(Heaves dictionary onto table)
(flips through “W’s”)
(settles on entry)
a wasted opportunity. 2. useless or unprofitable 3. this game, amiright?
Before we get started, let me hand out hats for a second. Oh, Davis, here’s your golden sombrero. Chapman, here’s two-third of your hat. Olson you too? Herrman, you too. Nearly everyone else, you only struck out once? Amateurs. When the A’s started the game tonight, I doubted they could top their three runs on three hits of last night, but two runs on five hits is worse. And boy is this team unfun when they don’t score. And eight hits over 18 innings is awful to watch.
I just cannot continue without saying it. The elephant in the room, so to speak. I love Khris Davis. He’s cool as hell; from all accounts, he’s just a solid, super great guy, and he’s been the heart and soul of the A’s lineup for years. And yes, I KNOW that the A’s will be hard-pressed to win anything without him. But boy, is this stretch hard to watch, as he positively looks like he’s playing a different sport these days.
baseballgirl: He’s not even in the same zip code as the game.
player20: He’s in 95618 when he should be in 94621.
Well played, player20. That’s the only laugh I had all night because this game was murderous.
This was a winable game that the A’s absolutely threw away, from everyone in the lineup, to (some of) the defense, to the manager, to our former closer, to the bullpen; it was garbage from the very first inning on, and it looked for all the world like the A’s were trying to lose the game. Texas tried to hand them the game on multiple occasions and the A’s threw it back and then some. Call it unlucky, call it snakebit from being consistantly burned by replays, call it whatever you want, but the A’s could have won this game, and it played out like they didn’t even try. The longer this game went, the more stabby we became. So without further ado, here are the nine innings presented in movie form.
THE SIXTH SENSE
Here’s how the first inning began. After Daniel Mengden pitched a perfect top of the inning, the A’s came up to bat and Marcus Semien reached first on a throwing error by shortstop Danny Santana. Immediately following that, Matt Chapman hit what should have been a double-play, but shortstop Danny Santana dropped the ball for his second error in thirty seconds and both runners were safe. Matt Olson worked a walk to load the bases, and just like that, the A’s were in business.
And then, it all came crashing down. Mark Canha struck out for the first, unproductive out, and only a sac fly by Ramon Laureano got the A’s on the board at all for the 1-0 lead, bringing up Khris Davis. Davis is swinging like that kid in Little League that you have to play; the only who swings at everything; the one you yell at, “Hey, the ball hasn’t even been thrown yet!” and “Wait, that’s like 20 feet over your head!”, but you watch in horror as each inning keeps ending with that kid at bat. The first inning should have been 3-0 A’s, but that’s okay, that was yesterday’s storyline; let’s not repeat that, but maybe let’s do better in the second?
Mengden did his part again in the second for his second perfect inning, and after Robbie Grossman opened the second inning with a single, Chris Herrmann hit a homerun; well, he would have had he not hit it high enough for Delino DeShields to track down and catch, going up and over the fence to rob him--and the A’s--of two more runs. And Jurickson Profar’s double-play ended that threat.
Mengden pitched ANOTHER perfect inning to open the third, and was like, hey, offense, cool if you show up, right? The defense definitely did; Matt Olson showing terrific body control and footwork, ran full-speed deep into the corner of the foul territory around first to make an amazing catch to help him out.
Semien, who is the only player besides Laureano doing anything these days, got on again; this time with a single on what was probably the best at bat of the night, watched Matt Chapman strike out for the first out, and then moved to second on a walk to Matt Olson.
This time, Mark Canha singled, scoring the A’s second run; giving them the 2-0 lead. And then, Laureano struck out and Davis gave an encore performance mirroring his last, swinging halfheartadly at a pitch over his head. Granted, by this time, it should have been about 6-0, but I guess it’s better than being shut out. Right?
