Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Athletics started off the season with a very disappointing loss. The Athletics pitching had gone 8 straight shut out innings, going inning for inning against the Indians. Guys like Cespedes and Reddick fizzled and didn’t get hits. The only offensive contributions came from Daric Barton and John Jaso. they got hits and walks tonight.
The ninth inning came and the new closer, Jim Johnson came in the game. Time to see what Balfour’s replacement can do. He can give up runs, that’s what he can do. He walked the first batter, then gave up a single, and when he was one strike away from an out, he hits him with a pitch instead to load the bases. 1 sac fly later, and the Indians score. Then, instead of putting a stop to the bleeding, he gave up another single and another run. the Indians went on to win 2-0.
In his Spring outings, he didn’t do so well either. He stepped on Josh Donaldson‘s foot in his first outing, and turned a foul ball into a hit by getting the ball instead letting it roll foul. He has not been pitching like a closer, and I as fan worry when he is on the mound. We pay the guy 10 million dollars to pitch one inning a game, every few games. I know it’s the first game of the season, but based on his Spring performances and his performance tonight, I don’t feel safe with him on the mound.
I’ve even made a case that Dan Otero should be the closer. He has experience in that role and he posted a 1.38 ERA last season. He didn’t allow a single home run. Read it here. Johnson is not close material right now. Jim Johnson may have had 101 saves in the past two seasons, but he had 9 blown ones alone last season, a major league high.
The offense is to blame as well, but if the closer did his job, the Athletics could have lived to fight another inning. Overall this was a very disappointing Opening Day. Again. Losing is never easy to take. All I can say is that I hope they get their gears going fast, because April is important. Very important. Shake it off and get that win tomorrow boys, Athletics fans deserve it after having 8 straight opening night losses.