Yes, the very same Vin Mazzaro who whined his way out of Oakland, no matter what A’s brass might tell you. The same Vin Mazzaro who was tagged for 14 ER on May 16, 2011 by the Cleveland Indians. That’s the Vin Mazzaro who re-silenced the A’s bats Sunday afternoon for their 11th time being shutout in 2012. Most fans at least had some sense of relief after the 9-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, it’s safe to say that relief is long gone Sunday. That is not to say that the A’s did not have their opportunities to get on the board, including a bases loaded situation in the top of the 1st. The A’s have a serious problem on their hands, and there seems to be no solution.
TURNING POINT: The most heartbreaking missed opportunity had to be the top of the 5th inning. After an Adam Rosales walk, and a Collin Cowgill single, Cliff Pennington sacrificed the two runners to 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Josh Reddick, the only potent offensive weapon the A’s have had all season came up with a chance to give the A’s the lead. He flew out to Alex Gordon in foul territory who promptly threw Rosales out at home on an ill advised attempt to score, ending the inning. It was at that point it became evident the A’s were going to have a hard time getting any runs at all.
ON THE HILL: Tommy Milone has struggled on the road so far this season, he changed that today, pitching 7 very strong innings allowing only 2ER, which unfortunately was enough to lose. He scattered 8 hits and a walk, and had the strikeout pitch working fairly well, notching half a dozen K’s. The A’s have to be encouraged by the lefty’s performance today, and hope he can continue his progress. Andrew Carignan gave up a couple base hits, but threw a double play ball to keep the Royals off the board.
AT THE PLATE: This is where the recap gets depressing, as has been the case most days recently. Aside from 2-hit days by Collin Cowgill and Josh Reddick, the A’s box score looks pretty empty. Cowgill’s 2 hits extended his hitting streak to 6 games, and he has gone 11-20 in that stretch. At this point he deserves a chance to play until his bat quiets down, somebody has to be in there who can hit the ball. On the dark side, Cliff Pennington is utterly lost at the plate right now now in the depths of an 0-28 nosedive. His AVG has plummeted to a very disheartening .189. The A’s are in danger of having a historically bad offense this year, and there may not be much that can be done to change that.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It would have been nice to steal this series from the Royals on the heels of the 9 game losing streak, at the very least the A’s could have gone into the 4 game series with the Texas Rangers coming off a win, but it was not meant to be. It’s hard to not expect the A’s to be on another 5 game losing streak by the time the 2-time defending AL champs leave Oakland. They’ve stumbled a bit recently just as the Angels have gotten rolling, so they may very well be frustrated and in need of some baseball venting, and the A’s could be the victims of that. Jarrod Parker takes the mound for the A’s tomorrow night back in Oakland, he carries a 1-2 record with a 2.88 ERA into his matchup with Scott Feldman who is winless so far this year with 3 losses and a 4.50 ERA. He has failed to last 5 innings in any of his 4 starts in 2012, the A’s hope to keep that streak alive. This is easily the most winnable game of the series, and it is imperative that the Athletics take advantage of the opportunity.