Derek Norris was just the first part of a perhaps much larger shake up. (Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE)

A's Comeback Falls Short, Season Again At A Crossroads

I haven’t quite decided which of these two losses to the Giants is more heartbreaking, in both cases they had leads into the later innings that could not be held, and in Saturday’s game an improbable and dare I say epic comeback almost literally fell a foot short of happening.  The ball in question was off the bat of newly called up shortstop Brandon Hicks (Yes, another Brandon.  That makes 4) on a ball that had it travelled just one foot further, may have bounced against the wall and cleared the bases thus tying the game, but instead it bounced over it and Brandon Moss was sent back to 3rd base.  The comeback fell short when Jemile Weeks couldn’t drive in the tying run from 3rd and Ryan Theriot was able to run down his pop up.

The A’s once again find their season on the brink of falling into hopelessness.  I can’t explain the phenomenon that causes the A’s to consistently shoot themselves in the foot on the biggest stages, in the biggest moments.  But it always finds its way into the minds of the A’s players.  The end result is losses, often in brutal fashion.

These two losses alone aren’t enough to cause the A’s to waive the white flag by any means, but the momentum that had been built up over the previous 3 series has been completely lost.  And just like after the 9 game losing streak, this is a blow that the A’s may not be able to recover from.

As was discussed yesterday, top catching prospect Derek Norris was brought to the big leagues for the first time.  The A’s hope his bat can provide some offense from a position that has been as close to an automatic out as we’ve seen in some time with the struggles of Kurt Suzuki.  Norris was solid in Triple A, but not spectacular, so I have doubts about the true impact of his presence.  That said, I agree with the idea of shaking things up and perhaps lighting a fire under Suzuki to get his bat going.

The DL has also unfortunately come into play in the last 24 hours, rather prominently in fact.  Bartolo Colon was officially placed on the DL after his oblique strain from last Sunday, Tyson Ross has returned to Oakland to fill his spot in the rotation.  Ross will occupy that spot until Bartolo returns, which could be around the All Star break.

The troublesome shoulder of Brandon McCarthy reared its ugly head again today as some light throwing before tomorrow’s scheduled start did not go smoothly.  This time it won’t be simply a skipped start, he’s been added to the DL as well.  One would assume that everyone’s favorite Quadruple A pitcher Graham Godfrey would be taking his place, but that assumption would be incorrect.  Instead 24 year old right hander AJ Griffin will make his major league debut in the finale of the 2012 Bay Bridge Series as the A’s try to salvage their final interleague game.  Griffin has excelled this season in Double and Triple A, and while his call up may be somewhat premature it isn’t outrageously so.

Griffin will have a rather tall task ahead of him if he’s to emerge victorious in his debut, he has to beat the Giants true ace in Matt Cain.  Cain has put everything together this year just as the Giants gave him a huge contract extension, and he threw the first perfect game in the franchise’s history as well.  It’s hard to imagine the A’s mustering much offense against Cain, but I didn’t expect much against Bumgarner either and they did put up 4 runs against him so stranger things have happened.  At this point, it can’t get much worse, so the optimist in me figures it has to go up from here… right?

Tags: Oakland Athletics

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