Samardzija pitches lights out for a no-decision Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Wow, what a game! It’s great to see Jeff Samardzija hit the mound with such gusto and awesomeness. He was the man of the night tonight at the O.co as he threw a strong eight inning shutout against the Rangers giving up four hits and striking out ten. If the A’s go beyond a wild card game, there’s no doubt that Samardzija can handle game one and game five, as he’s currently slated to cover.
The A’s offense, again, was pretty dry and were only able to get one run in off of Derek Holland. As always, they had plenty of chances with four hits and 3 balls but they weren’t able to capitalize on any opportunities tonight and their sole run came from Geovany Soto who crossed the plate on a Sam Fuld single.
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The bottom of the eighth showed signs of being a break-out inning for Oakland as they faced three different pitchers and managed to load the bases with no outs recorded. With bases loaded, Jed Lowrie popped out to shallow center, not able to bring anyone home and a fourth pitcher was called in for the inning. In to pinch hit for Nate Freiman was Alberto Callaspo and, at that very moment, every remote control in the bay area was thrown at the tv. Callaspo totally Callaspoed it and popped up to, I don’t know, maybe four feet in front of the mound. Obviously nobody scored on that scorcher and the inning was over with a Soto lineout to right.
The A’s were now going in to the ninth with a one run lead and Sean Doolittle tolling the bells. I had skipped dinner tonight and was hungry so I took this time to break away from the game and get a delicious burrito from my new favorite burrito place in town. I mean, come on, lights out Doolittle was sure to close this out and we’d be celebratin’ good times. Come on! If you’ll pardon me, I just need to head over to the MLB page to get the official numbers. Just a second.
Hmm. All right.
So, it turns out that Doolittle may have left the lights on tonight as the Rangers went through the lineup and tacked on six runs in the inning. So, Samardzija throws an all-star 8 and, with no run support at all, the bullpen is expected to be nothing short of perfect. Would have been nice to have had some of those loaded bases cross the plate.
In the ninth, there was a challenge by the A’s on an out call at third base. To my ignorant eyes, and to Fosse and Kuiper’s less ignorant eyes, it was an out and should have been overturned. It wasn’t. Shooty Babbit, on post game, said that Donaldson didn’t hold the tag for long enough and there was sunlight (in a a night game) showing or some nonsense that only makes sense to Shooty. I don’t read the official rules of baseball often (although I have) but I don’t recall it saying you needed to hug the runner and check for polyps for the tag to count, it just needs to be a tag.
That play may not have affected the game all that much but it probably would have changed how Doolittle pitched to Adrian Beltre who, with one man on and only one out, he intentionally walked. If the bases were empty and there were two outs on the board, Doolittle probably would have taken his chances and pitched to Beltre. Worst case scenario, he ties the game with a home run. Best case scenario, he pops out and you win the game. Ok, I take it back. Overturning that call would have totally affected the game.
I have no words. They lost 6-1 after another brilliant pitching outing by Samardzija. This is his fifth no-decision after pitching a shut-out. Their defense looked better tonight, too, which is a good sign but as it always seems to be lately, the A’s can’t fire on all cylinders. If pitching and defense are on point, there’s no runs. If they score 7 runs, the bullpen sinks. I reported yesterday what the real problem was (read it here, it’s a good one) but if the A’s don’t buy into the fact that they’re a better team than this than they can’t expect to win. As I see it now, and I hate to say this, we didn’t lose to the worst team in baseball, the Rangers managed to beat the worst team in baseball.