Tonight’s subtitle is brought to you by Dallas Braden, who had quite a few funny one-liners tonight, including the Jed line after Jed’s first hit tonight (spoiler alert: He’d have many more hits, and he’d quite literally be the only shining moment in another dark Friday night.)
Read the Game Thread. Or don’t.
Let’s open baseballgirl’s email from 2:25PM and 2:26PM today, shall we? Nico, who was on the exchange, can offer veracity:
baseballgirl: How will the A’s crush their 4-game win streak for me tonight? An early blow-out? A late bullpen meltdown? A heartbreaking extra-innings loss? A blown 6-run lead? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!
OaktownPower: I will say a nice mellow 7-3 loss.
I guess mellow is a stretch; there was nothing mellow about the three-run home run that hasn’t landed yet, nor the first pitch from the bullpen that was launched for a grand slam, but the rest is on the nose. And eerily prescient look at the game long before the first pitch.
There are not many more frustrating things in baseball than to watch your team scratch and claw, show some pluck and grit, and with blood, sweat and tears, drag three runs across the plate, kicking and screaming to open the game, only to watch the other team hit two annoying barely-singles, followed by their signature monster home run to tie the game and erase all of the previous hard work. Such was the tale for the bottom of the first/top of the second for the A’s and Kendall Graveman, as the A’s were one batter away from knocking Drew Pomeranz out of the game in the first and instead, they let him pitch for just about three more innings, including a strike-out-the-side moment in the third. Meanwhile, the A’s’ early 3-run lead was gone faster than they built it.
Don’t get me wrong; Kendall Graveman’s 10+ ERA doesn’t exactly scream, “I’ve been unlucky!”, but he was tonight. He should have pitched the first five, giving up a solo home run; keep in mind, at one point tonight he retired 11 in a row, striking out six to Pomeranz’ seven. I don’t know what should have happened in the sixth.
Here’s what did. Graveman started the sixth with three more obnoxious singles; the ones that had a 50/50 shot at being hit at an infielder, or just squeaking by, to load the bases with no one out. At some point, I guess you let Graveman clean up his own mess; he was pitching pretty well and the balls were just not finding the fielders. Instead, Emilio Pagan threw exactly one pitch out of the bullpen and it was crushed for a grand slam, giving Boston the 7 unanswered runs, and the A’s the loss.
The A’s started the game with a beautiful first inning; the exact inning you want against a Drew Pomeranz.
They were patient; working two walks, racking up pitches left and right, fouling off the right pitches, and they nearly scored six runs as they made Pomeranz throw 45 pitches. With one out, Piscotty walked and was doubled in by Jed “Could I BE any hotter?” Lowrie. After Khris “Home run or Strike Out, except when I hit into a really inconvenient double-play” Davis struck out, Matt Chapman also K’d, but he had the presence of mind to run to first as the ball merrily skipped away behind home. Matt Olson singled in the A’s second run, and in a pretty amazing at-bat, Mark Canha singled in the third. Chad Pinder came within an eyelash of a three-run home run, but a review was called foul (and it was), and he would eventually strike out, as well. Unfortunately, Canha had stolen second base during Pinder’s at-bat, so even just a single would have give the A’s two more runs.
The A’s would have to settle for three.
Time of game 0.45. Innings completed? One.
Things escalated quickly in the second as the Red Sox made up the deficit, as they are wont to do in their first nineteen games of the season. To his (non-Triple-A) credit, Graveman settled down immediately and pitched the rest of the second, third, fourth and fifth without further incident. Despite the early fireworks, the game remained tied at three until we blinked again and the sixth inning happened, the game fell out of reach and the Boston Red Sox, as they have done to every opponent so far this early season, won again.
The A’s had every opportunity to score more early, but they seemed to shut down after their first inning outburst.
Red-hot Jed started the A’s fifth with yet another hit, but he was summarily erased from the bases by Khris Davis. The resulting single by Matt Chapman was merely a “what-if”.
You do have to give the A’s credit, though; the bottom of the seventh was mildly interesting, as again Jed Lowrie (who was 4-5 with two singles and two doubles tonight) doubled with one out, and before Khris Davis could double him up, he was hit by a pitch. A two-out infield single by Olson loaded the bases, but the pinch-hitting Matt Joyce, as the tying run, struck out to end the threat. Every starter in the A’s lineup had a hit tonight, with the notable exception of lead-off hitter Semien and clean-up hitter Davis.
After the failed comeback in the seventh, the A’s went quietly and meekly into the good night, and I hate to say it, but tonight was the game to win. The A’s face Sale and Price for the weekend games.
We do it again tomorrow, Sean Manaea and his fabulous season facing off against Chris Sale. Here’s to hoping.