Mengden is experienced enough to know you don’t win friends with leadoff walks, but yet, here we are to open the fourth. He did get two pop ups for the first two outs, but then the gates of hell opened. Mazara hit a screaming hit that did a lot of things (a) flew by Profar’s glove (b) streamed by Laureano, who dropped it and (c) Hermmann was charged with dropping the subsequent throw at home (he didn’t) and the runner was called safe on the tag as a result (he may not have been), but NO ONE WOULD HAVE KNOWN BECAUSE NO CHALLENGE WAS ISSUED. I mean, c’mon, the A’s lose all challenges, but someone is going to feel sorry for us eventually, right?
Oh, and it wasn’t just one run. Another double tied the game and a single put the Rangers ahead 3-2. Bleh. Gross. Yuck. Murderous.
Mengden, uncharacteristically, walked another batter, but got out of the fifth inning unscathed. Semien, who rocks, got on base with another single for his third time tonight, watched Matt Chapman strike out again, and then was erased by Matt Olson’s double play. And now everyone in the ballpark, and watching at home, is angry.
Mengen, who honestly deserved a lot better than his line, thanks to Blake Treinen’s total inability to get a pitch over the plate that wasn’t a middle-middle belt-high fastball, struck out the first batter of the sixth before walking runners to first and second. He was replaced by Treinen and if you thought things were murderous in the first five, the A’s were just getting started. Treinen’s fourth pitch was hammered to right to score the Rangers’ fourth run, he walked the bases loaded with one out, he nearly walked in a run, but struck out DeShields on ball four, and induced a pop-up to end the inning. It’s funny; it was so bad, but somehow in that DeShields at-bat, I could see glimpses of the old Treinen.
Oh look, we’ve totally let Lynn settle in this game. He’s mowing the A’s down in order. Whaaaaaa? It’s 0-2 on Davis again? Did he swing at another high fastball? Oh, he SURE DID! Why do these pitchers throw anything else? It’s like having a pitcher bat. By this time, I’m contemplating writing something something in a typewriter in a snowy lodge. Mmmm...snowy.
Ryan Buchter danced around raindrops in the seventh inning, allowing a one-out single to Rougned Odor, but thanks to Matt Olson’s anticipation of the runner at first, he was able to corral the runner into a rundown for the second out of the inning. And then, surprising everyone, Marcus Semien went to field the third out and the ball just popped out of his glove. Never has he been more relatable than when, in the middle of the inning, mind you, he threw his glove to the ground, hard, in absolute sheer frustration, speaking for all of us in this nightmare of a game that just won’t end. Add insult to injury when Jesse Chavez nearly struck out the side, nabbing Grossman and Herrmann before Profar grounded out weakly.
Buchter started the inning with the back-breaker, a home run to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Joakim Soria struck out the last two batter of the inning, so there’s that. I mean, aside from their first couple of at-bats, the A’s didn’t even get a hit, and their eighth inning at-bat saw Semien, Chapman and Olson go down quietly. Or sleepily, if you’re following the metaphor. By this time, the A’s haven’t had a baserunner since the fifth.
THE FINAL DESTINATION
A so-called error on Olson put a runner on for Lou Trivino and the A’s to open the ninth, but a deep fly ball to center to Ramon Laureano saw Choo at first blatantly ignoring the season-long rule of Don’t Run on Ramon, immediately ran into a double-play at second. Speaking of Laureano; in the bottom of the ninth, and the final chance for the A’s, Ramon made a bid to bring the tying run to the plate after Canha led off the inning with a double, and he did indeed walk, bringing up Khris Davis. I was yelling to pinch hit anyone, despite Davis’ monstrous career success against the Rangers, but the A’s are going to live and die with Davis getting right and boy is he wrong. To no one’s surprise, Davis struck out for the fourth time tonight, in another useless at-bat. Grossman followed suit for the A’s thirteenth K on the night and Herrmann grounded out to end one of the worst games the A’s have “played”. They never had a moment where you actually thought they’d win this one, and I’m mad about it.
Let’s see what happened all over baseball tonight. Oh, gee, the Astros lost. They could have gained a game on the Astros, but noooooooo. We can’t have nice things.
The A’s try to at least keep the thought of a series split alive tomorrow. We’ll see you at 6:05; Sampson vs. Bailey.