Once again, the A’s lose a winnable game due to poor defense in the outfield, though as the game went along the poor defense bled into the infield as well. At the same time, the A’s offense couldn’t collect a hit between the second and ninth innings, and never hinted at a comeback until the game’s final moment.
**Click to Revisit Game Thread #1; Game Thread #2**
Gossett deserves better than the unsightly four innings, four runs, six hits, two walks, and no strikeouts final line he wound up with today. While he was far from perfect, for a second consecutive day shoddy defense in the corner outfield spelled doom for a pitcher who was otherwise pitching quite well. That is, pitching well while throwing only 34 strikes in 66 pitches despite being known as a control-first pitcher.
In the 2nd, following two quick outs, Gossett induced what should have been an inning-ending pop fly to center field from Andrelton Simmons, but miscommunication between Boog Powell, who should have caught the ball, and Jed Lowrie led the pop fly to drop in for a base hit. Luis Valbuena followed that up with a high and deep fly ball to left field, but Khris Davis had trouble tracking it as he approached the wall, and the second consecutive would-be third out of the inning dropped for a run-scoring double after it clanked off of Davis’ glove.
The 5th began with a hard and sinking line drive that, once again, clanked off of Davis’ glove and fell for what was ruled a double. Gossett walked the next batter, and his day was done. Yusmeiro Petit was called on to relieve Gossett, but surrendered some loud contact that led to each of Gossett’s stranded runners scoring.
Petit and Buchter held the Angels at bay until the 7th inning, when poor defense cost the A’s for a 3rd time. With Chris Hatcher pitching, the Angels had two on with two out when Kole Calhoun singled to center field, allowing an insurance run to score, but Boog Powell bungled the ball in center and allowed the baserunners to take an extra base, placing them at second and third. The very next batter hit a sharp ground ball to 3rd that should have ended the inning, but Matt Chapman whiffed on the ground ball and the ball slowly bounced into left field allowed the Angels to take a 7-3 lead.
For what it is worth, in a mopup role, Santiago Casilla pitched two innings, needing just twelve pitches, eleven of them strikes, to do so. He was far and away the best pitcher on the mound today for the A’s.
For the other guys, Shohei Ohtani had absolutely no trouble missing A’s bats. Three of the first four batters Ohtani faced struck out swinging against him, helpless against his 97-100 MPH heater and sharp splitter combination. In Ohtani’s six innings of work, he struck out six against one walk, and allowed three runs on just three hits. Even if his bat isn’t quite MLB ready, it is easy to see that Ohtani has one of the most electric arms in the American League.
The three hits the A’s did manage against Ohtani all came consecutively, in the bottom of the second. After Khris Davis struck out to start the inning, Matt Joyce and Stephen Piscotty singled on well-hit line drives to left and right field, respectively. Then Matt Chapman strode up to the plate and did this:
Oh, you didn't know? Matt Chapman gets it done at the plate, too.#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/FTuh4HOkqr— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) April 1, 2018
Unfortunately, the A’s wouldn’t notch a single hit after that home run until the ninth inning, with the team down by four. Two walks and two singles weren’t enough to mount a serious comeback, and the A’s lost 7-4.
This was a winnable game, but for a second straight day the defense didn’t hold up the way that it should and the team was sunk for it. There was only one official error for the A’s on the game, but the A’s made five or six very glaring mistakes on the field that had detrimental effects. This is a young and unpolished team, and the types of mistakes made today should (hopefully) be by the wayside by midseason.
For now, the A’s are 1-3 on the season, and seek to reverse their luck versus the Rangers over the next four games.