Tonight was simply not a good night for Tommy Milone and the Oakland Athletics. The Texas Rangers knocked Milone around and jettisoned him from the game in the fourth inning, and never looked back. This further illustrates a problem I brought up a couple weeks ago that there is a weak link in the middle of the Athletics starting rotation, the culprits I singled out were A.J. Griffin, and Tommy Milone. Both of them have been prone to giving up the long ball, Griffin more than anyone in baseball, but Milone isn’t far behind. Members of a starting rotation commonly have internal competitions between pitchers, but this isn’t the kind of competition you want to see.
The frustrating part about this game was that the Athletics got on the board first on the back of a two-run double by Brandon Moss. They made Rangers starter Alexi Ogando throw a ton of pitches in the first inning, and he was clearly not on top of his game, but they failed to make him pay for his ineffectiveness. Ogando threw 92 pitches in just 4 innings, walked 5, and allowed just the double to Moss, and an RBI double to Coco Crisp in the fourth inning. The A’s had a big chance in the third inning as well, but the slumping Josh Donaldson grounded into an inning ending 5-4-3 double play. This would be as close as the A’s would get to being in this game.
Milone negated the A’s rally in the first inning by allowing a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz in the top of the second inning. An RBI ground out by Adrian Beltre, and an RBI single by A.J. Pierzynski in the third inning, and a two-run home run to Jurickson Profar in the 4th inning would make for a short night for the left hander. In 3.2 innings, Milone would allow 9 hits, 6 ER, and strike out two. He didn’t walk a batter, so that’s good news. Milone has now allowed 22 home runs on the season and sports a 4.39 ERA.
Dan Otero absorbed the bulk of the innings left on the table by Milone, he pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 ER) on 3 hits. No doubt his work should be appreciated as he preserved most of the bullpen. Jerry Blevins and Pat Neshek worked scoreless innings also.
The offense once again struggled in big situations, they left 10 runners on base. Brandon Moss had the best night, going 2-4 with the 2 RBI on the first inning double. Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Donaldson each collected hits as well, and Eric Sogard‘s 9th inning single extended his career high hitting streak to nine games. The team walked a total of seven times, and was not able to turn that number of baserunners into runs on the board.
This loss brings the Rangers to within 2.5 games of first place in the AL West. They have made up 3.5 games in the standings in the last 4 days. The A’s will once again attempt to snap this growing losing streak as Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.07 ERA) takes on the newly acquired Matt Garza (7-1, 2.95 ERA). Garza threw 8 strong innings against the A’s as a member of the Chicago Cubs a month ago, and will look to repeat that performance tomorrow afternoon. The game will be featured on the Fox national broadcast, chosen by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver so they could take a look at two teams they just might see come October. This is a must-win game for the A’s, as losing will put them in serious risk of losing their grip on first place in the division.