Oakland Athletics fall to Tampa Bay Rays in first shutout of the season as pitching woes continue.
The Oakland Athletics have yet to win two games in a row in May. Their last three-plus game winning streak ended on April 22, to be exact. On Saturday, the A’s continued this trend as they fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in a 6-0 complete game shutout.
Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays was the winning pitcher, as he held the A’s to just two hits (and three total base runners) over nine innings of stellar work. He struck out five Athletics batters, notching his first win of the year as he took the mound for just the second time this season.
Kendall Graveman started for the Athletics, and fared better than he had in recent outings, but still failed to log a quality start. His 5.2 innings included three walks, six hits, and four earned runs. Most troubling, he struck out just one batter.
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Heading into Saturday’s action, the Oakland Athletics had the 27th-ranked team ERA in baseball. Only the Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Milwaukee Brewers have fared worse. Even the lowly Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins have pitched more effectively than the A’s, which is never a good sign.
Matt McBride and Danny Valencia were the only two A’s batters to log hits against Andriese, while Billy Burns reached base after being hit by a pitch. Meanwhile, Brad Miller crushed a home run for the Rays against Graveman in the third inning, Brandon Guyer and Steven Souza Jr. contributed doubles, and Corey Dickerson hit a triple.
Rookie Andrew Triggs had a strong night, despite allowing a run. He gave up just one hit and stranded both of the runners he inherited from Graveman. Triggs pitched two total innings, and walked a batter in his second inning of work. That runner later scored, thanks to a particularly bad outing from Marc Rzepczynski. Rzepczynski walked two and allowed a hit before finally escaping the eighth inning.
It was another night that displayed the areas where the A’s are lacking. Their starting pitching couldn’t get them through six innings, which forced Bob Melvin to use his relievers differently than he might otherwise have been able to. Rzepczynski is not typically good against right-handers, and was having a rough night in general, but using another bullpen arm in a game that was already pretty much a lost cause would have been a risk the team couldn’t afford to take. That meant the A’s chanced using Rzepczynski against Guyer, who hit a two-RBI single to left field to put the game entirely out of reach.
It sounds obvious because it is: the Oakland Athletics have to do something about their starting pitching. The offense had a bad night as well, and Kendall Graveman could not have won a game with no run support, but Saturday’s struggles were a bit of an outlier for the A’s lineup. The A’s hitters have been doing their part, but haven’t received much help from the pitching staff. The A’s cannot hope to string wins together without some major improvements from the rotation.