After winning seven consecutive games, the Oakland Athletics (19-53) cannot seemingly help themselves these days. On Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies (36-34) and the A's met for the first time over the weekend and your boys dropped their third-straight game after a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the visiting team.
This matchup featured two very distinct things: very athletic play and an absolute display of power.
Starting with latter, it took Kyle Schwarber exactly one pitch thrown his way to get things started at the top of the first as he sent JP Sear's (1-4) first offering past the fences to put the Phillies up 1-0 in the scoreboard at the Oakland Coliseum.
After that, Taijuan Walker (7-3) pitched an eight-inning game with Philly always leading. J.T. Realmuto would add a second homer one inning later, Alec Bohm would hit another one in the top of the fourth, and that would make it 4-1 Phillies sinking the A's early and never allowing them a chance to attempt a comeback.
Sears earned an obvious loss but he wasn't really that bad all things considered. He stayed on the field for seven full innings allowing only four hits (three of those ended up in HRs, though) while striking out seven batters and walking none. Walker lasted eight frames allowing many more hits (seven) but K'ing eight batters.
The Philadelphia Phillies took an early lead in their matchup against the Oakland Athletics. In the top of the 1st inning, Kyle Schwarber blasted a leadoff home run to give the Phillies a 1-0 advantage. Both teams failed to score in the following frames, with solid pitching from Tijuan Walker for the Phillies and JP Sears for the Athletics.
Other than the homers, the big story was the extraordinary athleticism showcased by two players (one current, another former) part of the A's organization.
Last March, the A's traded Cristian Pache away from the club in exchange for Billy Sullivan after acquiring the former Brave from Atlanta one year earlier, in 2022, along with (mostly) Shea Langeliers in the Matt Olson trade. Of course, in his first game at the Coli, Pache had to make the grab of the year on a flyball coming off Aledmys Diaz's bat.
Good for the A's, though, they have their own athletic superhero in tow after landing him in (surprise!) yet another trade this past offseason. Coming to the East Bay as part of a three-way trade, Esteury Ruiz moved from Milwaukee to Oakland in the Sean Murphy trade.
Ruiz, a rookie, is now doing this type of thing on baseball fields.
Ruiz has, also, stolen an MLB-leading 34 bases through 72 games played (he's appeared in 70) this season. No rookie, not even the great Rickey Henderson, did it all the way back in 1979. There is only one other A's rookie with more thefts than Ruiz, Mitchell Page with 42 (1977). You bet Ruizito will get there--and then some.
Ruiz was also the man tasked with earning the lone RBI among A's players on Friday, scoring Langeliers in the bottom of the third. Is there anything Esty can't do?
Leading by five entering the final frame, the Phillies decided to send Walker home with a nearly-secured W while bringing Andrew Vasquez to the field in relief of their starter. The closer did what he must and got the save striking out two and getting Jonah Bride to fly out.
Ruiz connected in two of his four at-bats as the only multi-hit batter on the A's lineup yesterday. Seth Brown, Jace Peterson, Aledmys Diaz, Shea Langeliers, and Tony Kemp all got one hit each. Nobody walked, and Brent Rooker had a day to forget striking out in three of his four trips to the plate.
Chad Smith was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas following Richard Lovelady's injury on Thursday and subsequent trip to the IL. Smith closed Friday's outing with two innings in his stat line in which he allowed three hits, two runs, and a walk while striking out three and allowing no home runs.
The three-game series will resume on Saturday with an early first-pitch time scheduled for 1:07 p.m. PT. James Kaprielian (2-6, 6.89 ERA) gets the assignment by the A's as he will start opposite Phillies' hurler Cristopher Sanchez (0-0, 6.23).