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Game #136: A’s Lose 4-3, Leaving Runners Stranded

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees
Aug 31, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson (28) hits a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. 
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The first inning demonstrated strong pitching by both the Yankees and the Athletics--three up, three down on both sides. Homer Bailey started strong with numerous first pitch strikes, 65% on the season—his best since 2013. Unfortunately this didn’t continue for Bailey in the second inning. Bailey gave up a deep home run to left field’s second deck by Gary Sanchez, his 31st of the season. The victim? A splitter that stayed up and allowed for the launch.

In the second inning, the A’s made some noise as well, but it did not manufacture a run. Olson led off with his 20thdouble of the season by taking it down the right field line. While Aaron Judge has a cannon arm, it wasn’t on the mark or in time to stop Olson. Canha walked on a 3-1 off-speed pitch that missed up and in. Seth Smith (7-8 in the last two games) was unable to produce an RBI run as he popped out to left fielder Mike Tauchman. With one out, Jurickson Profar, today’s DH, was unable to produce a run and—in fact—ended the inning by hitting into a double play via second baseman Gleyber Torres to shortstop Didi Gregorius to first baseman Mike Ford.

In the third inning, both Sheldon Neuse and Marcus Semien struck out (German’s #3 and #4 on the day). The closest the A’s came to a base runner was Chris Herrmann who hit a sharp liner to center field. Alas, Mike Tauchman robbed Herrmann of a double by tracking, running, reaching and jumping to keep the A’s off of the base paths.

The Athletics, in true Green Collar fashion, kept at it and took the lead in the fourth inning. With one out, Matt Chapman singled to center field. Matt Olson then made it look easy with a deep shot over the right center field wall for a 2RBI homer, his 27thof the season. A’s 2, Yankees 1.

In the fifth inning, the Yankee bullpen became active as Domingo German walked two Athletics (Herrmann and Grossman). Unfortunately these were interspersed with outs by Neuse (fly out to left), Semien (grounding for a putout of Herrmann), and Chapman (ground out to German).

It’s too bad the A’s didn’t capitalize on those walks because Homer Bailey gave up a second home run to Gary Sanchez in the 5th when he sent it over the right center field wall. Tie score 2-2 with no outs. But that may have been motivation for Bailey who followed with back-to-back strikeouts of Brett Gardner and Luke Voit. Mike Ford then battled Bailey’s four-seamer and splitter to, on pitch number eight, singled with a grounder to left and keep the inning alive. Bailey came back with strikeout #8 of the game to Mike Tauchman to end the fifth.

Domingo German was pulled at the top of the sixth, replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga. German completed five innings, giving up four hits and two runs while striking out five. German also gave up three walks. Loaisiga followed up with a walk to his first batter, Matt Olson, to lead off the inning. Loaisiga did a nice job of mixing up his curve ball and two-seamer, upwards of 99 MPH, but lacked control. Mark Canha did strike out, but it did not deter Seth Brown. Brown, whose hot bat started a little slower today (strikeout, fly out), put another single on the board with a line drive to right fielder Aaron Judge. Profar then was nailed on the inside of his back foot that had to have hurt pretty badly as he slammed his bat and stomped off to first. This led to a second Yankee mound visit and activation of the Yankee bullpen again. With bases loaded and a full count, Neuse struck out looking on a borderline call. Chris Herrmann almost followed with an RBI grounder but Didi Gregorius made a stellar play by grabbing the roller and—body flying toward third—threw over his body to just get Herrmann for the third out with three A’s left on base. Still 2-2.

Homer Bailey had the bullpen warming in the bottom of the 6th. He began by striking out D.J. LeMahieu. Aaron Judge battled with Bailey and picked up a walk, not so bad given the long-ball shots in foul territory. Bailey was able to get Didi Gregorius to pop out to catcher Chris Herrmann in foul territory. With two outs and facing Gleyber Torres, he quickly took control with a 0-2 count. Unfortunately, Torres singled on a short flare to right field and Judge bolted to third. That was all she wrote for Homer Bailey who went 5 and 2/3rds giving up only 4 hits and two earned runs. Bailey walked one and struck out nine. Overall, a great outing by Homer Bailey.

With two outs, Blake Treinen came in and on one pitch was able to end the inning. Gary Sanchez grounded to Marcus Semien who tossed to Neuse for the putout at second base. No damage and Judge was left stranded at third. Bailey ends the day with a no decision.

