Other headlines I played around with before settling on this one:
Charitable A’s Bullpen Donates Win to Fanbase in Need
A’s Can’t Cook Royals Lineup, Cold Bats Need Reheating
Oh No, We Suck Now
God, Like… Why?
Seriously, What the Hell Was That?
But I figured this one really gets across the point more. Every year, there’s one team with a history of struggling that somehow manages to put together a crazy run at the playoffs. In 2012 it was the A’s and the Orioles, in 2013 it was the Pirates and the Indians. This year, it looks like the Royals are going to do it. And god, KC fans deserve it. Wow, they’ve had a terrible few decades.
This loss hurts, a lot. Kansas friggin’ City taking 3/4 would always hurt. To be fair, the Royals have won 18 of 22, and we’ve handed them two of those four losses. So, maybe taking even that one game is a success? Woo, didn’t get 4 game swept. Congrats. Nice job.
The game started off promising, with Samardjiza looking strong and the A’s keeping pace with KC’s run production. Before James Shields was removed, the A’s were up 3-2 on the strength of Josh Reddick’s two extra base hits and Callaspo’s two RBIs. Maybe when Callaspo is your best run-producer, that’s an omen. But still, it looked good.
But then Shark got in a bit of trouble, and was pulled after 6.1 IP and 90 pitches. He looked really good tonight. What ever you do, don’t look at the linescore, the chaos that followed his exit was in no way his fault. The bullpen came in. Dear god, the bullpen.
Ryan Cook came in with one out, runners on 3rd and 2nd, and up 3-2. He would leave after allowing an RBI single, a two-run triple, and a walk. His line: 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER. And that was a guy coming off a 20 IP scoreless streak. Abad came in and struck out Alex Gordon, and the Gregerson came in as BoMel decided to play matchups. Gregerson didn’t exactly do well, allowing a 2 RBI single.
The A’s entered that inning with a 3-2 lead. They left it with a 7-3 deficit and a profound sense of ennui.
The A’s would teAse in the 9th inning, as per usual, but nothing doing. Sogard and Crisp both singled, and Donaldson walked to load the bases versus Greg Holland. Brandon Moss, representing the tying run, swung at the first pitch and flied out to center field. It wasn’t fun.
So, this wasn’t a good series for the A’s. It’s worth remembering that this was the exact same time when the A’s slumped last year, too, and a slump is in no way representative of a team’s true talent level. Those guys who won a ton of games earlier in the year? Those are still the same guys out there. Just because this stretch hurts doesn’t mean that this is who they actually are.
Last year’s slump was much worse anyway. Remember the Astros taking 2/3 in Oakland,with Chris Young coming inches from two consecutive walk-off home runs? That was much worse than even the most annoying Royals team.
And also: the 2013 A’s destroyed the Tigers last year in a four-game set, almost sweeping them. Didn’t matter in the playoffs. Stuff happens in the regular season.
Plus, now we get to face the Braves, who are absolutely ice cold. They’re 3-7 in their last ten. That’ll be nice.