I’m growing rather tired of feeling like a the world’s most pessimistic baseball fan. But that’s what happens when your team loses 8 of 9 games, and turns a AL best 12-4 record into a pedestrian 13-12 record. With today’s 7-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles, the Oakland Athletics have not only lost this 4 game series but now find themselves in danger of falling back to .500 after their scorching hot start. It was poor defense that led to Friday night’s loss, coupled with a complete lack of offense. Today though, it was just a lack of clutch hitting for the Athletics as the Orioles cruised to the victory.
The packed O.co Coliseum crowd was treated to a nice pregame ceremony featuring members of the 1973 World Series Championship team, including Mr. October himself Reggie Jackson. Roy Steele and Monte Moore emceed the festivities, which was great to hear. Each of the A’s greats were accompanied by current players out to their positions, and it was a great scene in Oakland. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there.
A.J. Griffin appeared to be on his game, he had retired 8 straight Orioles after a bunt single in the first inning by Manny Machado. But, Machado led off the 4th inning with a walk within the next 6 pitches the Orioles would have the lead on a Nick Markakis 2-run home run followed by an Adam Jones solo shot. Another walk, this time to Chris Davis would lead to the 4th run of the inning on an RBI single by J.J. Hardy. Griffin would settle back down after that, working through the 7th inning while only allowing one more baserunner. In the end, his line was 7 innings, 5 hits, 4 ER, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts in the losing effort.
The A’s offense might as well be renamed Josh Donaldson. The so-named “Bringer of Rain” has had a sizzling bat lately, but unfortunately for the Athletics he’s all alone in that club at the moment. Donaldson went 4-4 in today’s game and drove in 2 of the A’s 3 runs scored. He has raised his season average up to .318 and has continued to play very good defense at the hot corner. I was very skeptical that Donaldson would be able to continue his success from last season, but he appears to have solidified himself at the major league level for now. Josh Reddick supplied the other run on a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning. John Jaso reached base 3 times with base hits, but never touched home plate. The Athletics left 10 runners stranded on the base paths today, and went a paltry 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. When you don’t hit in those situations, as the A’s have for much of the season thus far, you can’t expect to win games. Jed Lowrie came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning, representing the tying run, but grounded into a routine 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Hopefully this is the last time we see Lowrie in the cleanup spot with the impending return of Yoenis Cespedes tomorrow.
The A’s now look to simply salvage a game in this series as Bartolo Colon (3-0, 2.42 ERA) takes on Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.13 ERA). The series itself has to be an afterthought though for the Athletics, they just need a win any way they can get it. With Cespedes expected back in the lineup, the A’s offense will hopefully gain a big boost from having their best hitter back in the fold. Cespedes struggled pretty badly during the first couple weeks of the season, so hopefully he comes back with an improved approach and the results improve as well. The silver lining is that with the hot start the A’s did have, they’re still above .500 right now. They did create a margin for error, they just didn’t intend to use it so soon. Change all your daily routines folks, we need to get the A’s a win by any means necessary.