A win is a win, but man, that was an exhausting win.
After Mike Fiers — who arrived with one of the weirdest (greatest?) facial hairdos of all time — was pulled in the second inning due to what they’re calling “right arm nerve irritation”, I thought the A’s were going to get blown out. Call me a pessimist, but the A’s bullpen is simply not built to carry that kind of load. On an average day, the team can barely patch together enough relievers to get through the last three innings of a game, let alone the last seven.
Fortunately, the A’s bats, who unabashedly love Globe Life Park, were spraying meaningful homers all over the park today. First, it was Chapman, who tied the game with a three-run homer just minutes after Fiers and Blackburn allowed three runs to score. Phegley and Canha later took turns grabbing the lead, each delivering a go-ahead two-run shot.
In the midst of all this, however, were a myriad of long and shaky bullpen appearances. Blackburn, Buchter, Trivino, and Diekman each pitched for what seemed like an eternity. Several baserunners, several runs, and several moments of deep anxiety. Ultimately, they “came through” and kept the A’s in the game — not without the help of (mostly) clean innings from Petit and Hendriks, of course.
After today’s win, and the Indians’ two losses, I should be in a happier mood, but the team just lost it’s most consistent starter for an unannounced amount of time and our bullpen took three hours to get through a below-average Rangers lineup. It’s not the worst situation, but it’s also not the best. I’m still extremely optimistic about this year’s team and it’s postseason potential, but for now, I just need to sulk a little.