It was a Friday full of fireworks as the A’s and Rays combined for 7 total homeruns that accounted for 10 of the 14 runs.
Looking to bounce back from a rough start where he gave up 3 homers, Ken Waldichuk struggled once again, this time against Tampa Bay. And those struggles proved even more costly this time.
Multiple Rays teed off on Waldichuk’s as he left fastball after fastball up the middle. Fortunately, 3 of the 4 homers he allowed were solo shots from Harold Ramirez, Manuel Margot, and former A’s backup catcher Christian Bethancourt. But a grand slam from Isaac Paredes in the bottom of the 2nd inning more than doubled those runs and put the game nearly out of reach for the Oakland early in the game.
Waldichuk ended up exiting in the third, forcing Adam Oller to act essentially as a piggyback starter. He mopped up nicely, throwing more pitches and innings, ending up with 5 innings of one-run ball that prevented a blowout. Outside of a solo homer from Wander Franco, he pitched about as well as you could expect from your swingman. With Blackburn on the mend, Oller made a strong case for staying on the big-league roster once Sears presumably gets pushed into his swingman role.
The A’s bats weren’t slouching either as they scored 4 runs with a couple of homers. “On-base” Jace Peterson knocked in the first run of the game in the top of the 2nd, hitting an RBI groundball single up the middle that scored Seth Brown. Surprisingly, the speedy Ramon Laureano got thrown out at home after a laser throw from Rays center fielder Jose Siri.
After the aforementioned grand slam however, the A’s were down 6-1 by the next inning. Ryan Noda, who got promoted to the 2-spot in the lineup for this game, wasn’t having it and blasted a solo shot to right-center. The Legend of Ryan Noda continues.
Rule 5 pick Ryan Noda with another bomb pic.twitter.com/hQ0SWqGOTc— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) April 7, 2023
Aledmys Diaz, back at shortstop today, kept things going in the 5th with an RBI ground-rule double. Esteury Ruiz scored the run after singling to start the inning and, of course, stealing second with ease. His speed continues to make a difference for the A’s on both sides of the ball.
Oakland’s 4th run came on Shea Langeliers’ first homerun of the year, which was pulled deep to left field on a middle-in slider. The ball jumped off his bat with a 111.6 mph exit velocity and travelled 440 ft. Give us more of these, Shea.
Shea Langeliers DESTROYED this ball pic.twitter.com/RPZVBPsNbv— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) April 8, 2023
The A’s tried to rally back in the 9th inning, even scoring a 5th run on a Tony Kemp RBI single. But alas, the A’s led the inning with two straight strikeouts, so by time they were ready to strike, no opportunities were left.
This eventful but ultimately fruitless loss puts Oakland at 2-5 for the year and leaves them in last place in the AL West. The A’s will hope to turn things around tomorrow with Shintaro Fujinami squaring off against the Rays’ Jeffrey Springs.