I think if I simply said; “The A’s are playing tonight in Oakland! We expect a big crowd for fireworks! They’re playing a really crappy opponent who is missing a lot of players! Also, it’s Friday!” you, by now, should know that #asbrandbaseball means a loss; and not just any loss, the kind where the A’s fumble plays that our Thursday night softball team makes. And if you think turning a double-play in co-ed softball is easy, well, you’d probably have more success than the A’s infield tonight.
It’s hard to tell if Marco Gonzales was as good as his line, or if the A’s couldn’t figure out how to walk instead of striking out on ball four, but either way he finished with seven strong innings, allowing one earned run. Seattle even gifted the A’s another, but a combination of bad fielding and really terrible relief pitching allowed Seattle to rack up 9 runs in what should have been a close game.
What is especially maddening is that we see the team that just won a series against the league-leading Rays on Wednesday and we see a team play Seattle tonight like a junior high P.E. softball team. The A’s aren’t just a .500 team; they are two different teams in their wins and losses.
And things started out so well; they really did. Marcus Semien singled to open the game and with one out, Matt Chapman singled to put two on. Khris Davis had a nice at-bat to work a walk (there was some early complaning about balls and strikes, but it’s hard to hang this one on anyone except squarely on the A’s), and with the bases loaded and one out, the A’s were primed for an early big inning. Only one thing could put a damper on the buzz from the large crowd (see: fireworks night).
Chad Pinder’s first swing tried to replicate Laureano’s grand slam of Wednesday’s lore, his second was right on, but fouled straight back, and just when everyone started the “Dontstrikeout, dontstrikeout” chant, he did the only thing worse than a strikeout, and promptly hit into a double-play. Just the way you want the game to start, wasting yet another opportunity to score a run from third with one out (Spoiler alert: It wouldn’t be the only time).
And even Bassitt had such a promising start; he pretty much breezed through the first two innings, and then even had a smidge of run support (mostly thanks to a Seattle miscue, but we don’t discriminate). Jurickson Profer laced a double with two outs and Phegley (catcher) should have been out at first on his groundout, but the first baseman tried to pick the ball instead of knocking it down and it bounced away just long enough for Profer to come around and score.
1-0 A’s! What could go wrong?
Except for the game-tying Seattle double, single and sac fly in the third?
But then the A’s bounced back again! Matt Chapman’s one-out hit in the third looked for the all the world like it might go out in the nice early-summer night in Oakland (it definitely would have a couple of days earlier in the 100+ temps); instead it clanked off the glove of Mac Williamson for the ultimate rule of a triple. Unfortunately, the result went the way of the first inning, where the runner at third with one out did not score on the second out, as Khris Davis struck out swinging. But unlike the first inning, the A’s had a chance with two outs. Pinder did not repeat his first inning; he worked a walk to put two on with two out, bringing up Matt Olson. After an awesome 9-pitch battle, Matt Olson smashed a RBI-single to score that pesky run from third.
And the A’s retake the lead 2-1!
And it all slid downhill from there.
After a leadoff walk and a single in the top of the fourth for Seattle, I’ll let supersugarcrisp describe the lynchpin play, on which the game was really decided:
Routine, one or two clean hops to Profar slightly moving in and torwards 2nd just a bit, ideal.
Profar cleanly, we would hope, fielded it, and delivered an easy and accurate flip to Semien, right on target on Marcus’ glove side. Marcus moved across the bag cleanly whilst gloving the ball, but just flubbed it. Ump initially said Semien had caught it for out and dropped it on the transfer, but it was correctly overturned.
Clean as you could put up on a platter easy double play. Marcus just got slightly ahead of himself, not making sure of the catch and transfer. Kind of a bad time for it since he had plenty of time.
Hopefully Marcus being a mature veteran he doesn’t sweat this one too long. He’ll i’m sure be upset about it, but hopefully tomorrow have turned the page.
It’s called #youdescribetheplayforthepoorrecapperwhohastospendfridaynightwritingaboutthisgame
I just made it up! Tell a friend!
With the bases loaded, the subsequent double to score two and sac fly to score another gave the Mariners the 4-2 lead, but two big outs by Bassitt kept the A’s in the game, closer than they probably had the right to be after that inning. But the dumpster fire relievers to follow did not help him or the A’s.
Other things happened in the fifth and sixth, Phegley erased a runner in a double-play, Chapman missed a foul popup and immediately catches the next popup for the out, and oh yeah, Wei-Chung Wang replaces Chris Bassitt with two outs in the sixth. And he ends that inning but, oh man, did things not go well for him in the seventh, partially Matt Olson’s fault, who paid dearly for missing a chance of a 3-6-3 double-play, instead just recording the second out of the inning, and as is #onbrand tonight, Seattle hit a two-run home run to blow the game open to 6-2.
And then Aaron Brooks, again with two outs in the eighth, did the very same thing. A single and a homerun put the game even further out of reach, at 8-2, and just for good measure, he hit two batters in the ninth and allowed a RBI double. So that wasn’t good.
And...cue the fireworks. And the crowd, who are likely thinking, that’s the team that beat the Rays?
And they’d be right. And they’d be wrong.
Let’s hope that the A team shows up tomorrow. The game is a half an hour earlier than tonight’s a 6:07PM start. Frankie Montas is up; let’s get back over .500!