Today was the start of the biggest test of the 2021 season for the Oakland Athletics. A road series against the Houston Astros. The result once again, failure.
All seemed good the A’s started out strongly with six runs in the first two inning and Chris Bassitt was on the mound. One who was certainly deserving of an All-Star nod. Yet it all fell apart in the fifth inning and all started with the offense.
So what happened? The A’s got a chance to blow the game wide open. It started with a lead off walk to Matt Olson, Matt Chapman then singled to put runners on first and third. Chad Pinder who has struggled mightily grounded out to Astros starter Framber Valdez. That put runners on second and third with one out. Jed Lowrie then grounded out to third and wasn’t able to bring in a run and not surprising Sean Murphy struck out to end the inning.
To recap there were runners on first and third with no outs. Then second and third with one and two outs and no runs came across for the Athletics. This has become the unacceptable norm with Darren Bush as the hitting coach.
On Twitter there are plenty of tweets that reference situations where Oakland has plenty of opportunities with runners on base and yet do not score any runs.
For example in the A’s walk-off win against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday the Athletics started 1-9 with runners in scoring position. At another point were 2-18 and in extra innings managed to go 3-3 to boost it to 5-21.
Quite possibly the best example of this was an at-bat by Murphy against New York Yankees closer Ardolis Chapman.
Chapman came in and walked the first two hitters and he only threw one strike. What did Murphy do? He wisely took the first pitch for a ball and instead of taking the second pitch he swung at it and the result game ending triple-play. Given what the situation was this was the worst at-bat of the 2021 season and quite possibly one of the worst of all-time.
Still there are really no excuses for how poorly the A’s do when it comes to situational hitting. This isn’t something that is new, this has been a struggle for the past several seasons and is why Bush needs to get fired immediately.
Truly there’s no more reasons to justify his employment. The A’s need a change.
Maybe if that happens some bats will wake up including the likes of Olson, Chapman, Ramon Laureano, Mark Canha once he returns from the injured list, and Jed Lowrie. The one thing that cannot happen is the continued employment of Bush.
If for some miraculous reason Bush makes it past the All-Star break the A’s are going nowhere in the playoffs.