Oakland Athletics Suffer a Heartbreaking Loss

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Apr 12, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien (10) celebrates with third base coach Ron Washington (38) on a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien (10) celebrates with third base coach Ron Washington (38) on a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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A second look at the A’s discouraging loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday

Oakland Athletics fans have come to embrace the three-headed monster that is the A’s closer bullpen.  The bullpen has been a source of strength this season.  Unfortunately for the Green and Gold, the closers had an off night.

John Axford came in for the seventh and he needed a spectacular catch from Josh Reddick to escape unscathed.  Ryan Madson took the hill for the eighth with a three run lead.  He gave up a couple of singles to Yunel Escobar and Daniel Nava.  Madson managed to strike out Mike Trout, but Albert Pujols pulled a two run double into the left-field corner.

Sean Doolittle came in for the top of the ninth with just a one run lead.  Andrelton Simmons swung at his first pitch and drove a long drive to left that Khris Davis ran down.  Just as A’s fans were breathing a sigh of relief, C.J. Cron worked a walk, and then Geovany Soto hit an absolute bomb to straight away center.  The Oakland Athletics were looking at another tough loss.  It was the most painful loss of the year.  Hopefully, it will be one of a small number of painful losses.

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A’s fans are still waiting impatiently for the right-handed power to kick in.  Facing a lefty for the first time in five games, the line-up was stacked with the right-handed hitters the Athletics will count on to carry the club. Davis, Danny Valencia and Billy Butler were hitting 4-5-6.  They went a combined 2-11.  Marcus Semien, hitting ninth, supplied the only right-handed power with two big home runs.  On most nights that would have been enough, but it was just not meant to be.

Kendall Graveman had another well-pitched game.  He lasted six innings.  He gave up four hits with two walks.  He only had three strikeouts, but he was effective all night.  The Angels have a very tough lineup.  In his last inning, Graveman had to face Trout, Pujols and Kole Calhoun.  Valencia made a nice play on Trout’s slow roller, Graveman struck out Pujols on a nice pitch down and in.  Finally, Calhoun grounded out to short.  Clinging to a two-run lead, Graveman cut through the heart of the Angels’ lineup.  On most nights, Graveman would have pitched just well enough to win.  Instead, the A’s were on the wrong end of another one run loss.

Trying to recover from a heartbreaking loss, it is, naturally, a little difficult to see the positives but there were some.  In the first inning, Billy Burns singled and stole second.  Josh Phegley hit a fly ball to medium deep right field.  Burns tagged up and Calhoun fired a strike to third.  Burns barely beat the throw.  I thought to myself, “Whoa, Reddick is going to have to make a lot of spectacular plays in order to take the Gold Glove from Calhoun.”

Then in the top of the seventh, with a runner on first and one out, Soto lofted a fly ball to short right field.  Reddick charged in and dove and made an amazing catch.  He then threw to first to complete a double play.  The defense was solid with moments of spectacular all night long.  A few more plays like that and Reddick will have the Golden Glove this year.

On another positive note, Semien, our shortstop, hit two home runs on a cool night at the Oakland Coliseum.  Jed Lowrie and Semien are going to do a lot of damage this year.

Next: A's Lose to Angels 5-4

So, it was a tough loss for Oakland and their fans to take.  It is way too early in the season to get discouraged.  Minnesota and Atlanta are still looking for their first wins.  A’s fans should take comfort in these facts.  Our bullpen is going to be solid.  Our right-handed power is going to crank it up.  Our lefties, Reddick and Stephen Vogt are hot.  Our starting pitching is doing well.  This loss hurts, but it’s just one loss IN APRIL. The A’s have a good team this year.  I say we will have a lot more feel-good wins than heartbreaking losses.

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