It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
The Oakland A’s were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday, in a 4-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The defeat sealed a sweep at T-Mobile Park, and it was the 12th straight time the A’s have lost to the Mariners dating back to July.
*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***
We had such high hopes entering the season, coming off three straight trips to the playoffs in 2018-20. But Oakland will fall just barely short this year, and it doesn’t help that they lost 15 of their 19 meetings with Seattle including seven in the past 10 days.
Tonight was more of what we’ve seen so much of lately. The lineup only scored on solo homers. The starting pitcher was good, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a tie in the late innings. There was no A’s comeback at the end.
No country for gold hem
Neither team scored for the first five innings tonight. Oakland got on the board in the top of the 6th with a solo homer by Tony Kemp.
This is what we like to call " " @tonykemp | #RiseAndGrind pic.twitter.com/mvAIl6YPhG— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 30, 2021
Unfortunately, the lead only lasted a few minutes, as the A’s defense fell apart in the bottom of the 6th to let Seattle answer back.
Starter Frankie Montas had cruised through the first five innings, but leading off the 6th, second baseman Kemp dropped a routine popup for an error. The next batter struck out, and then Montas induced a tailor-made double play ball but shortstop Josh Harrison clanked it and everybody was safe. It should have been a 1-2-3 frame but instead there were two on with one out, and a double knocked in both unearned runners.
- Montas: 6 ip, 2 runs (0 earned), 7 Ks, 1 BB, 4 hits, 92 pitches, 82.9 mph EV
Perhaps he could have gone seven scoreless if the 6th had gone cleaner, but alas. His seven strikeouts give him 207 for the season, the second-highest total in Oakland history after only Vida Blue in 1971.
Oakland briefly tied the game in the top of the 7th, on a solo homer by Seth Brown.
BROWNIE BLAST @MrBrown_12 | #RiseAndGrind pic.twitter.com/urRzNjVOSl— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 30, 2021
But once again, the Mariners responded right away.
In the bottom of the 7th, a walk, single, and sac fly plated the go-ahead run against Andrew Chafin. In the 8th, Sergio Romo served up a solo homer for insurance.
The A’s finished the evening with five hits and three walks, and went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position.
There was still some hope midway through September, but the Mariners thoroughly sunk that, and now it’s Seattle going on a magical late-season run that has them a half-game out of the Second Wild Card. The A’s will play out the string for three more games and then ride the wave home for the winter.
Third baseman Matt Chapman, who tonight became the first hitter in franchise history ever to strike out 200 times in a season, said the following after the game, via Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News:
“We’re bummed out. We haven’t been playing well over this last month or so. It kind of sucks when we’re playing not very well. We had an opportunity, we just couldn’t get the job done. ...
“We’ve never been eliminated from the playoffs in ‘18,’19, ‘20 in all our full seasons between me, Oly, Chi and some of these guys that have been around here for a while. It sucks to see yourself not be in the playoffs and watch a team kind of rip it out of your hands. ...
“For me, personally, I’m very upset with how I finished the season. I’m capable of more. It hurts when I feel like I could have done more to help this team and when I am playing at the level I usually do, I feel like I can help the team.”
Outfielder Mark Canha added this, via insider Martin Gallegos:
“We didn’t have that magic and the end of the year that we usually have. That’s usually our calling card. We usually come back and win those close games. We’ve historically been good at doing that. We just didn’t have it this year.”
There is no joy in Mudville.
Mark Canha: "We expected to make the postseason this year and not making it is a disappointment."— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) September 30, 2021
On what went wrong: "We didn't baseball well."