The Oakland A’s have endured some tough losses on their latest road trip, but at least they’ll leave Arlington on a winning note.
The A’s got back on track Wednesday with a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers, salvaging a split of their four-game series against the last-place opponent. Oakland took an early lead and received another quality start from their rotation, and the bullpen bounced back from a blown save the previous night to seal the victory this afternoon.
In four of their first six games on this trip, the A’s scored in the 1st inning, and they did it again today. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson both singled, and then Ramon Laureano doubled home Chapman.
But that wasn’t all. With runners on second and third, Chad Pinder knocked an RBI groundout and Jed Lowrie singled in one more. By the time the A’s took the field for defense, they were leading 3-0.
In the 4th, Lowrie struck again with a solo homer. That’s his first dinger in two weeks, and only his third since the beginning of May.
Oakland got one more freebie in the 7th. Aramis Garcia singled, Tony Kemp doubled to send Garcia to third, and a wild pitch allowed him to score.
Juuuuust a bit high pic.twitter.com/4OOrCVDhFH— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) June 24, 2021
The A’s averaged five runs per game on the first six dates of this road trip, and today it was enough for a win because both the rotation and bullpen also held strong.
ABC: Ace Bassitt, Chris
At this point, Chris Bassitt has become a nearly guaranteed quality start every time he takes the mound. In his first 15 outings, nine met the definition of quality and four more just missed by a run or an inning. Ten times he’s allowed exactly two runs, and never more than four.
Today was even better than usual, as he cut that run total down to one. The Rangers couldn’t figure him out at all, as they only hit the ball hard twice against him in seven innings. His control wavered at times, with three walks and a HBP and some long counts along the way, but otherwise Texas had no answers against him.
- Bassitt: 7 ip, 1 run, 4 Ks, 3 BB, HBP, 104 pitches, 78.7 mph EV
I’ve been including the average exit velocities allowed by the starter in each game recap this season, and that’s the first time I can remember seeing one below 80 mph. Usually they’re closer to 90 mph. That’s a lotta weak contact.
The bullpen finished off the rest without drama. Well, without too much drama, as Jake Diekman (8th inning) and Lou Trivino (9th inning) each allowed a leadoff single but then settled down to retire three in a row. Trivino got some help from Kemp with this running catch in the left-center gap.
Unfortunately, the afternoon came with a bit of bad news. Kemp started on the bench but had to come in mid-game because Mark Canha exited with a hip strain, reports insider Justice delos Santos. Canha will have an MRI on Friday.
Back to the Bay
The A’s dropped two of three in New York, but could just as easily have swept the Yankees. They could have won three of four in Arlington, even after getting thumped in the opener, but they settled for a split. Now they head back to the Bay Area, but not quite home, as first they’ll cross the bridge to visit the Giants.
The last week could have gone a lot better, but at least today was a refreshing example of what it looks like when it goes according to plan. Even in most of the recent losses, they played 90% of a good game but just did one thing wrong to scuttle it. There’s work to do to get back to first place and stay there, but we always knew it would be a six-month dogfight with the Astros in the AL West division and we’re only approaching the halfway point. Just keep riding that wave.
Elvis has left the building
One final detail from the first trip to Texas this summer: In his return to his old longtime home, Elvis Andrus went 5-for-17 and had a few highlights on defense, including this glove-flip double play.