A-Rod homers twice to sink Cahill, A’s
Offense: The game started out so well, with a run in the first inning. Little did we know it would be the only run. Seven hits and three walks gave the A’s enough base runners, but Kevin Kouzmanoff’s first-inning hit with a runner in scoring position was the only one Oakland would get in five chances. Adam Rosales got picked off first base, and the A’s hit into two double plays. That’s how you score only one run. Home-plate umpires who call third strikes on pitches that never touch the plate are another issue, altogether. Ask Daric Barton. GRADE: D
Defense: The A’s turned a double play, but it was the double play they didn’t turn that was costly: it would have been the third out and prevented the grand slam. But it wasn’t anyone’s fault; Derek Jeter just beat the throw. Mostly, this game was about balls hit over the fence. Coco Crisp made a valiant effort on A-Rod’s second homer, however. GRADE: A
Pitching: Trevor Cahill made a few mistakes, but they were magnified. That tends to happen when you give up home runs. Beaning Mark Teixeira on an 0-2 pitch was also costly. The two relievers did fine in a game that was all but over by the time they pitched, although Tyson Ross walked three batters in his two innings. Overall, the Yankees had the same number of base runners the A’s did, but their pitching was better. GRADE: C+
Coaching: Bob Geren got away with using two bad relievers again. Ross actually threw more balls than strikes in his two innings. But hey, when you’re down five, that’s the time to use him. However, Ross is now headed back to the minors, so it’s not a concern any more. Geren used Rosales well, after Barton was ejected for arguing a called third strike that never came near the plate. GRADE: A-
Overall Game Grade: B- (80.6%). This game was closer than score indicated, but it was still a loss, obviously. A couple things go differently here and there, and maybe Oakland could have made it a ball game. That called strike on Barton to end the fifth inning with the base loaded was a terrible break for the A’s, as something there could have jump-started the team. Oh well.
Overall Season Grade: B (83.39%). The A’s dropped another game in the standings, so they’re back to nine games out. And worse, all the momentum from beating the bad teams has now disappeared as Oakland plays a good team. It’s certainly a realistic wake-up call when you look at the Yankee lineup compared to the A’s gang.
A’s Record: 41-44. Oakland has a shot to salvage a win here tonight, as A.J. Burnett and his 4.90 ERA offer opportunity for the A’s. Gio Gonzalez will have to be very good to beat the Yankees, though. He’s capable, of course, especially at home. Gio has a 2.36 ERA at home, compared to a 4.71 mark on the road.
A’s “Should Be” Record: 44-41. After tonight’s game, the A’s get a day off before hosting Los Angeles for three games starting Friday night. Brett Anderson is making a minor-league start Friday, which is good news. But Oakland needs to finish strong to end the first half of the season, if they want any shot at the division title in the second half.