So that’s what Giants fans feel like watching their team this year.
The Oakland A’s got demolished on Tuesday, 10-1 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The game was effectively over in the 2nd inning, after the D’Backs scored nine runs off ace starter Frankie Montas in his return from minor injury.
The onslaught began from the very first batter, A’s kryptonite Kole Calhoun, who doubled to lead off the 1st inning. A single, a wild pitch, two walks, a sac fly, and a Nick Ahmed homer later, and it was already 5-0 in the opening frame.
Oakland got a run back in the top of the 2nd, but Arizona got right back to work in the bottom half. Calhoun led off with a homer this time, and then two singles, a walk, and two more singles ran the tally up to nine. That surge knocked out Montas, with Lou Trivino allowing the final pair of aforementioned singles to let all three inherited runners score.
- Montas: 1⅔ ip, 9 runs, 1 K, 4 BB, 2 HR, 6 hits, 56 pitches (31 strikes)
The bullpen settled down from there, at least able to polish off some mop-up work even if it was too little too late for a chance to win. Trivino pitched through the 4th, and Daniel Mengden took it the rest of the way, tossing four innings of one-run ball.
- Trivino: 2⅓ ip, 0 runs, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HR, 2 hits, 49 pitches (31 strikes)
- Mengden: 4 ip, 1 run, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 3 hits, 63 pitches (44 strikes)
On the offensive side, the A’s got nothing going, even in the return of star CF Ramon Laureano from suspension, and against an opposing starter who brought an 11.85 ERA into the game. Luke Weaver went five strong, letting through just an RBI double by catcher Sean Murphy. Oakland finished with four hits and three walks, going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position to extend their series-long futility to 0-for-9.
Even the best teams lose a few games during a season, and everyone takes a beatdown now and then. Only two things concern me about this loss.
One is that they couldn’t hit Weaver, who has been lit up this year, and their season-long struggles against starters could be a problem come October when you can’t always rely on beating the opposing bullpen every night. Remember, they got shut down in each of the last two Wild Card Games by frontline starters, and never got back into either contest. It would be encouraging to see some more early scoring over the next month.
If Luke Weaver throws a complete game, then the #Athletics still have a chance to win this 11.85 to 9.— Athletics Nation (@athleticsnation) August 18, 2020
My other concern is that they’re getting torched by NL West teams. In this season of isolated regional schedules, regular season records will mean less than ever, as we won’t begin to find out until October how strong the divisions are relative to each other. What if the A’s have been so good because the AL West is actually unexpectedly terrible? They’ve looked completely overmatched by the Rockies and D’Backs so far, and we haven’t even seen the first-place Dodgers yet. Sweeping the 2020 Giants is like beating your dog at ‘Jeopardy!’ and means nothing.
By (unwritten) rule, the Diamondbacks now may not swing for the remainder of the game. https://t.co/0UGRsmwt4A— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) August 18, 2020
However, there is also plenty left to appreciate. The A’s are still tied for the AL lead in wins, and home-field advantage in the postseason will be valuable no matter how you get there and even if you’re not actually playing at home amid a pandemic bubble — you still want to bat last in any game.
Furthermore, Montas is physically fine after the upper back tightness that cost him his previous start, and just had a bad day on the mound, reports John Hickey of Sports Illustrated. The lineup has tons of upside remaining, as top stars Matt Chapman (109 wRC+), Matt Olson (107), and Marcus Semien (75) have done some things but haven’t fully gotten going yet — much of this season’s offense has come courtesy of guys no one was expecting much from, like role player Robbie Grossman and injury bounce-back Stephen Piscotty. And Laureano is back! And the bullpen got a day of rest!
Shake this one off and go get ‘em tomorrow. The two teams now travel to Oakland for another pair games at the Coliseum, so the A’s will have their chance at payback. On Wednesday, it’ll be lefty Jesús Luzardo against righty Merrill Kelly at 6:40 p.m. It will very likely be a battery of Kelly-and-Kelly (righty catcher Carson), with two unrelated Marte position players (Ketel and Starling).