Recap: A’s @ Reds Game 113
Wrap: Cincinnati 6, Oakland 5. A’s 64-49 (1st Place, tie)
And there goes the A’s division lead as today’s loss coupled with the Rangers’ win meant that the A’s found themselves tied for the division lead. The A’s best the Rangers with a better run differential (+54 to Texas’ +41) but that is a mere moral victory and there are no moral victories in baseball. The A’s needed their ace Bartolo Colon to step up and end the skid and he did none of that with a pretty miserable outing in Cincinnati. As an aside, Great American Ballpark has a great name that seems fitting for the home of America’s first professional baseball team. Despite having a parade each and every opening day Cincinnati is in my books America’s worst city and Great American Ballpark (actually named for Great American an insurance company) one of the game’s worst with terrible sightlines. If you ever get a chance to go to a game in Cincinnati, prepare yourself to be disappointed, I’ve never found any seat where I’ve felt a part of the action.
The offense had an OK outing. Five runs and eleven hits was not enough to win. Donaldson launched a home run off of Bailey to get a run back in the second with the A’s down 1-0. After that the A’s scoring would all be too little too late. The A’s got burned by some poor baserunning when in the fourth a Vogt single scored Moss but the trailing runner Callaspo got tossed out by Jay Bruce (who also burned Colon with a long home run to right field over the Wyler Auto Group sign, a company that burned me at Wyler Chevrolet in Springfield, Ohio years ago). More burning took place on the play as not only did Bruce gun down Callaspo but Callaspo left the game with a contussion on his forearm. Since joining the A’s at the trade deadline, Callaspo has hit .154/.214/.308 in 14 trips to the plate. Back to back hits from the A’s in the top of the sixth would narrow the Reds’ lead as Donaldson singled home Lowrie and then Eric Sogard (in for Callaspo) tripled home Moss and Donaldson. The 5-6-7-8 hitters all did well in this one, oftentimes regardless of whether or not they were replaced: #5 Moss (2-for-4), #6 Donaldson (2-for-4, HR), #7 Callaspo (2-for-2, 2B) and Sogard (2-for-2, 3B), #8 Vogt (1-for-1, BB) and Derek Norris (1-for-2).
Colon has been great this year but today was not one of those great days. Just two and two-thirds innings from the from the 40-year-old hurler during which he allowed five earned runs off of seven hits including the Bruce home run, while walking three and K’ing just two. It was good for an ugly 16.88 ERA in the game, tempered little by a 9.80 FIP. It was a bad outing no matter which way you sliced it. He threw only 67 pitches, faced only 18 batters and left the game to the bullpen. Who aside from a run from Chavez held the Reds at bay. Chavez lasted two and a third innings in the long relief role, allowed just that one run, on three hits while walking one and striking out three. Ohio-native Blevins then threw an inning with a K. Cook went an inning and a third and Doolittle two-thirds of an inning and the A’s at least saved some degree of face. Remembering still: there are no moral victories in baseball.
Colon hasn’t been in this column too often but the A’s win this game if Colon pitched an “average” performance from 2013 which is going a little more than 6 1/3, allowing about six hits and allowing about two runs in those innings. The A’s win this game maybe 5-3 or 5-4. But alas that was not to be. He pitched horribly, whether his stuff was just hittable or the Reds just found holes (.500 BABIP – either or both could have been true) it didn’t matter. He did not put the A’s in a position to win regardless and as a starting pitcher that is basically your job. Don’t do your job and you become the zero.