Thursday, September 11, 2014

Game of the Day (9/10/14)

White Sox 2, A's 1. Jeff Samardzija, one of Oakland's prize midseason acquisitions, faced Chris Bassitt, a 25-year-old rookie who had made his first big league appearance less than 2 weeks prior (though it did come on August 30, narrowly exempting Bassitt from pejorative categorization as a September callup).

Bassitt retired the A's in order in the first; Samardzija allowed a single to Adam Eaton and a Jose Abreu double, but Alexei Ramirez hit into a double play in between them, so the game remained scoreless. The next hitter to reach was Jordan Danks, who led off the bottom of the third with a single and was also erased on a double play. Oakland finally put a runner on when Coco Crisp started the fourth with a single; Sam Fuld's walk moved Crisp to second, Josh Donaldson hit into a double play that advanced Crisp to third, and Adam Dunn singled him home with the game's first run.

Samardzija responded to his first lead with a flawless fourth. Bassitt allowed only a two-out Jed Lowrie single in the fifth; the White Sox got a walk and steal from Avisail Garcia, sent him to third on a groundout, and left him there. A Donaldson double and a Dunn walk represented a threat from the A's in the sixth, but nothing came of it; Chicago got singles from Eaton and Ramirez in the bottom of the inning, but Eaton was picked off before Ramirez reached, so no rally materialized.

Bassitt was pulled after Derek Norris led off the seventh with a single, and Eric Surkamp retired the next three A's. Samardzija worked around a hit by Andy Wilkins in the bottom of the inning, keeping the Oakland lead intact. Zach Putnam walked Crisp to open the eighth, but Crisp was thrown out trying to take second on a pitch that proved insufficiently wild. Still, the A's held a one-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth.

Having thrown 114 pitches, Samardzija was replaced by Luke Gregerson to begin the home eighth. Carlos Sanchez led off with a single, and was replaced by pinch runner Leury Garcia. Eaton laid down a bunt that induced a Nate Freiman error as the first baseman went for the lead runner. Ramirez and Abreu struck out, but a wild pitch during the second of those at bats moved the runners to second and third. Conor Gillaspie was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Garcia then singled in two runs to put the Sox in front. Jake Petricka relieved and set the A's down in order in the ninth to end it.

Coming into this game, you'd have thought a pitching matchup of established stalwart vs. neophyte would be a perfect chance for a flagging pennant hopeful to pick up an actual victory. And despite a tepid performance from the once-solid Oakland lineup, the first seven innings appeared to be shaping up in exactly that way.

Instead, the A's absorbed yet another rather horrible loss, and have now gone from having the best record in baseball to being squarely in doubt for making the postseason at all, just 1 game ahead of the Tigers (currently the second wild card) and 1.5 up on Seattle (currently out of the playoffs). They've gone 8-18 over the last not-quite-month of play (8-19, actually, since they lost the game after this one as well), and may well be on their way to a collapse of historic caliber.

No comments:

Post a Comment