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Game #10: A’s top Angels 7-3 behind Andrew Triggs’ strong start

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A much needed victory after Friday’s debacle.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s bounced back from their miserable, no good, completely awful, [insert swear word here] loss from Friday night with a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Andrew Triggs had a fine outing, the A’s offense took advantage of the Angels wildness to win their fourth game of the 2018 season.

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The scoring

With one out in the second inning, Matt Chapman walked. Smart move by the Angels - no mere mortal should dare enter his zone. He’d score on a two out double by Stephen Piscotty, yes that Stephen Piscotty who can in fact hit in spite of what we saw the first week and change. Jake Smolinski and Matt Joyce followed with walks to load the bases, and Piscotty and Smolinski scored on a Marcus Semien single to make the score 3-0 in favor of the good guys.

A note: Matt Joyce probably should have been called out on strikes during his at bat which would have ended the inning before the final two runs. You can always pick out a moment or pitch during a game hat has a direct impact on the final score and sometimes it’s worth noting. This is such a fickle game.

Those two innings would be all she wrote for JC Ramirez. He had little command of any of his pitches which manifested into five walks in just 12 batters faced. To the A’s credit, they were mostly patient in the box, taking what Ramirez gave them. A bigger inning would have been nice to see but hey: progress.

The Angels got two back on a Justin Upton dinger in the fourth. Until that point, Andrew Triggs was cruising and frankly Triggs made a good pitch. Justin Upton can hit. 3-2, A’s.

The A’s would rebound from that dinger with a dinger of their own, a Jed Lowrie solo shot in the top of the fifth. Lowrie continues to look like a legit asset proving once and for all sleep is more valuable than just about anything and you should always skirt your responsibilities for some zzz. 4-2 A’s after five.

Triggs departed after five and two thirds, and the bullpen promptly did bullpen things in his absence. Ryan Buchter partied like the date was April 6, 2018, giving up a quick dinger to Luis Valbuena. 4-3 A’s after seven.

The A’s would add on in the eighth. Matt Olson would lead off with the A’s ninth walk of the day (classic lawyerball) and score on a “triple” by Matt Chapman. That triple was in fact well struck but was purely the result of Justin Upton losing a very catchable ball in the lights. Chapman would go on to score on a single laced down the line by Bruce Maxwell, putting the A’s up 6-3.

In the top of the ninth, the A’s added a run against Noe Ramirez. Matt Joyce singled to right to open the frame and moved to second on Marcus Semien’s walk. He’d score on a two out single by Matt Olson, making the score 7-3 in favor of the good guys giving Blake Treinen a much needed cushion to close out the game.

Andrew Triggs

Triggs won the coveted Cy Young Award for April (as awarded by Athletics Nation) last year before his stuff started to decline, his velocity waned a touch, and his body eventually broke down under the rigors of a full work load. For a short while though he had legit #2 like stuff in a completely unorthodox way. He got whiffs, tons of weak contact, and in spite of the defense behind him he blew the competition away for a very short while.

He had that stuff tonight. The only hitter to reach his first time through was erased by a double play and Justin Upton aside, there wasn’t much hard contact in the rest of his outing. He struck out six, induced seven groundballs while giving up just a single flyball (that left the yard but still) and generally made the Angels look silly. There are certain small samples that prove an absolute. Mike Trout missing a Triggs slider by a foot shows that when right, Triggs has the stuff to be a rotation mainstay. The guy is fun to watch.

The A’s offense is still not quite there

Seven runs is a nice offensive output, but ideally this team would put up a lot, a lot, a lot more if they could repeat tonight. Angels pitchers couldn’t hit their spots, putting ten A’s on base via the walk and falling behind countless more. The A’s took some bad swings in good counts, gifting outs to a stretched bullpen that was thoroughly struggling. Early in the game, the A’s just weren’t quite able to capitalize like we know they can.

Still, encouraging to see seven runs on the board. Some of that is a testament to how fearsome this lineup is, and it’s pretty sweet that the A’s put up a lot of runs and could have scored a lot more.

Some notes:

  • Matt Chapman is an excellent baserunner with both excellent speed and perfect instincts. His hustle down the line prevented a double play and his quick start on Piscotty’s double made it an easy score. His triple was mostly a function of Justin Upton losing the ball in the lights, but it was another testament to his speed.
  • Bruce Maxwell has looked solid behind the dish this season but to put it mildly, he’s got some work to do still.
  • Last night’s loss was one of the more painful April losses in recent memory. Count your blessings, the Padres lost like this: