Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesThe Oakland Athletics did the unthinkable yesterday and came back from a three run deficit late in the game to win 9-7 to force game four against the Houston Astros. Manager Bob Melvin elected to go with opening day starter Frankie Montas with the hopes of him looking like an ace.
It seemed that was going to happen. With the A’s taking an early 3-0 lead on a Ramon Laureano three-run homer of Zack Greinke. Montas was looking good and hitting 100 miles-per-hour on the radar gun. He got out of a jam in the third after an error by first basemen Matt Olson that got a runner to third with one out.
Then the fourth happened. He didn’t get a call on a close pitch and walked the leadoff hitter Jose Altuve. Michael Brantley followed with home run. This seemed like a good time for Melvin to get the bullpen going, yet that didn’t happen. Instead Montas gave up back to back singles to Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.
Montas then hung a slider to Carlos Correa who didn’t miss. A three run lead became a two run deficit really quickly. Melvin still didn’t make a move though Yuri Gurriel grounded out, Josh Reddick singled, Martin Maldonado struck out and George Springer singled.
With two on and two outs that was all for Montas. J.B. Wendelken took over and though he fell behind did manage to end the inning by getting Altuve to fly out. For Melvin though the bullpen didn’t do well either. Allowing two runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
While the A’s offense only managed a run. Marcus Semien in the seventh nearly hit a three-run home run.
This start ends a miserable season for Montas who came in with such high hopes to become the A’s ace. He did appear that early in the season starting off with a 1.57 era in four starts while striking out 22 and walking nine. The turning point in his season came after he suffered back tightness and missed a start. Once he returned he didn’t find much success registering an era of 8.70 in his last seven starts while striking out 38 and walking 14.
His last start of the season did offer some hope to Melvin and the A’s. He went six innings, gave up four hits, walked two while striking out 13 and walking two against the Seattle Mariners.
For Montas if he is going to become a true ace of a rotation he cannot become fazed by a blown strike call, a leadoff walk, having runners on base or after giving up a home run. That’s when he needs to settle himself down and attack hitters to minimize any further damage.
Game four likely goes differently if Montas is able to get out of the fourth with the A’s still leading 3-2. Then again it’s also back-to-back seasons for him having a season end in disappointing fashion. Last year the 80 game suspension and this year his poor game four start. Oakland needs him to become their ace in 2021.