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Game #25: A’s Drop Series Finale to Rangers, 4-2

A’s still win their third series in a row.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
“Krush” Davis hit his 7th homerun in the 3rd inning to give the A’s an early lead, but Rangers come back to salvage the final game of the series
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

***Tonight’s Gamethread along with 500+ witty comments here***

The A’s had the Rangers on the ropes coming into tonight’s game. Winners of the first two games of the series, the A’s were facing a Rangers line-up with no Adrian Beltre, no Elvis Andrus, no Roughed Odor and a starting pitcher just off the DL in front of a small and lifeless Texas crowd enjoying $1 hot dogs. Everything was lined up for a sweep!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, the A’s turned in a lackluster and sloppy performance filled with errors (2, but a couple of misplayed balls as well), strikeouts (8 on the night for Oakland batters), walks (Graveman walked 4 in 6 innings) and bad/slow baserunning (Semien, Joyce). But there were some good moments in tonight’s game.

5 Good Moments from Tonight’s Game:

#1 - The Tarp Crew at Globe Life Park Is Really Good:

#2 - Speaking of Good, Khris Davis is Really, Really Good:
Davis provided the A’s offense for the night in the 3rd inning

In 43 career games against the Rangers, Davis’ now has 19 homers, 41 RBI’s...
Take heart Texas, Krush is really good against the rest of the league too, leading the Major’s in home runs since 2016 with a whopping 92 bombs! Someone get this man an extension on his contract before he hits his final year of arbitration this off-season...

#3 - Kendall Graveman is Improving
After giving up at least one home run in his previous 7 starts dating back to last season, Graveman kept the Rangers in the yard in his 6 innings of work tonight, scattering 6 hits, striking out 7, but walking 4, committing an error and giving up 3 runs. The revised windup, renewed change-up and ability to clear the 5th inning barrier, are all positives to take from his performance. Unfortunately, he took the loss tonight, running his 2018 record to 0-5, the first A’s pitcher in team history to ever lose 5 games in April.
***In a completely unrelated note, Brett Anderson, threw 6 innings of 2 run baseball for the A’s Triple AAA, Nashville Sounds tonight. (Insert Starting Pitcher controversy here).

#4 - Marcus Semien Continues to Score Runs and Get Timely Hits
Semien was the only Oakland batter to collect 2 hits tonight and he scored the A’s first run tonight ahead of Davis’ homer. Semien has now safely gotten on base in 17 of the last 18 games and he is in the top 5 in MLB in runs scored with 23.

#5 - Even With Tonight’s Loss, The A’s Have Won 8 out of 10
The A’s have been on an incredible roll over the past week against two not so good teams (Rangers and White Sox) and one very good team (Red Sox). This season has all the ingredients to be a really special season, buckle up everyone!

The 5 Not So Good Moments From Game #25:
#1 - A’s Left-handed Reliever Ryan Buchter exited the game with Left Shoulder Stiffness in the 7th inning.
Buchter velocity was below his normal range and BoMel and the team didn’t want to mess around with allowing him to create any long-term damage. With Blake Treinen beat up after taking a line drive off his shin yesterday, the bullpen suddenly has some minor injury issues.

#2 - The A’s Defense Was Sloppy Tonight
Error on a pick-off throw from Graveman in the 1st inning, error by Jed Lowrie in the 3rd inning, Piscotty had trouble handling a double down the line in the 8th inning that turned into a triple. All 3 plays didn’t end up costing the A’s any runs, but kind of sum of the team’s energy and execution level tonight.

#3 - After a Week of Dominating Offense, The A’s Bats Went Quiet Tonight As Well
Matt Joyce, Jed Lowrie (although he did have two hard hit balls), Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha and Bruce Maxell were all 0-for tonight, on a night where the offense only produced 4 hits in 31 plate appearances.

#4 - Bruce Maxwell and the Oakland Pitching Staff Don’t Seem To Be In Rhythm
I must admit, this is a very subjective and one-sided observation, but it felt like Graveman and the A’s relievers were either shaking off or stepping off the rubber throughout the night in their attempts to agree with Maxwell (and the A’s coaches) on what pitch to throw. Maxwell hasn’t had the opportunity to work every day with A’s pitchers this season and I believe he serves as one of the best backup catchers in the league (would you rather have light hitting Drew Butera?!), but after parts of 3 seasons with the team, I am surprised to see he and the pitchers not always on the same page. (Makes you really appreciate the job Lucroy has done so far this season too).

#5 - RHP, Emilio Pagan, Has Given Up A Run In 7 of 11 Relief Appearances
It is still only April and good relievers tend to settle down as the season progresses, but Pagan’s first month with the Green and Gold has not lived up to the expectations the team placed on him when they traded Ryon Healy for him this past winter. Although to be fair, Healy hasn’t done much to earn his keep in Seattle either (Hitting .091 with a .267 OPS in just six games before being placed on the D.L.). Pagan has also given up the most homers of any AL Reliever (4 HR’s allowed). One a positive note, Pagan struck out 3 batters tonight and got a must have K with a runner on third and one out in the 8th inning, so hopefully that is something to build on.

For Those Of You Who Prefer Play-by-Play Recaps, Here Are The Details Of Tonight’s Game:
The teams both stranded runners on base in the first and second innings, but the game remained scoreless until the top of the 3rd where Semien singled and Khris Davis hit an opposite-field homer to put the A’s up 2-0. After a Joey Gallo single (3 hits on the night) and a Ronald Guzman single put runners on 1 and 3rd for the Rangers, Gravemen and the A’s received a potential double play ball off the bat of slow-footed catcher, Juan Centeno. But Centeno beat out the relay throw from Chapman and Lowrie to score the Rangers first run and make the score 2-1, A’s after 4 innings. In the bottom of the 5th inning, a Jackson Profar (subbing for the injured Andrus) single and a Nomar Mazara double, plated the second run for Texas. They would finish the scoring in the inning with a single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa (subbing for an injured Beltre) to score Mazara and give the Rangers the lead 3-2 after 5 innings. A team of 4 Rangers relievers would hold the A’s scoreless for 4 13 innings, allowing no hits or runs and striking out 5 A’s batters. The Rangers added an insurance run in the 8th inning on a Joey Gallo single and a Ronald Guzman triple to make the score 4-2, Texas after 8 innings. Keone Kela would ultimately close the door on the A’s in the 9th to earn the save (#4) and give the win to good ol’ Jesse Chavez (1-0) and thus dropping Graveman’s record in the process (0-5).

Tonight, the A’s hop on an hour flight to Houston and prepare to face off against yet another lefty on Friday Night in Dallas Keuchel...But don’t be worried, Sean “No-Hitter” Manaea takes the hill for the A’s! Enjoy the off day tomorrow A’s Nation...and in the immortal words of Walker, Texas Ranger finest Cordell Walker aka, Chuck Norris, “‘Shut those mutts up before I cook ‘em and eat ‘em!’

See you on Friday!