For the first time in what seems like quite a while, tonight’s game against the Seattle Mariners was never really much of a contest. Jason Vargas was on his game tonight and the A’s really didn’t have a chance against him. On the other hand, Jarrod Parker was simply not himself tonight. For the first time since his debacle at AT&T Park against the Giants Parker failed to get through 5 innings. The Mariners didn’t waste much time attacking Parker, scoring in the first inning on a catastrophic misplay in center field by Coco Crisp. John Jaso hit a line drive right at Coco who attempted to make a sliding catch, the ball skipped by Crisp and went all the way to the wall. Had it not been the catcher running the bases he might have made it all the way home. It was ruled a single and two bases on the error, but it set the tone for the rest of the game.
TURNING POINT: Jarrod Parker was trying to nurse his way through 5 innings, and got within an out of doing so until Ichiro Suzuki started the rally with a single. Ichiro stole second base, and Michael Saunders walked and Bob Melvin had seen enough. Jarrod Parker’s night was over and Jerry Blevins was called upon to put out the fire, but rather than do that he stoked the flame with another walk, then Kyle Seager came to the plate. Seager promptly cleared the bases with a double in the gap that banged off the wall. That put the game out of reach at 7-1 in favor of the Mariners.
ON THE HILL: Jarrod Parker was incredibly shaky tonight, and as he would tell Susan Slusser he was “embarrassed” by his performance. This was only the 3rd time he has allowed more than 2 runs in a start, and strangely enough each of those times he allowed 6 runs (5 earned tonight). He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks in his 4.2 innings of work, he also struck out 6 in the process so not all was bad. Jerry Blevins retired just 1 batter, but walked a batter and allowed a 3 run double to Kyle Seager. Travis Blackley worked 3 scoreless innings while allowing just 1 hit and 3 strikeouts, Blackley was just getting some work in after his start this weekend was skipped due to some back pain. Evan Scribner worked a scoreless 9th, allowing just a single hit.
AT THE PLATE: The A’s had the double play ball working real well, unfortunately it was hitting into them that they did so well and not inducing them. Jemile Weeks hit into 2, and Brandon Hicks and Josh Reddick each had one of their own. On the bright side though Josh Reddick cracked his 20th home run of the season in the first inning, he added another hit with a 9th inning single. Coco Crisp did everything he could to make amends for his 1st inning gaffe with 3 base knocks on the night, unfortunately he was wiped out on some of those double play balls.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Welp, I made the point last night that it was important for the A’s to win this game if they did indeed want to go into the All Star break with a .500 record because it certainly doesn’t get easier tomorrow. Bartolo Colon (6-7, 4.05 ERA) will close out the first half of the season against one of the toughest pitchers in all of baseball, and one who has been particularly tough on the A’s over the years, Felix Hernandez (6-5, 3.26 ERA). He hasn’t been his usual dominant self this year, but he can still shut down any lineup on any given day. The A’s seemed to lose all patience tonight as the Mariners put runs on the board, they will need to be willing to pursue the simple base hits and not try to take every pitch Felix throws out of the ballpark. If they don’t reign themselves in, King Felix will make quick work of the Athletics tomorrow.