Oakland Athletics Shortstop Marcus Semien Shows Hustle vs. Tigers
By Mark Sigmon
Oakland Athletics Play Hard Despite Loss to Tigers; Miguel Caberea Breaks Out
It seems the reports of the demise of the Detroit Tigers are somewhat premature.
Miguel Cabrera came into the game 2-for-25 in his last seven games. Much like Troy Tulowitzki, Cabrera sat out one game and then came back with a vengeance. When the A’s came to town, he went 4-for-4 and clubbed two home runs. A’s fans can chalk this one up to bad timing: you just can’t keep a good player down. If this trend continues though, the A’s starting pitching staff might become known as “slump busters”…and not in a good way.
The relievers pitched well. Even though the damage was done, the bullpen worked 3.1 innings and allowed only one unearned run. Andrew Triggs made his major league debut, and he worked a clean bottom of the eighth with a strikeout.
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Cabrera was bound to break out soon anyway, but it is a little unfortunate that it had to happen against Kendall Graveman. In many ways, baseball is a game of averages. No one really thought the Oakland Athletics were going to go undefeated on the road even though they started the season 7-0 away from the Coliseum. No one should think Cabrera is going to have a batting average in the low .200’s. And, in one of the happy notes for the A’s, Jordan Zimmerman was bound to give up a run eventually.
The A’s were the first team to score against Zimmerman this season, and they actually put up three runs against him (although just one was earned). All three runs were the result of defensive misplays. I liked the hustle that Marcus Semien showed in the top of the sixth. With the A’s trailing by six runs, and Zimmerman steamrolling the lineup, Semien stepped to the plate and hit an easy pop fly to center. He was mad at himself, but he ran hard to first. When the center fielder, Tyler Collins, somehow lost the ball, Semien easily strolled into second. Justin Upton joined in the chaos, failing to scoop up the ball and throw it back to the infield.
Shortly before Collins paused to raise his middle finger to the booing crowd, Semien took off for third and beat the throw easily. He scored when Billy Burns singled to right.
Maybe we should not need to praise players for running out ground balls or hustling on pop flies. After all, they make millions of dollars for playing a game. It seems the least they could do is play hard.
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Nevertheless, it was good to see Semien run hard to second and then dash on to third when the ball was misplayed out in center field. Semien has been slumping lately. He hit a routine pop fly. It would have been easy to hang his head and jog toward first. Instead, Semien ran hard and ended up being the first player to score a run off of Zimmerman in 2016. Later on in the seventh inning, Coco Crisp hustled and forced Zimmerman into a fielding error. So even though the A’s have dropped three in a row, they are still playing hard.
The A’s played well in this first game against the Tigers. They hit the ball hard, just not hard enough to get it out of Comerica Park. The starting pitching was not as good as it needed it be, but I’m confident Graveman will have a better start the next time he takes the mound. The A’s are playing with confidence, determination and hustle. This is bound to lead to good things.