Tonight’s game was shaping up to be a pretty exciting pitchers duel between two talented young starters (Jarrod Parker and Trevor Cahill) who had been traded for one another this past offseason. Through the first 4 1/2 innings, it was exactly that, with each starter only surrendering a single run. Then the wheels came off the duel in the bottom of the 5th inning, and unfortunately it was on the Athletics side of the car.
TURNING POINT: The first blow came in the form of an RBI double off the bat of Justin Upton. An intentional walk to Jason Kubel, and a strike out of Paul Goldschmidt later, Miguel Montero blasted a grand slam over the pool in right center field. It would’ve seemed like a tremendously painful gut punch, if the A’s hadn’t suffered the heartbreak of last night’s walk off.
ON THE HILL: Jarrod Parker once again struggled with his command, but it seemed that home plate umpire Tim McClelland was giving Parker a little bit of the rookie treatment. The A’s battery of Parker and Kurt Suzuki were none too happy about it, and Manager Bob Melvin argued their point and got heaved for his efforts. Whether Parker’s command issues would have reared their ugly head tonight anyway is a question we can’t answer, but either way his 5 innings of work allowing 8 hits, 5 ER, 5 walks, and 4 strikeouts were simply ugly looking.
AT THE PLATE: Each position player in the starting lineup managed to reach base via the walk or a basehit tonight, the A’s reached double digits in hits as well, they just couldn’t cash in when they needed it. Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington led the charge, if you could call it that, with 2 hits and 3 hits each respectively.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The optimism created by the series win against the Texas Rangers is long gone, the A’s have been overmatched in the first two games against the DBacks. It appears as if they are inching toward the bullpen we all want, and that is having Ryan Cook as the team’s closer, after Brian Fuentes’ implosion last night, the A’s will use the dreaded closer by committee strategy for now. One can only assume that will be shelved once every member of that committee not named Ryan Cook continues to get shelled. Alas, we move along to the finale of this series as the A’s attempt to salvage a game. Travis Blackley (0-1, 3.45 ERA), he of the 8 year winless streak takes on former division foe Joe Saunders (3-4, 3.65 ERA). Saunders is a very hittable pitcher, and the A’s absolutely must take out some frustration from this disastrous weekend on him, it is a must.