The Oakland Athletics missed out on a sweep. While the bullpen does get the majority of the blame. Starter Sean Manaea, their defense and offense share responsbility as well.
Manaea only managed to throw five innings giving up one run while striking out six and walking two. A solid performance right? Nope. His problem was his inefficiency as he threw a lot of pitches and did not register a 1-2-3 inning. He ended up throwing a lot of pitches which meant he didn’t last long.
Offensively the A’s started off well scoring four runs in the first three innings and knocking out Los Angeles Angels starter Dylan Bundy after 2.1 innings. The A’s missed out on an opportunity to blow the game wide open in the third and then in the fourth.
Chad Pinder came up with the bases loaded in the third with two outs. He ended up striking out.
In the fourth inning Oakland opened with back-to-back singles including the first career hit for outfielder Luis Barrera. Tony Kemp sacrified the runners over. Steve Cishek came in and struck out Ramon Laureano and Jed Lowrie to end the threat. That was the turning point of the game with the A’s unable to score a single run with runners at second and third with only one out.
Burch Smith came on in relief of Manaea to start the sixth. He ended up striking out three yet gave up a home run to Jared Walsh. For the seventh inning manager Bob Melvin elected to go with Sergio Romo over Deolis Guerra or Cam Bedrosian who has not been used yet since being called up.
Former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki struck out to start the inning then Romo walked David Fletcher, gave up a single to Justin Upton and a single to pinch hitter Jose Rosas who drove in Fletcher. Tony Kemp appeared to have a play on the baseball yet it seemed he was more concerned about getting the lead runner instead of getting the out at first and instead didn’t even come up with the baseball.
A walk to Anthony Rendon loaded the bases for the Angels. In came lefty Reymin Guduan to face pinch hitter Shoehei Ohtani who hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. In a rather surprising move Melvin elected to pitch to Jose Iglesias when Walsh a left-handed batter was in the on-deck circle.
Iglesias singled in a run to give the Angels a 5-4 lead. Guduan then got Walsh to ground out to end the inning.
The A’s didn’t go quietly. In the eighth left-handed reliever Tony Watson struggled with control as he walked Matt Olson on four pitches, got Matt Chapman to pop out and walked pinch hitter Stephen Piscotty.
After watching Watson struggle to throw strikes Pinder tried to ambush him by swinging at the first pitch. He ended up flying out to center field for the second out. Sean Murphy hit an infield single yet the throw to first got rushed and got by Walsh allowing Olson to score to tie the game up at five.
Inexplicably Melvin pinch hit for Barrera with Elvis Andrus and the Los Angeles countered with Raisel Iglesias who got Oakland’s struggling starting short stop to pop out.
The A’s made several changes for the bottom of the eighth inning including moving Pinder to left field, Andrus to short stop, and Piscotty to right field. Guerra came on in relief and though he threw what looked like strikes those got called balls and he walked Taylor Ward. That came back to haunt him. Suzuki sacrificed him over to second for the first out. Fletcher singled him over to third.
Guerra was able to get Upton to fly out to left field. The ball itself wasn’t hit that deep, yet a poor throw from Pinder allowed Ward to score easily. He then got Rojas to foul out for the third out.
Iglesias came back out for the ninth and he got Kemp to fly out to deep left center field on a running catch by Ward who was already playing that way. He then struck out Laureano and Lowrie to give the Angels the 6-5 win.
This was one of those frustrating games as the bullpen looked bad since Melvin didn’t go with their top-tier relievers, the defense didn’t make the plays necessary to win, and offensively the A’s once again struggled with situational hitting and ended the game 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Then again this is the type of loss that Melvin’s teams have been known for throughout his tenure as A’s manager.