Oakland lost the first game out of the All-Star break 7-2 to the Detroit Tigers.
The starting pitching in this matchup was solid for both teams, but the Tigers played a cleaner game on defense than Oakland did. If you give extra outs to a major-league club, they’ll take advantage. It’s also hard to win when you only get five hits.
Logue solid, defense not
Making his second start against the Tigers this year, Logue looked good early, striking out the first batter of the second half to get things rolling. He only allowed a walk in the first two innings.
His only real trouble inning today came in the third. After a pair of singles put runners at the corners, former Athletic Robbie Grossman launched a ball into left field. It was catchable, but Chad Pinder got spun around trying to make the play and let the ball drop on the warning track, bringing in both runs. It looked like he was fighting the sun, but it was definitely a play he could and should have made.
Logue bounced back for a 1-2-3 fourth and got the first two out in the fifth before a two-out single broke up that streak. Logue induced a grounder that should have ended the inning but Sheldon Neuse let the ball go right under his glove to center field for an error to put runners at the corners again. And again, Grossman came up and stung the A’s, flaring a ball to center. Skye Bolt made a valiant effort on the play but came up just short, bringing in the third run for the Tigers.
The rookie didn’t allow any more damage after that, finishing the inning and pitching a 1-2-3 sixth to wrap up his day.
- Zach Logue: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 92 pitches
That's back-to-back solid starts from the rookie and some better defense probably keeps all three runs off the board. Yes, it’s the Tigers and they’re as bad on offense as Oakland, but that’s now a couple spot starts that Logue has been effective in. If a certain starting pitcher gets traded in the next two weeks, there’ll be more opportunities for him later in the season and he’s setting himself up for that chance with these performances.
Bats quiet against Skubal
It was more of the same that we’ve seen from the lineup today, continuing their struggles from the first half against Detroit starter Tarik Skubal. The A’s couldn’t get anything going against him through the first four innings, with their only baserunner coming on a walk to Sean Murphy. They struck out 7 times in the first four frames.
Their first hit came all the way in the fifth and they had a little help from the sun on a popup by Seth Brown. He smartly kept running and ended up at second, a wild pitch moved him to third and Stephen Piscotty hit a ball to left that required a diving catch to make. Piscotty was robbed of a hit but not the RBI. Brown came in to score for Oakland’s first run:
Piscotty gets the A's scoring started pic.twitter.com/UpcBx85J33— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 21, 2022
Just like that, the no-hitter and shutout were both gone. Of note, they probably don’t score that run if Brownie isn’t running hard on that popup. The little things like that matter a lot in baseball and a struggling team like the A’s need to execute those small things to give themselves a leg up.
Oakland put the go-ahead run on in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a single and Murphy’s second walk of the day. Pinder came up with a chance to redeem himself from his misplay in left earlier in the game, but grounded out to end the inning and the threat.
Late game scoring
Both teams turned to their bullpens after getting six innings from their starters, and both teams hit leadoff home runs in the seventh. Righty Domingo Tapia was first out of the ‘pen for the A’s and he allowed a solo home run to Jeimer Candelario.
For the A’s, with Skubal finally out of the game, the bats began to perk up. Brownie got his second hit of the day, a bomb to left-center to cut the deficit to 4-2:
That blast sparked an Oakland rally. Piscotty drew a four-pitch walk the very next batter, and Vimael Machin lined a hard-hit one-out single up the middle to put runners at the corners. In fact, it was hit so hard that Piscotty probably scores if the ball is hit a little softer.
With the tying run on base and one out, and with Skubal out of the game, it felt like the wind was at the Green & Gold’s backs. The rally died when Nick Allen and Skye Bolt struck out back-to-back though, stranding the runners. That would be their best and final chance to tie this game as they managed just one more single in the eighth and ninth innings.
Detroit got a pair of runs off of Kirby Snead in the ninth to pad their lead and ensure no comeback attempt from the good guys in game 1.
So, not the best start to the second half, but at least the club won’t have to wait long for another chance at their first second-half win. Game 2 starts just 30 minuites after the final pitch of this game. It’ll be Frankie Montas making his return from injury in what could be his final start for the Oakland A’s. Stick around to see how it goes!