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Game #22: A’s rocked by Cleveland

A’s swept at home

Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics
Tough season debut for Kap
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

I fell asleep twice during this game.

The Oakland A’s got rocked by the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday afternoon. They almost got shut out but managed a few runs at the end, taking a 7-3 loss and completing a weekend in which they were swept at home.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

The day began with good news, as pitcher James Kaprielian was activated from the injured list to make the start for his season debut. However, it turned out to be a short outing for Kap, who still showed some rust to be shaken off. He battled through the first two innings with just one quick run crossing the plate, but in the 3rd he walked his first three batters to load the bases and was removed. All three of those runners later scored.

  • Kaprielian: 2+ ip, 4 runs, 2 Ks, 4 BB, 3 hits, 57 pitches

After missing spring training and getting his warmups in the minors last month, let’s give Kap a mulligan for this one and see how he looks next time.

In the meantime, though, today’s game was in jeopardy. The bullpen came in for emergency duty but couldn’t stop the barrage, as Jacob Lemoine inherited three runners from Kaprielian in the 3rd inning and allowed all of them to score, and then some. By the end of the 4th the Guardians led 6-0, and they added one more tally in the 6th for good measure. Oakland’s relievers settled down from there, with Justin Grimm and Adam Kolarek combining to breeze through the final 11 outs, but the damage was already done.

On the other side of the ball, the A’s lineup had no answers against Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie. They scattered a few runners but didn’t reach second base until the 7th inning, and through eight frames they still hadn’t scored.

Oakland at least avoided the shutout in the 9th inning. A pair of walks set the scene, and Christian Bethancourt drilled a liner off the very top of the tall wall in left field — it was nearly a homer but he settled for an RBI double. Chad Pinder followed with a sac fly to drive home a run, and Kevin Smith slashed a double for another RBI. The knocks by Bethancourt and Smith were the hardest-hit exit velocities of the day by either team.

It was too little too late to climb back into the game, but at least it was a high note to end on amid a deflating loss and a frustrating series sweep at home.

There will be losses like this during a rebuilding season. The bummer about this one is some excuses were supposed to be gone today, with the full lineup returned from various brief April absences, and the final expected starting pitcher back from the injured list. Instead it was one of the most thorough defeats of the year, on both sides of the ball. Worst of all, it was boring. I wasn’t kidding when I said I fell asleep twice.

Shake this one off and go get ‘em next time. Still five months of season to go!