Oakland Athletics: How Did They Lose That Game?
By Mark Sigmon
Ever since Sonny Gray came up to the Oakland Athletics in 2013, he has been “money in the bank.”
Earlier this year, Gray was struggling for the Oakland Athletics. Then he went on the Disabled List to help his strained trapezius to get fully healed. Once he got off the DL, Gray pitched two very good games. And he was pitching extremely well through five innings on Wednesday night.
In the sixth inning, however, the roof caved in for Gray and the Oakland Athletics. Gray gave up a leadoff home run to Robinson Chirinos, and later Rougned Odor nailed Gray for the game-tying two-run bomb.
The Oakland Athletics did a terrific job against the Rangers’ starter, Derek Holland. The A’s hitters used power and clutch hitting to score five runs and drive Holland out of the game in the fourth inning. Once the Oakland Athletics got ahead 5-0 with Gray on the hill, I was thinking, “It’s funny how the A’s can handle this Ranger team that is crushing the rest of the league.”
Then, when Gray coughed up five runs on five hits, I was thinking, “Okay, this is going to be a game for the bullpens. I like the A’s chances.” Then John Axford gave up another home run to Chirinos, and Sean Doolittle surrendered Odor’s second homer of the game.
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The A’s, on the other hand, did nothing at all against the four Rangers relievers. Then I was thinking, “Damn, I hate Texas (except for Austin)!” Just like that, the Oakland Athletics had dropped another game.
This might just be one of those years where the Rangers are just a dominant team. Texas has hit ten home runs in the first three games of this series. They are playing without Adrian Beltre, and Prince Fielder has only five home runs on the season.
The Rangers have power up and down their lineup. I’m not sure how their pitching will hold up, but right now they are the best team in the division. So maybe Gray and the bullpen did not blow this game. Maybe the Rangers were just better on this night.
As a historian of baseball, I want to extend congratulations to Ichiro Suzuki on his 4,257th hit in professional baseball. Ichiro has more hits than Pete Rose‘s record, but Ichiro got 1,278 of those hits against pitchers in Japan.
Rose will hold Major League Baseball’s hit record for a long time. Here in the United States, most fans don’t think of Sadaharu Oh as the home run leader with his 868 HR. You might think of Barry Bonds as the home run leader with his steroid-aided total of 762. I think of Hank Aaron with 755.
No one on this side of the Pacific thinks of Oh as the home run leader. So I was wondering why Rose was such a cry baby about Ichiro’s accomplishment.
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But then it hit me. Some day Ichiro Suzuki will be in the Hall of Fame, and Pete Rose will, hopefully, forever be on the outside looking in. That is something to give A’s fans a smile after a tough game at the ballpark.