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Losing Season Clinched

September 14, 2011

The A’s fell to the Angels today 4-1, guaranteeing that the Athletics finish with a sub .500 record on the year. This is absolutely not what anyone expected when the season began and though it looked increasingly obvious that it’d be the outcome over the summer, it still is an upsetting day to have it finally be official.

The A’s offense today was provided by one person, Josh Willingham. In the third inning he took a high fastball from Jered Weaver and deposited it over the 388 mark in left-center field. At the time it gave the A’s a 1-0 lead. Through five innings, A’s starter Rich Harden would hold that lead as the Angels couldn’t must much off the former ace. Weaver meanwhile too get the A’s at bay that singular mistake being his only fault. In the top of the sixth the dynamics of the game would change as Harden faltered.

The sixth began with a walk to Howie Kendrick. The next hitter Bobby Abreu doubled it into the gap in right center and scored Kendrick from first. After Torii Hunter grounded out to advance Abreu to third, Mark Trumbo stepped up to the plate. Trumbo drilled a Harden pitch over the 362 sign in left, a line drive home run that was hard to track on TV but just kept going and going out in a hurry. With that the tie was broken and the Angels leading 3-1 would not look back.

In the eighth with Andrew Carignan pitching and Abreu on third, Mark Trumbo bolted for second base. Despite being a big hulking first baseman, Trumbo was 8-for-12 in steal attempts, and made it 9-for-13 as Eric Sogard missed the Kurt Suzuki throw. With the ball ending up in the outfield Abreu raced home to score the insurance run. The game would finish 4-1 with Jordan Walden coming out to close it out for the Halos.

With that, as said earlier, the A’s officially finish their season with a losing record. The game encapsulated much of this lost year, a lack of timely hitting (the A’s were 0-for-7 with RISP and left nine runners on), poor defense (both Sogard and Scott Sizemore had errors in the game), turned a decent pitching game (just three earned runs) into a needless loss. Amazingly, despite facing one of the premiere pitchers in the American League in Weaver, the A’s only K’d once against him in seven innings, but their failure to get guys home ultimately felled them in this one.

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