Oakland Athletics Have Some Bad Luck Vs. Mariners
By Mark Sigmon
The Oakland Athletics had a lot of luck last night. Unfortunately, some of it was good, and some of it was bad.
The good luck came in the top of the fourth, when Nelson Cruz decided to try to tag and get to third with two outs. It was a dumb play. Cruz tagged up on a fly ball to medium deep center field off the bat of Chris Iannetta. Billy Burns threw to third, and Mark Canha came off the bag to grab the ball and tag Cruz in the baseline about three feet from the bag.
Was it luck or the other team’s stupidity? It’s hard to say, but the A’s got out of the inning with just one run scored against them.
The A’s caught some very good luck in the bottom of the ninth as well. With two outs, Stephen Vogt swung and missed a curveball in the dirt. Vogt missed the pitch by about a foot, but fortunately, Mariners catcher Chris Iannetta missed the pitch, too. Vogt made it to first, pinch runner Tyler Ladendorf stole second, and Chris Coghlan worked a walk. Through pure luck, the A’s had the winning run on base even though Vogt had struck out with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. (Of course, the luck ran out when Jed Lowrie struck out against Steve Cishek.)
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The Athletics hit into some bad luck too. I have to say, the bad luck outweighed the good luck. (No need to discuss luck and Khris Davis. He hit two home runs, and luck had nothing to do with it.)
Good luck was Vogt beating out a bunt after Davis’s first home run in the bottom of the second.
Bad luck was Ketel Marte lunging to snag a line drive off the bat of Coghlan. Vogt was halfway to second when Marte made the catch and then threw on to first for an easy double play.
The same thing happened in the bottom of the third. Marcus Semien worked a one-out walk, and Semien took off for second just as Billy Burns hit a rocket up the middle. As luck would have it, Marte was playing up the middle. He grabbed the line drive and tagged Semien at second.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I re-read Moneyball by Michael Lewis this weekend. I am still pondering a concept that Lewis discussed in this book. In his writing on Chad Bradford, Lewis introduced a sophisticated number cruncher by the name of Voros McCracken. McCracken’s theory is that a pitcher can control walks, strikeouts and home runs. Anything else was pure luck. Therefore, batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is all luck.
I am still trying to wrap my head around that concept. According to Lewis, many people have tried to disprove McCracken’s theory, and they have all failed. You could see McCracken’s theory on display in Monday night’s game:
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In the top of the sixth, with Robinson Cano on third and two outs, Kyle Seager ripped a ball down the right field line that went for an RBI double. Seager would later score on a bloop single to right center off the bat of Iannetta. In the bottom of the ninth, Josh Reddick hit a ball right down the line just like Seager did, but it was about four feet lower. Adam Lind grabbed it for the first out of the ninth. It was just more bad luck for the A’s.
I must confess that I am not sure about McCracken’s Theory on BABIP and luck – I would like to know what you all think. All I can say for sure is that the A’s seemed a little snake-bit on Monday night.