Coco Crisp almost prevents a two run homer but Athletics still fall short of a win. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Athletics of Oakland versus the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim Near Fullerton: A match-up destined for legend. After a stressful, protested game last night, the Athletics were eager to move on and begin a comeback for supremacy in the American League West but it was not to be and the Athletics’ 14 month streak of consecutive winning months officially came to an end at the hands of the Angels tonight.
Both starting pitchers, Jon Lester for the Athletics and Jered Weaver for the Angels, were pitching great with Lester going six innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs, and Weaver going seven innings with three hits. In most cases an outing like this would guarantee a win for the Athletics but a continually slumping offense coupled with sloppy fielding made this game an uphill battle for far too many innings.
Josh Donaldson broke a three inning no hitter against Weaver when he hit a double in the fourth inning but, like the Angels hitters before him, was left stranded when Stephen Vogt came within a couple feet of a two run homer.
In the bottom of the fifth, trying to rob the Angels of a two run homer, Coco left the game injured. He actually caught the ball over the fence but lost it on impact and Chris Iannetta is awarded the two run jack. Coco’s injury is clearly causing worry among A’s fans and rightfully so. With his history of neck problems, spawned by making catches just like tonight’s, Crisp has missed many games and the team cannot afford to have him miss games in these final weeks. Coco Crisp will now be day to day with a strained neck.
The A’s tried to rally back in the sixth inning when a Fuld single, a Donaldson walk and a Moss hit by pitch loaded the bases but Josh Reddick popped out to left field and ended the inning. In the bottom of the inning a combination of hits, bunts and sloppy fielding (an error on Sogard) loaded the bases for the Angels with two outs and Iannetta back at the plate. Jon Lester, on his 105th pitch, issued his first walk of the evening and forced a run across the plate bringing the Angels lead to 3.
Nothing else happened except for a homerun by Pujols to take the Angels lead to 4.
Tonight, like I did for our live thread game, I kept an eye on the Win Expectancy fluctuations throughout the game. In the interest of your sanity, I won’t include every play but in the chart below you’ll see the expectancy differences at the top of each half-inning.
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Like I said earlier this week, it is too early to dismiss this team but it may be time to start worrying about certain slumps and fielding issues. The Athletics need to get focused and grind out more at bats and focus on getting guys on base and bringing them home. It seems that the fundamentals of “green collar baseball” have been missing in August and if they are going to succeed in September they’re going to need to play like they did in May.
I haven’t lost faith in this team but this past month has been difficult to watch. I expect to see a fine group of clean shaven Athletics playing in September and marching towards the post season.
Final: Angels 4 – Athletics 0
Athletics are now 3 games back in the American League West.