Recap: A’s @ Blue Jays Game 115
Wrap: Toronto 5, Oakland 4. A’s 65-50 (2nd Place, 1 game back)
Sonny Gray made his first Major League start today and got beat around a bit. The A’s fell into a hole early, tried to claw their way back but ultimately ended up short. The A’s fell out of first place for the first time since June 30th care of the surging Rangers closing what had been as wide as a six game gap as recently as July 29th. The A’s defense is to blame to a degree in this one as Gray got burned for two unearned runs from a second inning passed ball by Derek Norris to a should have been double play botched by Josh Donaldson. Pitching and defense wins ballgames and today the A’s featured OK pitching coupled with decidedly subpar defense.
The A’s mustered just four runs off of their eleven hits as they hit an abysmal 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position while stranding nine runners. Reddick again was the big story for the A’s offensively, following up his three-home run game with a two home run game today launching homers nine and ten on 2013 off of the starter Buehrle and off of closer Casey Janssen in the ninth as the A’s fell just short). Donaldson had a good day hitting 2-for-4 with two doubles (25 and 26) as did a few other A’s starters, notably Norris (3-for-4 with a K) and Cespedes (2-for-4 with 2 K’s). If the A’s had more timely hits they really should have won this game, especially when coupled with the defensive miscues that cost them so dearly as well. One big game chock full of missed opportunities.
Gray looked OK in his debut. He went six innings, throwing 94 pitches, allowing four runs (only two earned) on four hits including a home run by Jose Bautista, while walking three and striking out five. Through his first ten innings in the bigs the overall look is pretty good: 9.9 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 for a 1.80 ERA and 3.35 BABIP inducing a 46.2% GB%. Good outing with lots of positives to take away from, he really got hurt by Donaldson’s failure to turn a double play with a throwing error, which would have changed the entire tenor of the third inning and saved the A’s a run that ultimately was the difference in this game. Cook came in and pitched an inning, allowing a home run to Jose Reyes and striking out one. The home run to Reyes was the insurance run the Jays needed to keep up their lead. Balfour, in a non-save situation, came in and struck out two in his perfect inning.
There isn’t a real obvious candidate in this game. Guys who really cost the A’s otherwise had decent games and no one truly stood out as deficient. That’s why, I will go with Cook as the zero. The A’s had a slew of minor miscues that would come back to haunt them, but the A’s started to claw back into this one and then Cook gave up a home run to Reyes. Reyes isn’t a prototypical home run hitter and as such giving up a home run to him that ended up being the difference in the game is a pretty big deal. Relievers need to keep their teams in the game and Cook didn’t.