Seattle 4, Oakland 2 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 6-4
Maybe it's because I'm in law school or I'm a sucker for nicknames and silly catchphrases, but apparently when David Aardsma closes a game the Mariners announcers use the phrase that I named this post after, and though the A's had to lose for me to hear it, I kind of like it. Anyway, to the game itself...
Like last night's game, this one brought the A's weaknesses to the forefront, as they again got essentially dominated by a fringy soft-tosser, this time lefty Jason Vargas, who tops out between 86-88 MPH with very mediocre secondary offerings. He beat the A's the same way Doug Fister did yesterday, by throwing strikes and daring the A's to beat him. It only happened once, when Jake Fox (one of only two real HR threats if you can even count Kouz as one) took him deep to center to give the A's an early 2-0 lead. Fox later flew out deep to right field, and while it was an out, it was nice to see him flash some power that the rest of the lineup is lacking.
The A's nursed the 2-0 lead into the 5th inning, when Gio Gonzalez fell apart after a decent start to his outing. His propensity for long at-bats sent his pitch count climbing and though he wasn't hit too hard (a Milton Bradley broken bat single tied the game) and his command wasn't that off, he did still walk 4 guys in 4.2 IP. And I have to question the decision to throw the 3-2 changeup to Franklin Gutierrez that loaded the bases with 1 out. I know it's a 2-run lead and Gutierrez has some power, but that's Gio's 3rd best pitch and I feel you have to challenge a guy with 92-94 MPH heat and make him beat you rather than load the bases with 1 out.
Chad Gaudin came in and got the final out of the inning (after walking Eric Byrnes) but then gave up two runs in the bottom of the 6th, which pretty much ended it as far as I was concerned with the way the A's were hitting. Brandon League and Aardsma quickly mowed through the A's, retiring 9 of 10 batters to end it.
When the A's started the road trip, I would have been satisfied with a 3-3 result, but to lose the last two has been a bit disappointing. While it is early to make wholesale changes to the offense, keep in mind that Baseball America named AAA Sacramento's lineup as the best in the minors before the season and it's only improved with the addition of Jack Cust this week. This recent article has a lot of interesting tidbits (Sean Doolittle, not doing well in rehab) and does give some hope that the A's will get some offensive reinforcements as the season wears on.