The Oakland A’s game Friday night was exclusively broadcast on the AppleTV+ streaming service. It was free to watch, but you needed to sign up for an account, and I’m tired of being bullied into giving out my info to yet another corporation. It would have been easy and free to sign up, but I chose not to.
I don’t like MLB’s strategy of holding games captive to promote their potential sponsorship partners, which is an insult to fans who have already supplied more than our share of patience lately. I already subscribe to YouTubeTV for no other reason than to access live sports, and I also have an MLB.tv account, please don’t make me chase around further.
And so I didn’t watch this game, opting instead to use my pricey YouTubeTV service to space out with some reruns. At least I didn’t miss much, as the hot A’s finally had a chilly night in a quiet 8-1 loss to the Texas Rangers. On the bright side, Mulder and Scully got the bad guy at the end of both episodes, which doesn’t always happen (that’s Fox and Dana, not Mark and Vin).
While my attitude might be cynical, it’s certainly not unique, as it appears to stretch to the stadium’s ticket booth. The announced attendance at the Coliseum was only 7,012 on a Friday night, and that’s the second-highest total out of five dates so far on this homestand. It’s too bad, since the team is off to a wonderful start and they’ve been a lot of fun to watch.
Unfortunately tonight’s game was a bit of a dud, which happens to every baseball team from time to time. Their rookie No. 5 starter got rocked, their usually productive lineup was limited to just two hits, and most of their hard contact found gloves. They fell behind early and never made any kind of move to come back.
The big blow came in the 2nd inning. The Rangers unleashed against starter Adam Oller, smashing a pair of homers and then building another long rally for a total of five runs. A couple former A’s chipped in, as Jonah Heim doubled and Marcus Semien drove him in with a sac fly.
Otherwise, Oller cruised. He made it through five innings, and other than that explosion in the 2nd, he allowed just one other baserunner all night. The damage was already done, but his ability to settle down and stick around for a few more frames stopped it from getting worse.
- Oller: 5 ip, 5 runs, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 2 HR, 5 hits, 88 pitches
Oakland was still within reach if they could put together anything at the plate, but it wasn’t meant to be. Five of their six hardest pieces of contact went for loud outs, including a 112 mph lineout that had a 93% chance of landing.
They did finally scrape together one run in the 4th. Sean Murphy blasted a double, and Seth Brown followed with a double of his own to drive home Murphy. Those were the only two hits for the evening.
The A’s did also draw three walks! Rookie outfielder Cristian Pache got the first of his career, which is a positive development for the rookie outfielder. Fellow rookie outfielder Mickey McDonald also got the first of his career. Sheldon Neuse had the other free pass, which was a change of pace from his usual parade of singles.
Out of the bullpen, lefty Sam Selman did everything he could to buy the lineup time for a comeback. He recorded eight outs, five of them via strikeout, carrying the staff into the 8th inning and keeping the Rangers from extending their lead. However, the rest of the relievers didn’t find the same success in the 9th, and Texas added three runs to put it away.
Beyond that, the most interesting thing about this loss is how unusual it felt. Oakland’s rebuilding club is off to a much better start than expected these past two weeks, and this is arguably the first time it’s seemed like they were never really in it. That’s impressive for a team that was a trendy pick to finish in last place, serving as the bad day that makes us realize how good all the other days have been.
Tomorrow is another day. The A’s will be back in action, and it will be broadcast on TV. They’ll be hungry to bounce back from tonight’s deflating defeat, and their winning record gives reason for optimism. I want to believe.