After what seemed to be a promising start to the night, the 2015 “Heart break kids” Athletics set a new standard of creativity on how to lose a game.
The latest emotional roller coaster ride of a baseball game ended on the last play in the bottom of the ninth. With Stephen Vogt aboard first base as the tying run, Coco Crisp launched a towering drive towards left-center that bounced off the middle of the elevated wall. A few feet higher and it would have been the first walk-off win of the season for the A’s.
Instead, the ball favorably bounced to the Chicago defense, with Vogt rumbling around the base paths, third base coach Mike Gallego aggressively waived him home before putting up the stop sign as he saw the relay coming in.
It was too late, the full steam ahead Vogt could not hold up rounding third, and was tagged out after a pickle at home plate to end the game.
“It’s tough. We’ve had quite a few of these where an inch one way or another or a foot one way or another, one good at bat, one good play and we end up winning the game and we always end up losing it,” said Bob Melvin.
On a chilly Friday night in Oakland, the ice-cold A’s seemed to turn their slumping ways around, playing solid defense behind the familiar strong starting pitching, and compiling clutch base hits with runners in scoring position.
If the game was little league rules, and ended after six innings, it would have been an momentous victory to start the wheels of confidence for the Athletics.
Of course, this is the Major Leagues, and you have to play nine innings and record 27 outs to earn a victory.
Enter the seventh inning.
Jesse Hahn was cruising to his most impressive outing of the season, and Melvin allowed him the chance to start the inning when the all too familiar bad habits of the 2015 team reared their ugly faces.
After a lead off fly ball out, Brett Lawrie booted a routine ground ball that put Hahn in the stretch, and the rookie righty was pulled after allowing a base hit to the next batter. The crowd seemed content with a 6-2 lead at the time, but six batters three pitchers and five unearned runs later, the once joyful audience at the Coliseum turned to the boos and thumbs down more familiar with an angry mob of an Ancient Roman Colossuem.
“To see the lead go away like that… that’s what’s been hurting us all year. A few defensive errors, and teams just capitalize on that. It’s like they smell blood and they just go for it. That’s Major League Baseball for you,” said Vogt.
The A’s defense has made a league high 37 errors in 37 games, including at least one in 11-straight games, including allowing 26 unearned runs to score.
The highlight of the night came in the fourth inning in the form of a bases clearing Josh Reddick triple. The laser down the line in right gave the A’s a 4-2 lead at the time and snapped a 21-at bat hitless streak with runners in scoring position.
Next up, the new owners of the worst record in the MLB will look to get back in the win column behind the arm of Jesse Chavez (1-3, 2.56). He will be opposed on the mound by John Danks (1-3, 5.12) with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PST.