A’s get swept by New York
Offense: The Yankees shut down the A’s pretty well for the third straight game, even though starter A.J. Burnett’s ERA was close to 5.00 coming into this game. Oakland didn’t even strike out that much (only three Ks). But a mere six hits and two walks doesn’t provide for a lot of opportunity. The A’s were 2-for-5 with RISP, so they hit okay when they needed to. There just weren’t enough opps. Two GDPs didn’t help. Oakland grounded into the fifth-highest GDP total (74) in the AL this year. GRADE: D
Defense: The A’s turned two of their own GDPs, although it just delayed the inevitable the way Gio Gonzalez was pitching. No one made an error, thankfully. Otherwise this one could have been a lot worse. GRADE: A
Pitching: Gonzalez was terrible; no other way to phrase it. He put 13 runners on base in only four-plus innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to only 9 of the 23 batters he faced, and he registered only 46 strikes in his 90 pitches. After the offense gave him a one-run lead in the bottom of the third, he turned right around in the top of the fourth and gave up five runs. Just terrible. Five relievers finished the game, each throwing an inning. Michael Wuertz gave up the final run on a home run to former A’s outfielder Nick Swisher, much to the delight of the crowd. GRADE: D
Coaching: Bob Geren spread out the bullpen work in this one, knowing he had a day off on Thursday, too, to rest everyone. Clever, since it didn’t matter in this game in terms of an A’s comeback. Starting a guy like Matt Watson in left field wasn’t clever, however. Really, Bob? GRADE: B
Overall Game Grade: C (76.0%). The A’s just seemed to play worse each night against the Yankees, and that reveals just how far Oakland has to go to even think of competing for a championship. And if you’re not trying to win, why even bother putting a team on the field? That’s a question for A’s ownership and Billy Beane.
Overall Season Grade: B (83.3%). Momentum gone. The A’s beat the bad teams, and they lose to the good teams. As it seems there are more good teams than bad teams this year in the AL, it might be hard for Oakland to break even by the end of the year.
A’s Record: 41-45. Time for the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland is 9.5 games out, and the Angels are four games ahead of the A’s. Interesting stat: Los Angeles has been outscored by eight runs on the season, but they’re four games over .500 on the year. The A’s have a -12 run differential, and they’re four games under .500 on the year. Which team is overachieving? And why?
A’s “Should Be” Record: 44-42. This three-game set against the Halos brings the traditional first half of the season to a close. If Oakland sweeps the Angels, maybe they’ll think they have a chance to win in the second half. If they get swept, the A’s become sellers in this market, and we’ll see the last of Mark Ellis, Coco Crisp, and maybe even Ben Sheets in their Oakland unis.