Oakland Athletics Fall Further Behind After Rough Weekend in Baltimore
Oakland Athletics’ fans had to endure the indignity of watching Manny Machado hit two home runs and drive in six runs as the A’s lost 11-3 on getaway day in Baltimoe. As he was circling the bases after hitting his eighth-inning grand slam, all I could think was, “Man, I hate Manny Machado.”
The A’s seem to be treading water a little bit these days. Rich Hill pitched well Saturday morning in a make up game for Friday night’s rainout, but Jesse Hahn was not as successful in the nightcap. Orioles slugger Chris Davis had been struggling coming into the game, but he was able to figure out Hahn’s pitches to hit a big home run in the third inning.
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Perhaps it is just bad luck, but it seems a lot of struggling hitters are finding their stroke against A’s pitching. First Troy Tulowitzki, then Miguel Cabrera, and now Chris Davis have broken slumps against the A’s.
On Sunday, it seemed as though Kendall Graveman was throwing batting practice for the Orioles’ big hitters. It was so bad that Mark Trumbo fell just a double short of hitting for the cycle. Josh Phegley would prove to be the A’s most effective pitcher on Sunday.
There were a few bright spots for the Oakland Athletics this weekend. The return of Danny Valencia has solidified the A’s starting lineup. Coco Crisp, Yonder Alonso and Marcus Semien came up with big hits to get the scoring started on Saturday morning. Semien also whacked his eighth home run later in the game, and Josh Reddick has had eight straight hits in his last eight at bats. Semien and Valencia made some terrific plays on defense as well. Everything seems to be clicking except the starting pitching.
It’s hard to know what to do about the starting pitching. Though his Tommy John surgery went well, Chris Bassitt is lost for the season. Jesse Hahn, Eric Surkamp and Graveman are all struggling. Even Sonny Gray has become somewhat unreliable. The only starter who has been consistent has been Rich Hill. However, getting Henderson Alvarez healthy will be a shot in the arm for the rotation, and Gray will be fine.
Perhaps the Oakland Athletics and their fans just have to be patient with a young, inexperienced pitching staff. Or maybe Curt Young and the other A’s coaches can find a way to rehabilitate John Danks or Tommy Milone, who have been placed on waivers and might be available to come to Oakland. The Athletics might even want to consider Tim Lincecum. But finding a consistent fourth and fifth starter will be a challenge for Billy Beane in the weeks ahead.