Recap: Angels @ A’s Game 29
Wrap: Los Angeles 5, Oakland 4. A’s 16-13 (2nd Place, 2 games back)
The Angels for the first time this season in six tries defeat the A’s. Mark Trumbo continues to be an Athletic killer with another home run today off of Tommy Milone giving him three home runs this series – one in each game. The A’s just didn’t look sharp in this afternoon’s game and when you aren’t sharp you don’t win, especially true in close ballgames like this one where any of the A’s little mistakes could’ve instead resulted in victory.
It seems, which makes sense, that the A’s want Montz for his bat and bat him at designated hitter today. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored his lone hit being a double in his first MLB experience since 2008. Overall the A’s just didn’t really have much timely hitting, hitting 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position but stranding 13. Freiman and Smith both left two runners in scoring position with two outs, while Montz and Eric Sogard both left one stranded in the same situation. That is a recipe for not winning, by comparison the Angels only had one such stranded runner. Smith’s day was just all around bad going 0-for-5 with four K’s. On the basepaths the A’s did not do themselves any favors either with the big gaffe going to Cespedes in the ninth when he overslid second base by a country mile and Erick Aybar smartly put the tag on giving Hank Conger a caught stealing he did not earn at all. While unclear if the caught stealing would really impact the outcome as the ninth inning would later feature two walks, it was a frustrating and ill-timed miscue.
There is a line of thought that pitchers control only three things: whether or not they walk a player; whether or not they strike a player out; and whether or not they allow a home run. This is the basis of all defense-independent pitching statistics. I don’t know that I entirely believe this premise. Yes, walks and strikeouts are all under the domain of the pitcher, and maybe moonshots are his fault too and his fault alone, but regardless Milone’s outing today gives plenty for people to talk about regarding just how responsible he was for this loss. Milone went seven innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits – the key part being three of those hits were home runs (all but one of his runs came off those home runs too). Howie Kendrick victimized him in the second, Mike Trout in the sixth and Trumbo in the sixth as well. That said, Milone walked no one and also struck out a career high ten. Neshek meanwhile failed to in his job of stopping the bleeding as he allowed three hits in his inning of work resulting in one run. Fortunately Cook pitched a perfect inning striking out two.
Any time you allow three home runs in a game, and I don’t care how good the opposition is and the Angels aren’t bad, you are not setting your team up for a chance to win. These home runs, despite one being disputed and reviewed, were not ones that outfielders had a shot at. Milone is fully to blame for this loss for being so homer happy with his HR/9 up to 1.4 now including 1.7 HR/9 in Oakland. Last year Milone allowed 1.1 HR/9 but that was largely based upon his ugly home/road split as he only allowed 0.6 HR/9 at the Coliseum. Sometimes you give up the big flies, and today was that day for Milone making him the zero.