This past week, when the A’s have been playing great baseball, I forgot that they actually have a pretty lousy offense.
Well that lousy offense reared its ugly head last night. Ryan Sweeney is still hitting third in this batting order, people. We should have known.
It took the A’s getting shut out by the Mariners – 8 innings (!) by Doug Fister (!!) and one by David Aardsma – for me to appreciate the games that had been played the previous eight days.
Of course it seems I unfairly singled out Ryan Sweeney, as he had one of the A’s three hits last night. But as the team’s number 3 hitter, he should be the guy coming up with the big hits, so I have reason to single him out and will continue to do so until he a) steps it up, or b) moves down in the order in favor of Kurt Suzuki, Jack Cust, or Chris Carter.
But enough about the lack of offense. Let’s talk about the other side of the ball, which was mostly very good for the A’s.
Brett Anderson left the game after six innings, having given up a total of zero runs. His line read like a scary end-of-the-world prophecy with 6 innings pitched, 6 hits, and 6 strikeouts. And it very easily could have been the end of the world for him as he clearly didn’t have his best stuff, but he pitched out of a couple of really messy jams.
First came the bottom of the 4th when the Mariners had runners at second and third with nobody out, and Anderson struck out Casey Kotchman and Rob Johnson to get out of it. Then in the bottom of both the 5th and the 6th, the Mariners had two-on, two-out situations, and Anderson pitched out of both.
And one of the better defensive plays we’ll see all year for the A’s came in the 7th inning, after a Chone Figgins double. With Franklin Gutierrez batting, Brad Ziegler threw a pitch way wide and outside to the right handed hitter, and Kurt Suzuki had to lunge and practically do a somersault to catch it. Figgins got excited and broke for third, and Suzuki made a throw ON. THE. MONEY. It was a thing of beauty and Figgins was out.
But the 0-0 game had to end sometime, as soon as Ziegler came out of the ‘pen in the 7th and started throwing wildly, it was clear what was going to happen. In the 8th, he grooved a pitch to Milton Bradley with two on, and bye-bye baseball. Game over.
Sure, it was going to happen and it will happen again. Just as long as it doesn’t become a trend.