Well, that walk off grand slam from Brandon Inge less than 24 hours ago sure seems far away now. The anemic, incapable Oakland Athletics offense returned this afternoon much to the chagrin of the Athletics faithful. They seemed to have their opportunities to score, but were never able to truly cash in aside from a pair of RBI singles by Jonny Gomes and Josh Reddick. The story ultimately was that every time the A’s tried to begin to chip away at the Blue Jays lead, the Jays would tack on another run. The shutdown inning was not something the A’s pitchers seemed interested in doing today.
TURNING POINT: The top of the 6th inning was the first instance of failing to deliver a shutdown inning, Tyson Ross started the inning, but gave up a 2 out double to Brett Lawrie. Colby Rasmus found a hole and got that run right back for Brandon Morrow and the Jays. That seemed to take the wind out of the Athletics’ sails, and foreshadowed how this game would ultimately play out.
ON THE HILL: Tyson Ross had simply gotten shelled in his previous two outings, giving up a combined 16 ER, so 3 in 5.2 innings doesn’t seem too bad. It wasn’t a quality start, but we have to take it as an encouraging sign especially considering he has been tweaking his delivery recently. Pedro Figueroa allowed the first run of his career in the form of a no doubt solo homer to J.P. Arencibia in the 7th inning, which made the game 4-1 at the time. His fastball was consistently at 95-96 MPH, so the A’s have to be encouraged with the life in his fastball after Tommy John surgery. Jerry Blevins, well he’s been known to be long ball prone, and Edwin Encarnacion reminded him of that in the 8th inning to account for the second failed shutdown inning after Reddick’s RBI single. Jim Miller closed out the Athletics side of things on the mound with what amounted to mop up duty the way they were hitting today.
AT THE PLATE: The A’s hitters fanned a combined 14 times against Blue Jays pitching today, safe to say they weren’t seeing the ball well. The lone bright spot for this writer was the continued production from Jonny Gomes, and the fact that he won a crucial battle of the players from the 707 area code against Brandon Morrow. It’s been well documented that Gomes graduated from the same high school I attended (Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, CA), so I am admittedly biased. Jemile Weeks continued to inch toward the Mendoza line, going 2-5 and raising his AVG to .197. The much discussed Baric Da… I mean Daric Barton also inched toward the Mendoza line, but not in a positive way, his AVG is down to .203.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The A’s win streak stalls at 3, but they must be satisfied with a 2 game split with the Jays. The potential powerhouse Detroit Tigers come to town for a 4 game series (I will be in attendance on Friday, will report impressions from the Coliseum that night), this will be a big test for this young A’s team. The series kicks off tomorrow night with the enigmatic, multi eye colored Max Scherzer (1-3, 6.32 ERA) taking on Bartolo Colon (3-2, 2.83 ERA) in a game that could be either an intriguing pitcher’s duel, or a total slugfest. Hopefully it’s the former because I doubt the A’s would have a chance in the latter. Hopefully Yoenis Cespedes will be available after taking some swings Thursday, perhaps in time for Friday’s game. Brandon McCarthy is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow as well, the results of which will dictate whether he can possibly start Saturday, if it doesn’t go well one can assume he’ll see some time on the DL. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the dreaded injury bug isn’t about to bite the A’s too hard, and we can have a good showing against one of the AL’s best teams.