Usually when the Athletics go 3-7 in a week it’s a disappointment, but after the miserable nature of the last month or so of A’s baseball, three wins in a week is practically grounds to throw a party. The Athletics won two in a row for the first time in almost twenty games, winning a critical series against the Mariners. At this point, the team is content to hold on to the first Wild Card spot as the red-hot Angels have jumped to a full ten game lead in the division and it would take both an epic run by the A’s and an epic collapse by the Angels to change anything at the top of the West.
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Weekly Record: 3-7
Overall Record: 83-66
Welp. The A’s had three heartbreakers and a laugher, dropping three of four to the White Sox. The A’s were leading 4-3 going into the bottom of the ninth on Monday night, when Sox catcher Tyler Flowers took Eric O’Flaherty deep to send the game to extras. Then, in the bottom of the twelfth, Flowers came up again with one out against Jesse Chavez and took the first pitch he saw deep to end the game.
Tuesday night’s game was a lot more fun. Jon Lester pitched masterfully, striking out eight batters over eight innings and giving up just two runs in the seventh. The White Sox committed five errors and Josh Donaldson went 5 for 6 and drove in four of the Athletics 11 runs. In the fifth inning, Craig Gentry collided with Carlos Sanchez diving into first base and left the game with concussion symptoms.
Wednesday and Thursday yielded two more one-run losses. On Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija pitched seven shutout innings but when Luke Gregerson gave up two runs in the bottom of the 8th, that was all the White Sox needed to get the victory as the Athletics offense was only able to scratch one run
across against Chris Bassitt and the Southsiders bullpen. Thursday, Scott Kazmir pitched a gem, striking out seven in eight innings and giving up just one run on a Marcus Semien homer. However, Chris Sale was on the mound for Chicago and the A’s were helpless.against the big lefty. Sale now owns a sub-2 ERA.
On Friday night, the Athletics lost by more than a run for the first time in the month of September. The A’s started the month 3-7 and had a +8 run differential in those first ten games. That’s bonkers, folks. Friday night, the A’s only managed two runs against lefty James Paxton, and Jason Hammel and Eric O’Flaherty combined to give up four runs in the first six innings as the Mariners pulled within a half game of the A’s for the top wild card spot.
On Saturday, Sonny Gray faced off against Felix Hernandez and A’s fans can be forgiven if they felt apprehensive ahead of this matchup. Sonny matched Felix well as both gave up only two runs. Josh Donaldson and Robinson Cano each went deep and the game was knotted up at the end of nine. After the rash of one-run losses, fans had a right to have a pit in their stomach as the game went into extras. Thankfully, Fernando Rodney saved the day in the top of the 10th by walking four Athletics, as Coco Crisp scored the go ahead run on Jed Lowrie‘s free pass. Sean Doolittle pitched a quiet frame in his first game back to get the save.
On Sunday, Jon Lester was brilliant as he and the bullpen combined to shutout the Mariners in a 4-0 victory. Sam Fuld and Brandon Moss both went deep, given Moss’s recent troubles it’s hard to say which of those is more surprising.
So with just 13 games left in the season, the Athletics have the Rangers, Phillies and Angels at home before finishing the season with four games in Arlington. This homestand will be absolutely vital in staying up in the Wild Card, let’s hope the signs of life we saw this weekend are a sign of good things to come.