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Game #22: A’s Drop Opener to Blue Jays 5-1

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player20: Today’s AN Topics: Lord, Flies, Seinfeld

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Game Thread #1
Game Thread #2

I feel like tonight’s game should be signed off with an asterisk; at the very least a strong side-eye to Laz Diaz, the homeplate umpire. If as the adage goes, you should never notice the umpire during a game, Diaz proved to be the exact opposite tonight. He was kind of the storyline. To be fair, he appeared to anger both teams, and I’m mildly surprised that no one was tossed. I mean, during the game; Diaz and Ramon Laureano got into it after the last pitch of the game, where Ramon got to say the things we were all thinking as Diaz walked back on the field to engage. Which was as uncool as it sounded.

It was hard to muster up much fire for tonight’s game much past the fourth and fifth batters of this game. After Aaron Burr Brooks deceived us all with a three up, three down first inning, and Robbie Grossman flew out for the first A’s out, a single by Marcus Semien and a double by Matt Chapman put the A’s on the board early and gave us some excitement. But, that was it for the offense. I mean really. Semien singled again in the third, Piscotty singled in the fourth, Chapman singled in the eighth, and just when I was ready to push the DFA button, Morales doubled to open the ninth.

The box score won’t show how a home plate umpire can swing a game (and in no way am I letting the A’s paltry offensive performance off the hook), but let me cite an example from the bottom of the third; Robbie Grossman’s one-out at-bat. Staked to a 3-0 count, ball four was called a strike. Sure. It’s only one pitch, whatever, right? But that pitch is a baserunner and the resulting ground out is not. Magnify that all over the game tonight, and add in with the ever-shifting strike zone, the hitters were off balance the entire night. Let’s just say that the A’s will be glad to get him out from behind the plate tomorrow.

I said in the initial intro that Marcus Stroman has pitched very well this season, and he has and did again tonight; 8 full innings, five hits and the lone run. The A’s aren’t going to win many games with that offensive line any night. Their only chance was to keep the status quo for Stroman, where his terrible offense (Eric Sogard!?) consistently cannot provide him any run support.

Except against Aaron Brooks, I guess. Brooks did pitch 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 runs in that time, and with the non-starter of the A’s offense, the game was over in the second inning.

If you’re looking for silver linings, the bullpen was great. Petit’s two innings were perfect; Rodney’s one was also perfect, and Soria walked a batter in his, but escaped unscathed.

The only thing that made this game worth watching was the highlight reel that is Matt Chapman, who made stunning play after stunning play; most notably in the fifth inning where McKinney tried to stretch a double into a triple and was thrown out by Stephen Piscotty, but really the tag by Chapman. It was everything. And then back-to-back plays in the seventh, a brilliant play and then a nifty scoop of a Sogard (!?) bunt.

I still think the A’s have better players to run out on the field than Kendrys Morales (sorry, I really like you, but still!), but he did smoke a double for the ninth inning teAse, followed by Piscotty apparently trying to hit a grand slam with one runner on as he flailed wildly at a pitch that never even made it to the plate. With two outs, and Laureano at the plate, perhaps there was no fitter way to end this than a ridiculous call on strike three. I mean ridiculous. I mean, MLB.com just put up a video in the highlights section of game day because they know strikes, and baby, that was not it. Get off the field.

The A’s try to right the ship tomorrow at 1:07PM our time. We’ll see you back here for Mike Fiers.

baseballgirl storms off the field, but turns back to make herself the center of the recap again, and for good measure, yells at a rookie