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Game #63: A’s struggles continue in 6-1 loss in Boston

At least the bullpen showed up

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The scuffle continues.

The A’s lost the series opener to the Boston Red Sox 6-1, losing for the 15th time in 17 games.

The rookie starting pitcher was rocked hard early and often, and the offense only managed three singles, a trio of walks, and a solo shot from a 37-year-old DH. The bullpen was unscored upon, though!

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

A’s offense goes quiet

After looking like they were waking up a little bit in Cleveland, the bats went cold again on Tuesday night against Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta. Their first baserunner in the third was wiped out on a double play, and a leadoff single from Tony Kemp in the fourth was wasted after a strikeout ended the inning with Kemp on third base.

The A’s again had a scoring opportunity after a two-out walk and single in the fifth, but again couldn’t cash in as Jonah Bride grounded out in his second career at-bat. The rookie went 0-for-3 today in his MLB debut, grounding out in all three plate appearances.

It took most of the game, but Oakland finally got on the board in the eighth thanks to Stephen Vogt, who lead off the frame by pulling a ball over the fence into the Boston bullpen:

That home run was the only run the A’s have scored against Pivetta in 15 innings this year. Good thing they won’t see him again this season.

Boston turned to their bullpen in the ninth, and with Pivetta finally out of the game it looked like the offense woke up a little, getting a walk and infield single to lead off the inning. A flyout and double play ended any thought of a comeback, though.

Starting pitching falters

On the mound starting this game for the A’s in this one was rookie Jared Koenig. Making only his second career start, Boston scored upon the lefty in every inning, collecting single runs in each of the first three frames as the Red Sox were able to string together hits, walks, and productive at-bats consistently. A couple bloops hurt him here and there, but there was also some strong contact, especially on the third inning bomb from DH J.D. Martinez. In all, it’s surprising he didn’t give up more after allowing nine baserunners through three innings.

The big hit for Boston came in the bottom of the fourth after Koenig put the first two on for star third baseman Rafael Devers, who launched a 3-run shot to double the lead and make it 6-0 and prompt manager Mark Kotsay to get Adam Oller throwing in the bullpen. Koenig at least finished the inning, plunking a batter along the way, but his day was done after that as Oller started the fifth.

  • Jared Koenig: 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 96 pitches

He’s now failed to make an out in the fifth inning in each of his two starts. Compared to his first start where he was able to make it through the first three innings unscathed, Boston was all over Koenig from the start. After two below-average starts, it’s fair to wonder if he’ll get another start without a trip back to Triple-A first.

On the plus side of things, the bullpen had a good day. Righty Adam Oller, making his second relief appearance since being recalled from Vegas, pitched a pair of shutout innings, allowing a hit and a pair of walks but keeping Boston off the board. Lou Trivino pitched a scoreless seventh with a pair of strikeouts, and Austin Pruitt had a perfect eighth. In all, the bullpen threw five shutout innings tonight, hopefully a step in the right direction after scuffling during this stretch.

The A’s will try to right the ship tomorrow night, same time and same place. It’ll be James Kaprielian going for the Green & Gold, while the Boston starter has yet to be announced.