Athletics’ Loss to Braves Leads to Tied AL West


Aug 16, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Stephen Vogt (21) hits a two-run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Game #123 Recap: 8/16/14

The Atlanta Braves hosted the Oakland Athletics for game 2 of their 3-game series. This was game 123 for both teams, but tonight featured an unusual twist. Both teams wore throwback jerseys and caps, honoring the 1914 World Series of the Boston Braves vs the Philadelphia Athletics.

Prior to tonight’s game, the 2014 A’s were 10-3 in inter-league play, with a .769 win percentage. They were 33-28 on the road, which is a .541 win percentage.

"Oakland’s record: 73-49,  1st in AL West, 1st in AL, 1st in MLBAtlanta’s record: 62-60, 2nd place in NL East, 7th in NL"

After last night’s disaster, the A’s had much to prove. Tonight’s game was possibly be the most important game A’s have played thus far. The A’s were fighting to keep their slim lead over the Angels.

The Angels (71-49) are in Arlington, and took on the Rangers (47-75). Prior to the start of tonight’s games, the Angels trailed the A’s by only 1 game. The pressure was on, and Sonny took the mound looking for this 13th win.

More from Oakland A's News

Tonight’s game featured a pitching matchup of two young and talented right-handed starters. The 24-year-old Sonny Gray dueled the 23-year-old Julio Teheran. Neither pitcher had faced the opposing team as a starter. Here’s a brief overview of their 2014 statistics:

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While Gray clearly had the advantage, Teheran was 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA at Turner Field. Gray had been 12-6 over his 24 starts, with half of his losses occurring in August. Gray was seeking his first win in August, after going 0-3 this month but 5-0 in July. His ERA at the end of July was 2.65, increasing to 2.86 prior to the start of tonight’s game. Prior to August, Gray had not had a loss since June 13 vs the Yankees, where he allowed 3 earned runs.

First inning: Donaldson had a 2-out single but wound up stranded.

Then Atlanta went to work in the bottom of the first. Gosselin‘s single made him the first Brave to make it on base, followed by an RBI from FreemanJ. Upton was struck out. Johnson had a two-out RBI single, Freeman scored. The Braves ended the inning 2-0. This is the time when a small Twitter melt down from A’s fans started to occurred.

Second Inning: Reddick was walked, only to be picked off by Teheran at first. This is worth noting due to the potential run that could have been scored. Luckily, Sonny kept the Braves silent in the bottom of the 2nd.

"An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 second inning for Sonny Gray. And “Let’s Go Oakland” chant going up from a rowdy bunch wearing Donaldson jerseys.-Susan Slusser (@susanslusser)"

Third inning: Sogard drove one deep with a lead off double. Crisp stranded Sogard at third, with an awkward, unnecessary bunt. This cost the Athletics a potential run.

The A’s switched back to offense and looked solid in the bottom of the third. Sogard continued to play great defense at SS. Gray shook off his bad first inning and struck out Freeman, and by the end of the third inning he had retired 7 batters in a row.

Fourth inning: Moss was walked.

Teheran got his first strikeout, sending Donaldson back to the dugout.  The Twitter feed became full of tweets using #athleticsmovietitles. They are definitely worth reading.

J. Upton had a base hit, then stole second. Speaking of stealing, the stolen FSU chant and tomahawk chop ensued. Johnson’s hit was just out of Reddick’s reach, but J.Upton stayed put at third. Gray struck out Grattis. Simmons had an RBI single, increasing the Braves lead to 3-0. Gray had totaled three strikeouts and no walks that inning.

Fifth inning: Callaspo had made it on base, only to be stranded. Gray returned to the mound with another strike out, and threw only 10 pitches in the 5th. Gray still lacked any run support.

"Sonny Gray has received no run support in two of his past three starts, btw, coming into tonight. A’s not on the board yet through 5.– Susan Slusser (@susanslusser)"

Sixth inning: Moss walked, again. The Athletics finally ended their offensive slump, with a two-run home run from Vogt. The A’s were on the board 3-2. I hope that no one had stopped believing in him. It was his 8th HR of the season. Gray gave up his first walk of the game to J. Upton. A single from Johnson allowed Upton to score all the way from first base. Simmons got a hit, which led to Otero replacing Gray on the mound.

"Sonny Gray’s night is over. Sonny went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs, walking 1 and striking out 5. Dan Otero is coming in for the #Athletics–95.7 The GAME (@957thegame)"

Seventh inning: Nothing productive took place.  Carpenter replaced Teheran. Fuld pinch hit. Abad replaced Otero. Cook replaced Abad.

Eighth inning: The Braves swapped Carpenter for Walden. The Athletic’s offense struck again, with Jaso’s solo homer making the game 4-3. Moss managed to get walked, but was added to the list of stranded base runners. Nothing notable occurred in the bottom of the 8th.

Ninth inning: Callaspo walked (Parrino came in to pinch run). Bottom of the 9th didn’t need to happen. The A’s lose.

"Braves 4, Catchers 3.–Nick Mediati (@dtnick)"

The game concluded with the Braves outscoring the Athletics 4-3. The Braves had 9 hits, while the A’s had 5. Vogt drove in 2 runs with his HR, Jaso hit the 3rd run with his HR. The mistakes from Reddick and Crisp could have produced a run, leading to a tie game. Gray is 0-4 in August 2014.

Gray: 5.1 IP, 8 hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 k – 99 pitches

Teheran: 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K – 103 pitches

The Oakland Athletics have lead the American League West since April 28th. While the A’s have been slumping, the Angels have been red hot. The A’s have gone 7-9 over last 16 games, with not a single day off. Meanwhile, the Angels have 8-6 throughout 14 games. With the Angels win tonight, the teams will be tied for first in the AL West. The Angels are ahead in terms of percentage points. The teams will meet for 7 games this month (3 in Oakland, 4 in Anaheim).

"Go any team playing the Angels!– Jennifer Trumpp (@jennifertrumpp)"

Games Played: 123

Games Remaining: 39
Record: 73-50
Standings: Tied with Angels for first in AL West

Record post Cespedes Trade: 7-9 (with a 4 game losing streak)
Next Game: August 17 vs. Atlanta

Expected Pitcher: Lester

Yesterday’s Game Recap

Important questions to consider regarding tonight’s game:

Who was the star of tonight’s game?

Which player looked most believable in the 1914 throwback uniforms?

Who was the weak link tonight?

Why did Crisp bunt?

Would we have tied if Crisp hadn’t bunted?

Would we have tied if Reddick hadn’t been thrown out at first?

Should Gray have been pulled sooner?

When do we panic? (although Twitter is way ahead of you)

I’m looking forward to reading your replies in the comment section.