The Oakland A’s bullpen didn’t allow any runs on Sunday! But their starter got rocked and their own lineup didn’t score much.
The A’s went quietly in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers at the Coliseum. Right when Oakland needs to get hot to have any chance at the postseason, they dropped a series at home to a last-place opponent.
It was yet another one-run loss in a summer full of them. Lately the recurring nightmare for the A’s has been taking an early lead and then blowing it in the late innings, but this afternoon went differently. Instead they fell behind early, then tried to make a comeback but couldn’t catch up.
Texas did all their scoring against starter James Kaprielian. A long rally in the 3rd brought home three runs, and an RBI triple in the 4th added another, leading to a quick hook for the right-hander.
- Kaprielian: 3⅔ ip, 4 runs, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 8 hits, 70 pitches, 91.3 mph EV
The rookie is far past his professional career-high in innings, and this is his third start in a row of four frames or fewer. On the bright side he missed a lot of bats (20% of his pitches), but the Rangers earned their hits with plenty of hard contact.
The slumping bullpen would need to work overtime again, and today they got the job done. Daulton Jefferies, the team’s top starting prospect, took the long relief role and went 3⅓ innings, keeping Texas off the board through the 7th. Jake Diekman and Lou Trivino each chipped in a scoreless frame, giving the A’s lineup all the time they needed to battle back into the game.
- Jefferies: 3⅓ ip, 0 runs, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 3 hits, 52 pitches, 92.3 mph EV
Unfortunately, Oakland only managed five hits of their own all day. They began the 1st inning with two singles but were stopped by a double play, and then 11 straight batters were retired before Yan Gomes hit a homer leading off the 5th.
The A’s next five batters went down in order, but they struck again with two outs in the 6th. Starling Marte reached on an infield single and as usual made himself a pest on the bases, getting all the way to third on a steal and an error — he went too early and the pitcher spun around for an easy play at second, only to throw the ball wide and into center field.
On the next pitch, Matt Olson went deep for a two-run homer.
The definition of an Oly pic.twitter.com/2MNsmWUgLy— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 12, 2021
That cut the Rangers lead down to 4-3, but Oakland never mustered the final push they needed to get over the top. Nine of their next 10 batters were retired, with just a leadoff walk in the 8th that was erased in a double play.
Another close loss
Yesterday the lineup and rotation were good but the bullpen faltered, and today the bullpen was good but the lineup and rotation faltered. So goes the 2021 season for the A’s. They’re now three games out of a Wild Card spot with 19 to play.