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Game #94: A’s Tear White Sox Apart

Despite being 3.5 hours long, today’s game ended 20 minutes in.

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

You would think from the 12-2 score that the A’s were scoring all throughout day and widening their lead as the sun approached the horizon. In reality, the A’s mounted two brutal assaults on the White Sox, the first of which put the game out-of-the-reach just as fans were finding their seats.

In the bottom of the first, after a mostly clean inning from Chris Bassitt, the A’s lineup strung together, by my calculations, about 20,000 hits. The first bunch of them came off of former A’s minor leaguer Dylan Covey.

Despite being a decent prospect in his early years, Covey hasn’t found much success since the Sox plucked him from Oakland in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. Tonight, his struggles were on exhibit, as he gave up 2 doubles, 2 singles, 2 walks, and 6 earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Covey pitched so poorly that White Sox manager Rick Renteria thought, “I need to get Ross Detwiler in here to give us a chance.”

At this point in the game, it probably would have been more prudent for Renteria to leave Covey in after just 27 pitches thrown. Though he’d allowed 4 hits and 2 walks, two of those hits were extremely soft singles that just got through the hole. Giving him the runway to fight for the last out, catch his breath in between innings, and have a fresh start in the 2nd would’ve likely done more for his development than just handing the ball over to a 33-year-old journeyman.

But alas, Detwiler came in, threw two sinkers, and then hung a curveball to Franklin Barreto that got launched into deep left field. Three more runs for the A’s, two of which were charged to Covey, and the Sox were now looking at a 7-0 deficit.

Three innings later, Detwiler allowed another four runs, again on a combination of singles and doubles from the heart of the A’s lineup. I gotta say, the Chapman-Olson-Davis has to be brutal for pitchers to go through, even more so than last year. Yes, Davis is still about 70% of himself right now, but the Matts both look a lot more mature as hitters, exhibiting a combination of patience and selective aggression that make them one of the more dangerous 1-2 combos in the league. Bookended by Semien’s breakout and Piscotty’s eventual return, this lineup will carry, heave, and drag us to the playoffs if it needs to.

Overshadowed by the A’s offensive burst, Bassitt pitched a strong game today, probably the best from him we’ve seen since his initial return from injury. Though one likely wouldn’t consider the White Sox lineup much of a threat, they do have some solid hitters, like now-veteran slugger Jose Abreu and finally-reached-his-potential breakout star Yoan Moncada. Neither could get much going against Bassitt tonight who went 6-6-6 tonight (6 innings, 6 baserunners, six strikeouts) without allowing a run. With Montas down and the team still waiting on Manaea and Co. to return, Bassitt will have to continue putting out solid performances to keep the A’s in the race.

Now that we got all that tremendously positive news out of the way, let’s talk about Treinen. Another night, another dud for him. There was hope, as there always is with guys coming back from injury, that the rest and time off might’ve done him some good. Maybe he was hurt and not getting 100% out of each of his pitches. Maybe he was putting too much pressure on himself after an all-time great season and needed to clear his head.

Well, it looks like nothing’s changed. The velocity and movement are still there — each aspect of his pitches are still elite. It’s his control that he’s still been unable to find. Even with his pitches looking hard and unhittable, his lack of control renders them fairly predictable. As a hitter facing Treinen, you know how fast the pitch will be, how it moves, and that it’ll end up either in the dirt or the middle of the zone.

At this point, Treinen looks like the A’s worst reliever, or at least the one I would trust least in a tight lead or a tie game. Both the eye test and the numbers agree on this. Unfortuantely, BoMel will have to continue putting him out there in blowouts to let him get his groove back while relying on Hendriks and the semi-reliable Soria-Trivino-Petit group to get us through the second half.

On that dour note, what a game for the A’s! They stay hot and dominant after a long break, getting closer and closer every day to securing a playoff spot. A week from now, I’ll be curious to see how they fare against a real AL competitor in the Minnesota Twins. But for now, I’ll gladly accept beating up on the White Sox and Mariners.