Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Friday, April 8, 2016
Eric Surkamp pitched very well. The bottom of the first began with an epic battle between Nori Aoki and Surkamp, which ended with a slow roller to second. Unfortunately, Jed Lowrie booted the ball. That error probably cost Surkamp about ten extra pitches. Surprisingly, it seemed as though Surkamp had better stuff against right-handed hitters. His curveball seemed to be freezing righties as it started outside and then cut across the heart of the plate. Lowrie’s second error in the bottom of the fifth on a tailor-made double-play ball led to Surkamp being lifted. As Ray Fosse put it, “Surkamp deserved better.”
On the plus side, after Fernando Rodriguez came on in relief, Nelson Cruz hit a rocket at short that took a wicked hop on Marcus Semien. Semien snagged it and started a desperately needed double-play to keep a tie in order. Danny Valencia also made an amazing diving play on a hard hit ball off the bat of Chris Iannetta. Yonder Alonso‘s silky-smooth play at first base continues to impress.
Lowrie had a rough night with two errors. In addition, he hit into an inning-ending double-play with runners at first and third. By the bottom of the sixth, Fosse was ready to trade Lowrie for the Mariners’ ballgirl.
The bullpen was magnificent. Rodriguez and John Axford were lights out in the sixth and the seventh. Then Sean Doolittle came in for the eighth. That might have been meaningful. A’s fans had to be wondering, “Are the A’s going with a new closer?” I think it was simply Bob Melvin wanted his best reliever to pitch against the heart of the Mariner order. Doolittle walked the first batter he faced, but then he got Robinson Cano on a pop fly to left. Doolittle came inside on the hands of Cruz and got an easy pop to first. Finally, Kyle Seager flied out to short center.
When Steve Cishek tried to get in on the hands of Chris Coghlan, the A’s left hander drove the ball out of the park. Coghlan’s home run was certainly a welcome sight. It meant that Doolittle got the win while Ryan Madson got the save. It seems as though Melvin is asking his players to do whatever it takes to win. Coghlan plays in right while Josh Reddick is the DH. They both hit home runs. Doolittle comes in as a set up man. Semien turns the key double play. It’s good to see. If the Oakland Athletics win, who cares who gets the save?
Mea Culpa: A couple games ago, I was discussing the disarray of the starting rotation at the beginning of the A’s magical season of 2012. I mentioned that Bartolo Colon started the season on suspension for using testosterone. I was mistaken. Colon would be suspended for 50 games on August 22nd of the 2012 season. Colon would begin the 2013 season on the suspension list. Thanks to reader Cretgren for bringing that to my attention.