As A’s fans, we’re likely not tuning in to see the final score (A’s 6, Marlins 11) nor are we tuning in to learn how many games the A’s now sit behind the division-leading Astros (16.5).
We’re probably here for the same reason: Daniel Gossett’s debut. So let’s get to it.
Gossett, who was selected by the A's with the 65th overall pick in 2014, had tossed 383 innings through all levels of the A's minor league system prior to his call-up. He went 19-22 with a 3.55 ERA while striking out 342 (8.0 K/9) opposing batters.
Thus far in 2017, Gossett came in with a 3-3 record and a 3.41 ERA in Nashville. He most recently picked up a loss on June 5th, allowing 4 runs in 7 innings for the Sounds, but prior to that, he had tossed 14 innings over two starts without allowing an earned run. He struck out 14 and didn't issue a walk while picking up a win in each contest.
Fast forward to his debut this morning in Miami, and we have a mixed bag, and a really oddly-shaped bag at that, though it did begin quite promisingly.
In the bottom of the first inning, Gossett sat the Marlins down 1-2-3 to begin the game while getting Giancarlo Stanton to swing-and-miss for his first major league strikeout. The pitch itself—a breaking ball—was located precisely on the outside corner, low in the zone and tailing away from the right-handed Stanton for the second out of the inning.
In the top of the 2nd inning, Gossett, who never batted in his three full seasons at Clemson, laid down an impressive sacrifice bunt to move Matt Joyce to third. Three batters later, Ryon Healy deposited a 3-run blast to right-center field to give the Swingin’ A’s a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the same inning, Gossett ran into trouble for the first time when he allowed two solo home runs by Marcell Ozuna and Tyler Moore. On Gossett’s location mishap to Ozuna, his fastball couldn’t have caught any more of the plate.
More trouble greeted Gossett in the third inning when he inexplicably walked Edison Volquez to lead off the inning. Christian Yelich would single home Dee Gordon, who replaced Volquez on the base paths on a fielder’s choice, to cut the Oakland lead to 4-3. Marcel Ozuna then tied the game at 4 on a groundout that scored Yelich.
Hope returned in the top of the 4th inning for the A’s when Gossett reached on an infield second--his first major league hit. According to Susan Slusser, it was also the first hit by an A’s pitcher since Scott Kazmir singled against the Padres on June 26, 2015. Since then, A’s pitchers were 0-for their last 26. Jed Lowrie, who walked in his first two at-bats against Volquez, doubled home Gossett—his first major league run—on a shot to deep center to give the A’s the lead back at 5-4.
Offensively, you couldn’t ask for more from a rookie AL pitcher making his debut.
It all came unraveled in the bottom of the 4th.
After an infield single by Derek Dietrich, Tyler Moore reached on an error at third by Ryon Healy. Tomas Telis pinch-hit for Volquez and made it count when he doubled to deep center, scoring Moore to tie the game at 5. Gossett’s day ended there when he was replaced by Daniel Coulombe. Unfortunately, his line wouldn’t end there, as Coulombe gave up an RBI single to Dee Brown before walking Stanton and hitting Yelich which scored Telis with the bases loaded. Phew.
And that officially ended the day for Gossett, who goes 3 1/3rd innings (62 pitches), allowing 6 earned runs on 6 hits, 1 walk, and his lone strikeout came in the first inning against Stanton. His ERA is now 16.20.
The Marlins would add a few more in the 5th inning off John Axford to make it 9-5, another in the 6th inning off Liam Hendriks to make it 10-5, and finally, one in the 7th inning against Zach Neal to make it 11-5.
The A’s got their 6th and final run in the 9th inning with a 2-out single by Adam Rosales, scoring Jed Lowrie.
It was a tough spot for Gossett, who faced a team who is hitting the ball well, scoring 8 runs in last night’s game and likely knew they had to hit against Volquez, who’s walking essentially everyone right now. When he got ahead in the count, he had the stuff to get guys out but when he’s in situations where he has to throw a strike, he was tattooed today. The meatball he threw to Ozuna, for instance, couldn’t have been placed better for a right-handed hitter, and Ozuna got all of it.
Gossett aside, winning on the road has been tough for the A’s, who now fall to 9-25 on the season away from the Coliseum. Florida, in general, was also tough for the A’s, where they dropped 5 of the 6 games they played while allowing 52 runs and a total of 19 runs in their two-game set against the Marlins.
They’ll look to get back on track at home tomorrow as Sonny Gray and the A’s host the New York Yankees.