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Game #148: Nightmarish Rain

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Philadelphia Phillies John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

“…Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,

That, if I then had waked after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,

The clouds methought would open, and show riches

Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,

I cried to dream again.” – The Tempest

Early on, Kendall Graveman had some major sink on his offerings and was flashing off his strong defensive abilities. Matt Olson blasted his 20th home run of the season, his ninth in his last thirteen games. Matt Chapman nearly had a home run of his own. When the clouds did open, at the start of the bottom of the third inning, putting play on hold for one hour and forty six minutes, the game felt as though it were a dream.

By the end, I was crying to dream again.

Matt Olson stroked a long and low home run into the right field bleachers, and Matt Chapman crushed a line drive double to left that set the stage for a sacrifice fly, quickly putting the A’s up 2-0 in the early innings of the ballgame.

Kendall Graveman faced the minimum through his first two innings pitched, and the A’s were in the drivers’ seat early.

Meanwhile, Ray Fosse and the Phillie Phanatic discovered that true love has no rules or boundaries.

Then the rains came, and for nearly two hours the two teams sat and waited for the storm to subside.

**Click Here to Revisit the Game Thread**

The Phillies emerged from the tempest looking energized and ready to play ball. The A’s looked stiff and as though they assumed the game wouldn’t be continuing.

When the game resumed, Chris Smith entered the game to replace Graveman, who was forced to sit for too long during the delay and was unable to re-enter the game. Smith, still seeking his first win on the season, was let down by his defense right away, as the long delay clearly had an impact on the guys on the field. With two outs, pinch hitter Ty Kelly hit a sinking line drive into left field, and Matt Joyce made an ill-advised dive, resulting in the ball hitting his glove and scooting right on by the left fielder and turning a would-be single into a double. The very next pitch was hit back up the middle for a run-scoring single. Marcus Semien booted a sharply hit ground ball to extend the inning even further, but Smith was able to dance out of danger with the A’s still leading 2-1.

Unfortunately, Chris Smith didn’t last the third, the lone out he recorded in the inning coming on a hit that would have most assuredly gone up the middle for a single had Smith’s body not been in the way to block it. Smith was ok, physically, following the comebacker, but his performance was anything but ok. A walk and two hard hit singles tied up the game and Smith’s night was done, replaced by Liam Hendricks. Hendricks ended the fourth inning without any more runs scoring, but the damage was already done and the game was tied at two apiece.

Simon Castro relieved Liam Hendricks after a fruitless top of the fifth inning for the A’s lineup, their second consecutive 1-2-3 inning after the delay, and managed to pitch a scoreless inning despite uncorking a wild pickoff throw that gifted the Phillies a runner at third base with just one out. In the sixth inning, Castro got two quick outs and got ahead of top-prospect J.P. Crawford, but then threw four straight balls to walk him. The very next pitch Castro threw was a low 90’s fastball that caught too much of the middle of the plate and it was hit by the Phillies backup catcher over the wall in center field for a two run home run that gave the Phillies their first lead of the game. On the home run, Boog Powell tricked himself into thinking he was ten feet tall and jumped at the fence in an attempt to catch the home run ball, and wound up banging his knee awkwardly against a post. While he was ultimately, fortunately, alright, there was a scary brief moment where it appeared the A’s shiny new center fielder hurt himself very badly. The score was then 4-2.

If the slow pace of the ballgame didn’t put anyone to sleep in the eighth inning, where perhaps they could dream of riches and good baseball teams, Santiago Casilla’s first pitch of the inning hit Odubel Herrera in the foot. Herrera stole second base without a throw, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly drove him in to increase the Phillies’ lead to 5-2. But the A’s didn’t lose because of the bullpen’s efforts.

Matt Chapman’s double in the second inning was the last hit of the game the A’s offense had, prior to the ninth. Following the rain delay, no Athletic reached base before the final inning other than a Bruce Maxwell walk in the seventh. Jed Lowrie did manage to stroke himself a solo home run in the ninth inning off of the Phillies’ closer, drawing the A’s within two runs, but the rest of the lineup couldn’t back him up and the A’s lost the game 5-3.

After a dreamy start to the game, the rain delay spelled disaster for the A’s. Like a tempest destroying a ship, the stiff and weather-beaten position players couldn’t hold up against the Phillies’ relief staff, and the A’s pitchers were worn down by a consistent and pressing Phillies’ offense. A’s lose a long and boring affair, and will try again for the series victory tomorrow morning.