It’s safe to say the A’s were emphatically outclassed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during this 3 game series in Oakland. But all of that took a distant back seat due to what occurred on the field during the top of the 4th inning. Brandon McCarthy had already allowed 3 runs to the Angels, and had retired the first batter in the 4th inning when Erick Aybar came to bat. Aybar worked the count to 3-1, and on the 5th pitch lined a screamer right back at McCarthy. With literally no time to react it was all McCarthy could do to even slightly turn his head away from the ball. It didn’t hit him in the face thankfully, but it struck the side of his head with a sickening thud and ricocheted all the way to Josh Donaldson at 3rd. Instinctively Donaldson fielded the ball and threw Aybar out at first for the 2nd out. McCarthy fell to the ground, hitting his head just in front of the mound and laid there in almost a fetal position. It was a moment that gave everyone in the Coliseum and all of those watching at home a sick feeling in their stomachs. McCarthy was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power, which was a very encouraging sign. He was taken to a nearby hospital and just recently the A’s released a statement on his status:
“Brandon McCarthy is conscious and doing well. Doctors at Summit Hospital want him to stay overnight for further observation. He will not accompany the team on the charter flight to Seattle tomorrow afternoon.”
After McCarthy exited the game Travis Blackley took over and managed to shut down the Angels for 3 solid innings, allowing just 1 hit and 2 walks without allowing a run. But at that point it seemed abundantly clear that the potent offense the A’s displayed last week was long gone. Dan Haren was shaky at times, and struggled to find the strike zone, but the A’s were unable to make him pay for it. The first chance came in the 3rd inning as Haren walked 2 and Coco Crisp reached on an error to load the bases with 1 out. Seth Smith lined a ball just past Howard Kendrick at 2nd to give the A’s their first run of the game and it appeared they would be poised to put a crooked number on the board. But Josh Reddick struck out on 3 pitches and Yoenis Cespedes grounded out weakly to extinguish the fire. Then in the bottom of the 7th inning the A’s had runners at the corners with 1 out after a walk and a pinch hit single by Brandon Moss, but Coco Crisp and Seth Smith flailed at pitches by youngster Nick Maronde to promptly end that inning.
This game seemed to have shaped up just like last night’s contest, the game was close up until the 9th inning when the Angels busted the game open and the A’s had no shot at a 9th inning comeback.
It was not pretty, but the A’s have not done so much harm to themselves that the season is over. They still have time to get right. Only problem is they’ll have to get right against Felix Hernandez on Friday night, and that is no simple task.
No doubt the A’s will travel to Seattle with not just baseball on their minds as one of their fellow comrades has fallen. There’s no telling how long this injury will put McCarthy on the shelf, or what it will do to his psyche when he returns. But McCarthy has become one of the key members of this team over the last 2 seasons, and has a large contingent of supporters. The message to Brandon when he returns to the mound is exactly what the oft used hashtag by the McCarthy Supporters fan club says, you’ll never pitch alone. Here’s to a quick and full recovery for Brandon McCarthy.