The A’s took their win streak to four games with their rout of the San Diego Padres this afternoon at Petco Park. Once again the A’s proved that they can hit for power with just four of their 12 runs not coming off of the team’s five total homers. They also continued to prove that they, like most other teams this season, hit better when they are not playing at the Coliseum.
I’d like to think that both Hammerin’ Hank Aaron and MC Hammer would appreciate the A’s home run party this afternoon, hence, the somewhat-cheesy, yet still baseball and Oakland A’s-related heading (I could have used the heading: “The A’s were ‘Too Legit to Quit,” just thought of that now, LOL). The A’s began their offensive barrage against Padres’ starter Joey Lucchesi with back-to-back home runs in the second inning. Barreto started it off with a three-run shot, his first of the season, after Lucchesi had hit Matt Olson with a pitch and walked Stephen Piscotty. Josh Phegley followed right after with a solo shot of his own. Lucchesi was relieved by Robbie Eflin with two outs in the second. Eflin managed to escape that inning, but Mark Canha and Matt Olson lead off the third going back-to-back. The A’s added a third run on a sacrifice fly by Phegley, putting the score at 7-0. It was very “Bash Brothers-esque” — literally! — according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee,
First time since 1997 the A's have gone back-to-back in consecutive innings. Canseco-McGwire / Stairs-Canseco did it May 14 against the Brewers.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) June 20, 2018
The A’s bats, then, quieted back down until the seventh inning when Olson put a run on the board with an RBI-single off of Phil Hughes, who (news to me at least) had been traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Padres in late May and is apparently pitching exclusively in relief. The A’s faltered a bit at this point, leaving the bases loaded after Hughes gave up a string of hits. It would have been the perfect time for the A’s fifth home run. That had to wait until the eighth, however, when Jed Lowrie stepped to the plate and added two more runs to the A’s tally by launching a ball over the right field fence.
By the top of ninth inning I was completely done with keeping track of the whole “we’re at a National League ballpark so let’s move players around and have guys pinch hit etc, etc,” deal (I was raised an American League girl and I happen to love the DH — not so much any other changes to the game — but that’s another story for another time). So when the A’s put two more runs on the board, thanks to a pinch-hit RBI single by Dustin Fowler and an RBI- double off the bat of Marcus Semien, it only struck me as “slightly odd” to look up and see Casey Spangenberg, who had been the Padres’ starting second baseman and also later played third, standing on the mound pitching. Um, ok sure, whatever you N.L. guys want to do. And that was pretty much that for the A’s offensive show but just in case you missed it, here are the A’s five homers back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back (or Barreto, Phegley, Canha, Olson, Lowrie, respectively):
“Will the real Frankie Montas please stand up?”
Yes, I do realize that Eminem isn’t necessarily baseball or A’s related but — bear with me for a minute. Frankie Montas took the mound for the A’s today and overall, gave a sound performance pitching into the seventh with the radar gun still hitting 95-96 MPH. He’d allowed just one run back in the third inning, along with three walks while striking out six and ultimately getting the win. Looking at it like that, he most definitely bounced back from his last start against the Astros who roughed him (and everyone else that pitched for the A’s in the series) up a bit. Still, there were times when he his command was off and he benefited from some good defense on balls put in play. Also, you may as well just call it four strikeouts because two of them were to the Padres’ pitchers (another good reason why pitchers do not need to be batting, it makes it harder to evaluate your team’s pitcher!).
Montas is now 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in five starts, his only loss coming at the hands of the Astros. Prior to that he’d faced a slumping (at the time) Arizona Diamondbacks team, along with the Royals — twice — and now he’s beaten the Padres. Yet, all of that still really leaves us with very little real knowledge of how much better his command is this year than last year. Obviously, it’s better, but it’s more a question of how much better? And honestly, right now, it’s hard to say because he’s defeated the teams he should have been able to beat and lost to the team that he probably never had a chance against in the first place. We will have to wait until he faces some middle of the pack lineups, not just the weakest and the strongest, to be able to make a judgement on how much he has really progressed. The one thing that we do know right now is that he has averaged almost seven innings an outing and that has helped the bullpen tremendously, so definitely no complaining — yet.
The Padres were able to get a few runs off of Josh Lucas, who was recently called up (again!) from Triple-A Nashville for his fourth stint with the big league club. In the end, he was able to get the three outs needed, rendering the Padres’ runs in the bottom of the ninth insignificant. And the A’s got their fourth win in as many games defeating the Padres by the score of 12-4.