OAKLAND -- The A’s did three things in their series with Kansas City, which ended Sunday with a 4-2 loss in a pacy 2:39. They scored eight runs in the 14th of their 27 innings (and only two otherwise). They got two homers from Josh Reddick (both Sunday, and none from anyone else the entire weekend). And they got to make their fans a little nervous about their offense down the stretch.
Then again, it is August 3, and nerves are going to creep in when the standings say what they do – that the A’s lead the Los Angeles Angels only by one game again.
Sunday they were smothered by James Shields, managing only four hits, Reddick’s and singles Alberto Callapso and Jed Lowrie, and prepped for a dicey three-gamer against Tampa trying to re-widen the American League West race. The Angels split a four-gamer with the Dodgers in Los Angeles, so an opportunity exists, especially if Jason Hammel can relocate his location in the Tuesday start.
As for Sunday, things were cut early and dried quickly. The A’s put nobody in scoring position (except for Reddick who did it himself), and the top six hitters in their order (Sam Fuld, John Jaso, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Stephen Vogt and Derek Norris) went 0-for-21 with four of those balls going to the right of second base. That they got two runs is, well, not representative of the day’s events.
Starting pitching report
Scott Kazmir first got dinked, then dunked, then throttled in his five innings. Indeed, the throttling happened entirely in the fifth, where he was crushed by the otherwise inert Royals for a four-spot. Christian Colon and Omar Infante doubled, Nori Aoki nearly doubled (a scorer’s decision kept it to a single) Salvador Perez and Billy Butler singled and Alcides Escobar walked (not in that order, because the cumulative damage is what mattered). For the game, Kazmir got clipped for 10 hits and the four earned runs, his first crud start since June 24 against the Mets, where he lasted only three innings and took the loss in a 10-1 pasting.
Dan Otero scared Bob Melvin a bit by allowing four hits to the seven batters he faced, but three grounders and a sensational play to Josh Reddick (more on that momentarily) prevented any of them from scoring. Fernando Abad (three batters) and Luke Gregerson (one) were unharmed.
At the plate
Reddick homered to break up James Shields’ perfect game in the sixth, and homered again in the eighth. He is now 16 for 41 (.390) since coming back from the disabled list. Nothing else happened. Don’t ask. Seriously. Nothing whatsoever.
In the field
One play stands out – Aoki’s deep fly to right in the seventh that Reddick flagged down just as he collided with the wall in right-center, then threw Escobar, who was on first with a leadoff single and had run well past second on the assumption that Reddick wouldn’t reach the ball, out for the double play. As for Kansas City, it played a right-field shift for several of the A’s lefthanded hitters and were never troubled by the risk factor, nor should they have been, as Oakland hit four balls to the left of second base all day.
A rather modest for these days 22,612, the team’s 21st consecutive announced crowd of over 20,000 going back to June 16 against the horrifying Texas Rangers; in that time, they have averaged 28,472, and gone 16-5 in those games. Evidently the “I believe in Stephen Vogt” chants have overcome the debilitating effects of the mascot/irritant and between-innings fan scoreboard interviews.
Tampa Bay, and with it the joyous news that neither Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.54), Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.93) nor Jeremy Hellickson (0-1, 3.29) is David Price. This is something manager Bob Melvin noted in his pregame soliloquy, so it is clear that team policy is to worry about Price in October, which is the earliest the A’s can see him. Against Cobb, Smyly and Hellickson, the Elephants offer Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.19/4-8, 2.92), Jason Hammel (0-4, 9.53/8-9, 3.87) and Sonny Gray (12-4, 2.59). Hammel’s start Tuesday is probably close to critical if he intends not to be the team’s fifth (as in non) starter in the postseason; he’s already helped move Yoenis Cespedes to Boston, so he has some fence-mending to do.