The seventh began with a pitching change, Adam Ottavino (#0) replacing Loaisiga. This worked well for the Athletics who scored via some great batting and running. With one out, Robbie Grossman singled on a line drive to left field. He then followed with a stolen base. Then came Mr. Platinum who doubled and drove in Grossman to put the A’s ahead 3-2. [Note: The A’s got very lucky on a bad call; Chappy’s ball was foul. ‘Bout time we got a call since it’s usually the other team!] This was Chapman’s 35thdouble of the season!

A little nervous, the Yankees then intentionally walked Matt Olson to create force play options with one out and face Mark Canha. Canha lined out to second baseman Gleyber Torres who caught it close to the dirt. With two outs, Seth Brown stepped into the box. On a wild pitch, the runners advanced to second and third. After battling through 8 pitches, Seth Brown was hit by a pitch on his back foot and advanced to first. With two outs and bases loaded, Ottavino was pulled and replaced by Tommy Kahnle who faced Jurickson Profar. Profar, behind in the count, popped up to left fielder Mike Tauchman to end the inning. But the damage was done and the A’s were in the lead 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Treinen continued pitching in the seventh and showed his dominance with a 97 MPH fastball to strike out Brett Gardener to begin the inning. On a mix of mostly cutters and sinkers, Treinen then followed with a strikeout of Luke Voit. Sheldon Neuse then came in as backup by making a leaping grab to pull down Mike Ford’s liner for the third out of the inning. Onto the 8thwith the Athletics still leading 3-2.

The eighth began with the fifth Yankee pitcher taking the hill, Zack Britton, who faced Sheldon Neuse. Neuse was called out on strikes for his third strikeout of the game. During Britton’s fourth pitch to Marcus Semien, Britton stumbled on the mound and, after a mound visit, was pulled from the game and replaced by Chad Green. He then completed the Semien at-bat and walked him. [Note: The walk is assigned to Britton.] Robbie Grossman then battled Green and earned his own walk. Two outs with runners on first and second, Matt Chapman went ahead with a 3-1 count and the Yankee stadium began to roar in disgust. While Green did push a 97MPH fastball past Chapman, on 3-2 Chappy walked to load the bases with Olson at the plate. Heaters won the day, however, and Olson struck out swinging on a 96MPH four-seamer.

Joakim Soria started the eighth and looked like he was quickly taking control. His first victim was Mike Tauchman who struck out on a curveball. D.J. LeMahieu was quickly behind in the count 0-2, Soria mixing sliders, curves and fast balls. It was a 95MPH fastball that achieved the 13thstrikeout of the game and sent LeMahieu to the bench. Alas, with 2 outs Soria then faced the towering Aaron Judge. On the second pitch Judge took a 93MPH fastball deep to right field to tie the game 3-3. Didi Gregorius ended the inning with a swinging strike that was blocked by Herrmann who then threw him out at first.

In the top of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman came in and quickly picked up his first out by getting Mark Canha to fly out to right fielder Aaron Judge. Chad Pinder then pinch-hit for Seth Brown and struck out on a 102 MPH sinker. Profar, switching to a right-handed stance, was able to work Chapman for a walk. Sheldon Neuse, 0-4 with three strikeouts and still looking for his first big-league hit, became the 10th Yankee walk of the day. Josh Phegley entered as a pinch-hitter with runners on first and second. Chapman continued to throw balls and appeared to have a lower back stitch of some sort. Nonetheless, on his 23rdpitch of the inning, Chapman struck out Phegley swinging.

In the bottom of the ninth, Lou Trevino replaced Joakim Soria. With one out, Trevino hit Gary Sanchez to put the winning run on base. Pinch runner Cameron Maybin, seven steals in 11 attempts this season, took off running but became the third out when Brett Gardener hit a line shot to Chapman at third who threw to first to complete the double play and send the Athletics into extra innings.

So let’s fast forward to how this game ended. Unfortunately, it was almost in the top of the 10thwhen Matt Chapman took a ball deep to the wall that Aaron Judged jumped and caught. Instead, the game ended on the first pitch in the bottom of the 11th. Lou Trevino in for a third inning, served up a 96MPH fastball that D.J. LaMehieu took deep for the solo walk-off homer.

Here’s the bottom line, the Athletics offense failed to capitalize. They had bases loaded and did not manufacture a run in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. In addition, they were given the gift of 10 walks and none of the 10 ever scored. These lack of production moments are what ultimately what led to the Athletic loss. This is unfortunate because the Athletic pitching was solid overall.

Stay tuned for the rubber game tomorrow as we see what we’ve been waiting for: Sean Manaea on the mound!