For the first 6 innings of tonight’s game against the Texas Rangers, it looked like Yoenis Cespedes was going to be the only Athletics player capable of hitting Roy Oswalt. That’s because he was. If Oswalt hadn’t gotten his pitch count up as high as it was he could have very well been on his way to shutting the A’s out himself. But nevertheless Josh Reddick got the A’s on the board with his 21st home run on the first pitch of the 7th inning, and cracked open the door for the A’s to attempt a comeback. After Oswalt struck out Yoenis Cespedes he gave way to the rookie lefty Robbie Ross, Brandon Moss reached on an infield single (That from my vantage point in section 115 looked like a blown call), and Chris Carter worked an impressive walk against Alexi Ogando, but the bottom of the order in the persons of Kurt Suzuki and Brandon Inge did nothing with the scoring opportunities.
TURNING POINT: After the missed chance in the 7th inning, Josh Hamilton promptly and definitively put the momentum back in the Rangers possession with a leadoff home run. But the A’s showed they still had some fight left. Cliff Pennington struck out to lead off the bottom of the 8th (See: Kurt Suzuki, Brandon Inge), Jemile Weeks was hit by a pitch, Seth Smith singled, and Josh Reddick drew a walk to load the bases with Yoenis Cespedes coming to the plate with a chance to tie the game on one swing of the bat. Cespedes was ultimately rung up on a called 3rd strike fastball after 3 sliders from Adams. It was up to Brandon Moss to put a dent in the deficit, but he popped up harmlessly to Adrian Beltre to pretty much seal this game for Texas.
ON THE HILL: Bartolo Colon wasn’t spectacular, but he did keep the Rangers bats fairly quiet for the most part. He was charged with 4 ER, but I imagine that will change because Brandon Moss dropped the fly ball from Nelson Cruz in the 4th inning but was somehow not charged with an error. Colon gave up 8 hits and walked 1 in his 7 innings, striking out 5 in the process. Jordan Norberto gave up the 1 ER on Josh Hamilton’s 28th home run of the season in his 1 inning. Jim Miller came in on mop up duty after the A’s had their last gasp in the bottom of the 8th, he struggled to find the strike zone, walking 2 and hitting a batter before giving up a run on a Hamilton sac fly.
AT THE PLATE: If you were slotted in the 7, 8, 9, or 1 spots in today’s Athletics lineup that means you didn’t reach base. Yoenis Cespedes had 2 hits, a single and a double to account for 2 of the A’s 5 hits. Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, and Brandon Moss accounted for the other 3. Chris Carter was the only other player to reach base with his 7th inning walk. Kurt Suzuki, Brandon Inge, and Cliff Pennington are all proving to be as punchless as can be in the A’s lineup. With their lack of production it’s not hard to imagine why the A’s would be looking at upgrades as they push for the playoffs (I can’t believe I’m even typing this).
FINAL THOUGHTS: With all the anticipation leading up to this game for the A’s coming off the sweep of the Twins it was a bit of a downer to see them come up so small tonight. The A’s found ways to shoot themselves in the foot tonight, and the Rangers are a good enough team to take advantage of those miscues. Nevertheless, the A’s haven’t really done any harm to themselves as the Tigers, Orioles, and Indians all lost tonight. With their win the Rays pull even with the Tigers to tie for the 2nd wild card spot. So while it wasn’t a pretty game, no true harm was done. The A’s remain just a 1/2 game out of a playoff spot, with a chance to take a share of the lead with a win. Travis Blackley makes his first start since July 1st after being held back due to back pain, he comes in with a 2-2 record and a 2.63 ERA. Opposing him will be once upon a time Athletic Colby Lewis who will be returning from the DL with a 6-6 record and a 3.51 ERA on the season. If the A’s miss chances like they did tonight, it could make for a long and trying week for the green and gold as they try to find momentum with the Yankees coming to town. The A’s showed this past weekend that “the Bash is Back”, let’s show the Rangers a little taste of what the bash is really all about.