One run on five hits. Another quiet day for the Oakland A’s lineup.
The A’s lost 6-1 to the Houston Astros on Sunday, wrapping up their weekend series at the Coliseum.
Oakland just never got anything going today. They at least reached base in six different innings, but they never put multiple runners on at once, and they only got into scoring position three times. That futility has become all too familiar of a story this summer.
One bright side was Vimael Machin, who batted in the leadoff spot for just the second time this year. He singled in his first at-bat to begin the game, and then later in the 8th inning he blasted a solo homer. That’s his first career MLB dinger, and it proved to be the A’s only run this afternoon.
First career homer for Vimael Machín pic.twitter.com/F9rSFbHdhH— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 10, 2022
Otherwise, there was nothing doing. A single in the 3rd was picked off, a double in the 4th was stranded, and a walk in the 5th and a single in the 7th didn’t lead to anything. Their three hardest-hit balls of the day went for loud outs at triple-digit exit velocities, including this 110.5 mph dart by Seth Brown that went directly into the pitcher’s glove.
Seth Brown got absolutely robbed by Jake Odorizzi pic.twitter.com/NdvbDIArLS— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) July 10, 2022
They got some hustle on the bases from Skye Bolt, with mixed results. He was the only other Oakland hitter besides Machin to reach base twice today, with a single in the 3rd and a walk in the 5th, and both times it led to excitement on the paths. After his single he was picked off first base (d’oh!), and after his walk he stole second and moved to third on an errant throw from the catcher (woohoo!), though he was ultimately stranded there (aww).
Bolt provided a clinic in the pros and cons of aggressive baserunning. He got picked off because he was taking too big a lead, and while it took an absolutely perfect throw plus a successful replay challenge to get him, there’s just no excuse for getting nabbed off first base by a right-handed pitcher. However, on his steal attempt in the 5th, the catcher made a great throw and had him beat, and the only reason he was safe was that the infielder missed the ball and it bounced away. You could call that good luck, but sometimes you create your own luck by hustling and forcing the opponent to make plays.
On the pitching side, Cole Irvin tossed a quality start. The Astros ambushed him with a pair of doubles in the 1st inning for a quick run, but he settled down to retire 11 of his next 12 batters through the end of the 4th inning, with only a smattering of hard contact. The 5th inning brought a couple of soft bloop hits for a frustrating second run, but once again the lefty responded by retiring his next five batters.
- Irvin: 6 ip, 2 runs, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 5 hits, 81 pitches
On many days, that performance would earn you a win. But when your own lineup only scores one run per day, it’s an agonizing loss.
The bullpen didn’t improve the situation. Austin Pruitt came in for the 7th and immediately allowed a rally to brew, resulting in three runs. It wasn’t all Pruitt’s fault, as the left side of the infield clanked two grounders that they probably should have converted into outs, but he didn’t help himself by issuing a pair of walks. He stayed in to finish the rest of the game, allowing one more run in the 8th on a solo homer.
This was the 87th game the A’s have played this year, and it was the 32nd time they’ve scored zero or one run. That’s 36.7% of the time, and it’s the primary reason they have the worst record in MLB at 29-58. There were a couple positive takeaways today in Irvin’s pitching and Machin’s first dinger, but the story will stay the same until they find a way to start scoring consistently.
Aiden Piscotty, 15 months old, takes a few swings under the supervision of his father Oakland Athletics' Stephen Piscotty (25) after their MLB game at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, July 10, 2022. #DrumTogether #oaklandathletics pic.twitter.com/uoLF58OBYs— Jose Carlos Fajardo (@jcfphotog) July 10, 2022