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Game #98: Groundhog Day, A’s Lose Opener to Giants

That’s all we got? Four hits?

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Thread #1
Game Thread #2

In front of a sold-out crowd of 45,606 (more expected tomorrow with the opening of Mount Davis!), the A’s drop the opener to the Giants behind listless offense and shoddy eighth inning bullpen work.

If you know me, or have read me for any length of time, you know my absolute number one pet peeve to end all pet peeves is when the A’s draw a crowd and play a crap game in front of it. On the rare occasion or weekend in which the A’s pack the house, all I want are amazing games, lots of home runs, excitement, and fun; partially to draw casual fans into the web that is the A’s baseball world, but also to highlight the A’s as the low-budget, Giants-alternative Bay Area entertainment. Tonight was the one-two punch; first an A’s loss, second to their rival for the Bay Area’s affections.

Tonight’s game took on an eerie similarity to last Friday’s A’s/Giants game almost from the first pitch. Edwin Jackson was on the mound; the Giants scored their first run on a crap play (last week, Jackson fell off the mound for a run-scoring balk, tonight Buster Posey took a check swing at his feet to serve a RBI-single into the outfield) and they led the A’s 2-1, and then 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1. I guess the silver lining to Groundhog Day is that the A’s ultimately won the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday. Let’s hope for that.

The A’s offense failed to do what they do to good pitchers; maybe they didn’t knock Dereck Rodriguez out of the game early enough. Perhaps rusty from the break, perhaps hating playing baseball on Fridays when baseballgirl runs threads, perhaps having such a better record on the road than at home, perhaps someone insulted the statistic of BABIP; it all conspired to hand the A’s yet another Friday night loss.

If you look at the A’s BABIP, the A’s really ended up on the minus side of things tonight; almost every single ball they touched was scorched, but somehow ended up in sliding catches, right in the web of mitts before reaching the outfield safely, to almost a ridiculous level of frustration.

The one small change from last week was that the A’s jumped on top first in this one, surprisingly not via the home run, as is their signature move of 2018, but rather with actual, fundamental baseball, moving runners and scoring runs from third with fewer than two outs. Let’s never do that again.

Khris Davis doubled to start the second inning, and moved to third on Matt Olson’s deep fly ball. Matt Chapman was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and third with one out, and Mark Canha smoked a ball into left field that for all the world looked like a RBI double, but was sadly only a sacrifice fly. Dustin Fowler singled to put runners at first and third again, this time with two outs, but Jonathan Lucroy struck out on three pitches to end the inning, and the A’s only real rally. The second inning was likely the key to the game; the A’s should have had more than one, and it wasn’t meant to be.

The Giants tied the game on the aforementioned lunge swing by Posey in the fourth, and they took the lead in the fifth on a home run by Ryder Jones; sounds like a B-list Disney prince, but is actually a major league baseball player.

It took two batters into the seventh before the A’s finally knocked Rodriguez out of the game, but it wasn’t early enough. He ended his start with another hit by pitch, this time Matt Olson, and after Chapman lined out for another hard hit, Rodriguez left the game. And his replacement made quick work of the A’s.

Meanwhile, the combination of Petit and Buchter allowed three more runs and officially sunk the A’s. In front of the sold-out crowd. One, lousy manufactured run on four hits. And yet another tough loss for Edwin Jackson, who pitched great tonight.

Scoreboard check: Astros 3 - Angels 0; Seattle 2 - White Sox 1

And in the rumor mill tonight, we’re looking at a new addition of Jeurys Familia from the Mets. You can google him (and his last year’s suspension) at your leisure.

The A’s have a shot at the all-time record crowd at the Coliseum tomorrow night, as it has been reported that all tickets to Mount Davis have been sold out. I will lose my mind if they don’t play an amazing game tomorrow, and they’ll have to beat the best to do it. Let’s Groundhog Day Saturday and Sunday. Look for Trevor Cahill vs. Madison Bumgarner at 6:05PM. We’ll see everyone who is not at the game here tomorrow.