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A’s shut out in 5th straight loss

Luis Medina had a solid second start but it wasn’t enough to match Nathan Eovaldi’s near-complete game.

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

5 for them, 1 for us. That seems to be the Oakland A’s philosophy towards winning ballgames this season.

The A’s definitely were given a chance to win this game. Luis Medina, fresh off another callup, was much improved in his second major league start. After giving 7 earned runs in 5 innings his last time out, the top prospect did just enough today to secure a quality start. On top of delivering 6 innings of 3-run ball, he didn’t allow a single walk. That’s huge for a guy whose primary obstacle has been his lack of pitch control. It seems he’s been working his slider into his pitch mix more though, which he has better command of. He really efficiently cruised through the first half of the ball game, too. He only needed 25 pitches to get through his first 3 innings and didn’t allow a baserunner until the 4th.

Surprisingly though, he only had 3 strikeouts. In his minor league career, he’s totaled close to 11 strikeouts per 9 and, despite his struggles last time, he still struck out 6 hitters. But maybe he’s learning to dial back his pitches to focus more on getting them to the right spots. Even though a big part of his pedigree is his near-triple-digit power and strikeout ability, he may end up being a more effective pitcher at a lower velocity.

In his last 2 innings, his command began to regress a bit, leading to a few hits and a few runs. First, in the top of the 5th, Medina gave up a leadoff single to rookie Josh Jung before moving him to 2nd base on a wild pitch with 1 out. He came back hot striking out Ezequiel Duran on just 4 pitches, a diverse mix that included his curveball, slider, and a 95 mph four-seamer. Leody Taveras, however, was able to get lumber on his fastball, grounding the ball up the middle to drive Jung in and make it a 1-0 game.

The next inning, he allowed what seems like a bonafide tradition every time the A’s and Rangers face off: a Marcus Semien homerun. Luckily, it was to lead off the inning and only added up one more run to the board. Another former Athletic, Robbie Grossman, kept the rally going with a double before he advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice fly. Medina then threw another wild pitch to allow Grossman to score. 3-0, Rangers.

On offense, the A’s had nothing going. The only baserunners they could get were the usual suspects: Esteury Ruiz and Brent Rooker. Every night, it seems like these two are the only players you can trust to try to make something happen, with some cameos from Carlos Perez and Ryan Noda here and there. They even tried to get something going late in the 9th.

With Nathan Eovaldi one out away from a complete game shutout, dominating the A’s with 13 strikeouts and allowing just 2 baserunners up to that point, Ruiz knocked a 2-out double to left field. He then, on his 113rd pitch of the night, allowed a walk to Ryan Noda, putting the tying run in the On Deck circle. That ended his night and Rangers manager Bruce Bochy went to Will Smith to finish the game against Rooker. With 4 pitches, he struck Rooker out, sealing the Rangers’ 23rd win and the A’s 31st loss.

Oakland will look to end the losing streak (again) tomorrow in game 2 of the four-game series with Ken Waldichuk facing off against Martin Perez.