The Oakland Ashes lost again on Tuesday. It was with more than one run this time! But it still felt a lot like any other game this month, as everything the Axis did just fell short, while everything the opponent did was maximized by eerily perfect sequencing.
The final score turned out to be 7-4 in favor of the San Diego Padres, but it could just as well have been any pair of numbers these days. When you’re in a slump, nothing seems to work.
*** Click here to rewatch tonight’s Game Thread! ***
That is not to say that the As should have won this match. They were beaten by another good team. But on a day when they crushed hard contact for most of the games and racked up 11 hits, including five for extra bases, excuse me for suggesting this could have easily gone better with even a miniscule amount of luck.
At first, it looked like Oakland was finally going to get some jumps. In the 3rd inning, pitcher James Kaprielian (batting in the NL park) had his first career hit, and his teammates started to load the bases behind him. Matt Olsons 392-foot drive fell for just a sack fly, then Jed Lowrie hit a second run at home with a single, and Sean Murphy dropped a flare down the RF line for a lucky RBI.
They loaded the bases and then cashed! And the final RBI was pure luck! Sure, Olson came tantalizingly short of a grand slam, but the rally still worked better than some have seen of late.
Then the good feelings ended.
On the mound, Kaprielian crossed the order the first time and gave up only one basehit. But with two outs in the 3rd inning, Adam Frazier (in his Padres debut after being taken over on Sunday) did a happy infield single, and then Fernando Tatis Jr. hit an 800-foot homer for two runs. That was a legitimate moonshot from one of the best hitters in the sport, but not the dinger need to come immediately after the happiest hit of the night. It could have just been a solo shot, like each of Olson’s last 11 home runs!
Oakland almost got one of the runs back. In the top of the fifth, they got a runner to third base and Lowrie hit a 99 mph hit to the right side, but it was caught for a loud out to strand the runner.
Kaprielian rode on to 5th, for no one but Tatis could hit him. But then the Padres had another lucky hit to open the inning, and Kaprielian went a little wild at that point, something he normally does every start but usually works through. He almost escaped again! But not completely. Jake Cronenworth touch exactly the ball that Lowrie had hit in the top half but he went on for two runs. Could have been a double! But that was not the case and Kaprielian was expelled from the competition.
With the collection still on, Yusmeiro Klein came in for relief but served a three-run dinger for Manny Machado. Well now.
on the 7th, Tony Kemp hit a homer to the right just kidding it landed literally a foot short of a double from the top of the wall and then stranded. In the 2nd, 5th and 7th inning, they doubled and stranded the runner (twice the double). led from the frame and it still didn’t matter). In the 1st and 4th, they reached first base but grounded into double plays.
Of course, they finally hit a homer in the 8th, but with no one on base. Solo track for Sean Murphy, too little too late.
The Ashes finished with 11 hits and one walk, with five of their hits to extra-bases and three hits with runners in scoring position. The Padres finished with 12 hits and two walks, just three for extra-bases, and the same three hits with RISP. But San Diego’s all came together in two big innings, while the Ashes managed to evenly disperse theirs in some scoreless frames.
Just keep swimming
Listen, you can think what you want. If you look at these games and conclude that the As is not good enough to win, then you will.
But the Ash knocked the ball out of the blue today, and Kaprielian was good against everyone on the Padres except the guy who is arguably the best player in the majors right now, which is a blemish I can live with. If you want to believe the A’s are a worse team because their hits don’t fit in rallies this month, go for it. If you want to freak out because the opponent’s home runs were preceded by a bunch of dope BABIP singles, fine.
I will wait here until this is over and the talent to rise back to the top, as usual during a six month marathon. That doesn’t mean I enjoy it. These games are terrible to look at, and even worse to write down. But if you keep throwing and hitting and fielding like that, you’re going to win games again. Keep the faith and ride the wave.
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