The Oakland A’s had an exciting first week out of the All-Star break, but they’re having a bit of a hangover at Coors Field. For the second straight night they managed just one run in the best hitter’s park in the sport, this time falling 4-1 to the Rockies. It’s the first time they’ve lost back-to-back games since June 14-15, and it breaks a streak of 11 straight series without a loss after 10 wins and a split.
This one started out promising enough. Oakland put OBP machine Nick Martini in the leadoff spot and he doubled to open the game, then later came around to score on a sac fly by Khris Davis. He was initially ruled out at the plate, but a replay review finally went Oakland’s way and the call was correctly overturned. That was all the A’s got out of a two-on, no-out rally, but along the way they made Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela throw 32 pitches in the frame.
Unfortunately, that was the end of the good news for the evening. Brett Anderson was about how you would expect him to be at Coors, serving up six extra-base hits including two homers. To his credit he only allowed four runs overall, and on top of that he managed to eat six bullpen-saving innings, so it could have been much worse. It was somehow only one run away from qualifying as a quality start. But even that effort wasn’t enough on a night when the A’s offense couldn’t come up with anything.
It wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Oakland put multiple runners on base in each of the 3rd, 6th, and 7th innings, but MLB’s best road offense never notched the big hit. Twice it was Khrush flying out during a crucial rally, which I think we can forgive him for after the week he just had, and the team went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. On a more positive note, the new-look top of the lineup at least did their jobs just as we’d hoped, as Martini and Matt Chapman reached base five times in nine trips between them.
There’s not much more to say about this one. You can’t win ‘em all, and even good teams have bad days. The A’s just played a physically and emotionally exhausting week of ball, between two wild extra-inning affairs against the Giants, a 15-run blowout in Arlington, and then three straight dramatic thrillers against the Rangers. They also just spent four days playing in the sweltering 97-101 degree Texas heat, and then went straight to the mile-high elevation of Colorado. If there was ever an understandable time for a brief slump, this is it. Even Matt Chapman made a fielding error, and he’s only part-human.
Looking on the bright side, the bullpen got another day of desperately needed rest. Yusmeiro Petit and Chris Hatcher each tossed an inning at the end, but the setup trio got a second straight game off. Even better, the Mariners and Astros both lost, so Oakland remains just one game out of the Wild Card and six out of the division lead. The sky is not falling.
Brush this one off, enjoy your Saturday night, and come back tomorrow at noon for the finale. The A’s are still on a 27-9 run, right in the thick of the playoff race, and they’ve got one more chance against the Rockies before heading back home to the East Bay.