Sunday was one of those magical days where just about everything came together for the A’s; the Green and Gold concluded a lengthy East Coast swing by beating the Blue Jays 9-2. But the bigger story from this game may wind up be Khris Davis’ health - the A’s clean-up hitter limped off after his second plate apperance with what the club is calling a right groin strain.
Khris Davis hasn't dealt with too many injuries in his career, but a right groin strain might land him on the disabled list https://t.co/sJOxXXrne2— Martin Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) May 20, 2018
Davis will likely join a suddenly-burgeoning disabled list and create a Khrush-sized hole in the A’s lineup. But that’s a problem for tomorrow; the rest of this post will focus on what was a comprehensive win.
Impressive as the A’s were, Toronto’s fielders were directly responsible for probably about half of Oakland’s runs. No matter how many runs you score, it’s difficult to win if you continually give away outs. Toronto was guilty of both a lack of production and a lack of sharpness in the field. You get the sense the A’s and Jays are tracking on opposite trajectories in terms of rebuilding cycles, and Toronto’s performance today could easily have been Oakland’s last year.
It started in the second. A double is a double and Matt Chapman earned his, not by hitting a missile, but by hustling out of the box and turning a bleeder into an offensive spark. Chapman moved up to third on a wild pitch, and scored after our old friend Josh Donaldson couldn’t corral a two-out chopper. Donaldson was charged an error, the first of the day for Toronto.
The game broke open in the fifth. Stephen Piscotty walked, followed by a single from Jonathan Lucroy and an RBI single from Chad Pinder. With runners at the corners, Dustin Fowler grounded out, scoring another. And the inning was capped with a Marcus Semien blast.
You can do it, put your bat into it ⚾️— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) May 20, 2018
Semien goes yard for a 2-run HR in the 5th inning pic.twitter.com/EVK1InI086
It would not get better for Toronto in the sixth. In fact, it was a bit of a déjà vu. Chapman reached again on a base hit, Piscotty reached again on on a fielding error, and a mixture of RBI singles and sacrifice flies pushed the score to 9-0. Dustin Fowler’s sacrifice fly was particularly interesting.
Blue Jays fans booing and can't blame them. They've played some bad defense this inning. Two runs score on a dropped ball by Teoscar Hernandez that should have been caught. 8-0 A's— Martin Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) May 20, 2018
I can’t remember seeing a play scored as a sac fly when the outfielder didn’t actually catch the ball, but Dustin Fowler will surely take it. Toronto would make a fourth error too - I don’t have the stats on this but I can’t think many teams have won games when their hits number equaled their errors number in the box score.
What hopefully doesn’t get lost in the ugliness of today’s contest was how effective Daniel Mengden was. Mengden, whose only settings appear to be tremendous and terrible, threw 97 pitches over seven scoreless innings. The mustachioed, ballet-dancing Texas allowed just two hits, and the A’s will surely need more of these games from Mengden if they’re to remain in the postseason hunt amidst the raft of injuries.
If you’re looking for a blemish, Chris Hatcher and Wilmer Font did Chris Hatcher and Wilmer Font things and tried their best to make the game interesting. Hatcher worked out of his self-inflicted jam, Font did not. After recording two quick outs in the ninth, Font walked a pair and gave up a long home run to Yangervis Solarte. Font is such a puzzling case - neither the homers allowed nor the strikeouts seem like flukes. How long the front office gives him to stop allowing big flies remains to be seen.
But today’s positives far outweighed its negatives (not counting Khris Davis’ injury.) By the end of the game, Kendrys Morales had even taken the mound for Toronto. Perhaps the only thing that could have made today worse for the Jays is if, say, during the game, we took one of their players for free.
A's claim right-hander Carlos Ramirez off waivers from the Blue Jays, the team announced.— Julian McWilliams (@JulianMack105) May 20, 2018
No game tomorrow, but the A’s return home and to normally-timed games on Tuesday night against the Mariners. In the meantime, it seems a number of roster moves are likely.