only score of the game), resulted in a go-ahead RBI double to give the A's the 2-1 lead. And the saddest of all was Jesse Hahn's line: 7.0 IP, 4H, 1ER. Dull's line cried a little too: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER. The whole game padded its way to the ninth inning, where the A's seemed poised to win their 5th out of 6th games.

And instead...Enter Casilla.

Sac Fly
Homer that I'm not sure yet landed.

Game over. A's lose.

May you and the A's all have a better weekend. #Fridayout