ANAHEIM-- Something just seemed off for the A's Friday night in their first post-All Star break game.
They did not resemble the club that stormed into the break 17 games over .500 and in first place by themselves for the first time since 1990. They seemed tentative. Unsure of themselves. Shaken, so to speak.
"We looked like we've been off for a few days, and that's no excuse because the other team's going through the same thing we are," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "But we looked a little bit out of sync today."
And the 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels was Exhibit A.
But playing an in-state rival should get a team up, right? Being out of sync and flat is a surprising development.
"It's always surprising when we play a game, for me, and we look a little bit out of sync," Melvin acknowledged. "Not for a lack of preparation. We went after it today in a fashion (where) we should be ready for a game. We just didn't look like we were. It doesn't mean it had anything to do with being off; it just means we were a little bit out of sync today."
To be fair, the A's did have to deal with the last-minute scratch of left-fielder and Home Run Derby champ Yoenis Cespedes from the lineup with soreness in his left wrist (Melvin said he did not think the soreness was from the derby and said he was day-to-day while Cespedes declined to comment).
But all around the A's were out of sorts. From Josh Donaldson's uncharacteristic throwing error in the first inning, to starter A.J. Griffin serving up three solo home runs, to John Jaso falling asleep at first base and getting picked of by catcher Mark Iannetta.
"I felt (first baseman Mark) Trumbo, and I didn't do anything about it," Jaso said. "I don't know what was going on in my stupid head."
Even when the A's did something positive, it was because they did something wrong.
Cue Brandon Moss running through third-base coach Mike Gallego's stop sign at third base in the ninth inning, only to score because relay man Howie Kendrick double-clutched his throw home as he was shocked Moss was running on Chris Young's double.
"I'm not trying run through a stop sign right there," Moss said. "It's 4-0; my run means nothing and if I make an out, we only have two more outs to work with, so I'm definitely not trying to do that. I literally could not stop myself."
Neither, it seems, could the A's get anything going offensively.
"That sense that we were about to put something together was never really there," Moss said.
"Yeah, we were a little out of sync, but I think their starting pitcher had a lot to do with that."
Jered Weaver kept the A's off balance for 6 2/3 innings, running his scoreless streak against them to 24 2/3 innings. His funky windup and delivery limited the A's to just four hits and he had a season high eighth strikeouts.
Moss surmised that facing someone with Weaver's non-traditional style in the first game out of the break may have actually "played his stuff up even better" since the A's had been off.
But the bottom line?
"It just wasn't our day," Griffin said. "Definitely a frustrating game."