Kazmir Takes Loss Despite a Complete Game Dominance


Kazmir pitches a complete game but takes the loss with zero run support from A’s. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Kazmir pitched a fantastic game for the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics lost, despite Kazmir’s fantastic outing. Kazmir pitched a complete game today, giving up one earned run, a homer off of Marcus Semien, four hits and seven strike outs. The Oakland Athletics lost, despite Kazmir’s fantastic outing.

You can dismiss this loss with the fact that Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now and most of us knew it would be a low scoring game but this was supposed to be a series win. When the A’s returned from the All-Star break, every pundit referenced the “strength of schedule” differences between the A’s and the Angels and noted that the A’s, with a significantly easier schedule, would continue dominating the west. Then the A’s started to slump a bit and everyone said that the bats would come around and finish the season strong because of all the crappy teams they had to face down the stretch.

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Guess what? This was one of those crappy teams.

Since August 1st, the White Sox have lost 24 games. Today was the A’s 24th loss in that same time frame.

Since August 1st, the White Sox have scored 131 runs. The A’s have scored 141 runs.

Since August 1st, the longest win streak for the White Sox has been 2 (twice). The A’s longest streak has been 3 (once).

Since August 1st, the A’s have been one of those crappy teams they thought they could beat. The only difference between the Chicago White Sox, who have spent four days tied for first (3% of the season) and the Oakland Athletics who have spent 117 games in first place (72% of the season) is that the Sox have sucked all year and the A’s took their sweet sweet time to get there, taunting fans along the way with the most runs, the most all stars, the most wins and the biggest differential. Maybe it was all a lie.

There are a ton of articles on this site trying to analyze what can only be called a disaster of a close. We have placed the blame on everything from the trade, to the bullpen, to the offense to the possum. Fact is, it takes a team to win and it takes a team to lose. Bob Melvin said that the team is putting too much pressure on their pitchers by demanding perfection at every outing to insure a win. Sad part is, though, that the pitchers have been giving them as close to perfection as you can expect.

In the last 10 games, A’s starters have pitched 70.2 innings and earned 23 runs. That’s a combined ERA of 2.92 over the past 10 games. If you take out Sonny Gray‘s one bad outing, the ERA goes down to 2.33. Every team in baseball, with an ERA under 3, should be winning more games than the three the A’s actually won over that span. Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel. Look at those names closely. Three of those guys were elected to the All Star team this year. Find another team with three current all-stars, and one future all-star in Sonny Gray, who are losing as badly as the A’s.

Today’s game was going to be a tough one. Nobody expected a matchup between Kazmir and Sale to be a 14-12 game. In fact, some of us saw into the future and made a very bold prediction.

I know that was a bold prediction to make but I was right. Melvin told reporters that “we’re fighting for our life out there” but it seems like the team is always a foot away from the life raft. Since August 1st, the A’s have had 16 games with one run differences. Of those 16, they won five (31%). During the rest of the season, they had 22 one run games with 13 wins (60%). 42% of their one run games have come in the last 26% of the season. This is not a good time for your win percentage to drop 29%.

I’ve thrown a lot of stats and, to be honest, it’s all just filler. I can’t be optimistic anymore and I’m tired of reporting about Josh Donaldson hitting into a double play, Alberto Callaspo doing things like Alberto Callaspo, Scott Kazmir not getting any type of run support or errors on the playing field gifting runs to opponents. I can’t keep reporting on “all they have to do to take the division” because at this point they need to go undefeated and the Angels need to start playing .400 ball. I can’t keep talking fans off the ledge because I’m about to join you. So I throw these stats at you to help you get a better understanding of what’s happening. The best we can hope for is a wildcard berth and that that will be enough motivation to wake up the bats and focus the infield. We’ll see.