Max Schuemann homers but Athletics come up short, drop 5th straight

The Oakland Athletics dropped their fifth straight game, losing 6-3 to the Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Oakland Athletics' infielder Max Schuemann secured his first major league hit tonight, a home run in the top of the 5th that tied the game at 2-2. It's a moment that he'll remember for the rest of his life but unfortunately the A's fell short, dropping their 5th straight with tonight's 6-3 loss.

Starter Alex Wood struggled again, this time allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk in 5 innings while striking out 4. Despite the troubled evening, Wood's ERA fell to 7.89 on the year. There's still plenty of time to get things turned around but this isn't the pitcher the A's thought they'd be getting when they signed Wood in the offseason.

The lefty has had his challenges over the past few years but came to Oakland with a career 3.74 ERA and a 3.61 FIP. To say an ERA hovering around 8.00 is disappointing is a bit of an understatement. He's lined up to start against the Yankees next week so things won't get any easier in the near future.

The Athletics' offense got to Guardians' starter Logan Allen in the 5th but struggled to get anything going outside of that. They were also completely shut down by the Guardians' bullpen. The A's managed just one combined hit off relievers Nick Sandlin, Scott Barlow, Hunter Gaddis, and Emmanuel Clase and struck out 7 times against that group.

Esteury Ruiz was back in the starting lineup and went 1-2 with a single and a walk before getting pinch hit for by Lawrence Butler in the 7th. Butler struck out in both of his plate appearances.

It's a bit of a mystery why A's manager Mark Kotsay isn't giving Ruiz any leash right now. Ruiz is being used almost strictly as a platoon bat, which is a curious decision for a team whose offense is, for all intents and purposes, dead at the moment.

Ruiz may end up being the type of guy to play a 4th outfielder role on a competitive team but he's done everything asked of him in 2024, both in Oakland and in Las Vegas. Lawrence Butler may be part of the A's future but prioritizing playing time for guys like Seth Brown, Tyler Nevin, and Abraham Toro over Ruiz, who could be a standout outfielder, is a strange choice.

It'll be interesting to see if Kotsay chooses to play Ruiz tomorrow, as the A's face off against another right-handed pitcher in Tanner Bibee. The best thing for Ruiz's development is everyday playing time. It'd be one thing if the A's were seriously competing this year but they aren't, and we don't have to pretend otherwise.

The A's will look to avoid being swept for the second straight series and get off this 5-game losing streak with righty Ross Stripling on the mound. First pitch tomorrow is scheduled for 10:40 am PDT.