Coming into a three-game series against the defending World Series champion Royals, especially right after getting swept at home by the Angels, I wasn’t expecting much from the A’s this weekend. So I’m pretty surprised to be sitting here writing a blog post about how the A’s are 6-7 and not 5-8 or 4-9. But that’s just what I’m doing!
Friday’s game went about how I expect all games against the Royals to go. They jumped ahead early and then score just enough to hand the ball over to their lights out bullpen in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. You better be ahead after six innings or it’s goodnight, Charlie. And it was that way for the A’s on Friday as they lost 4-2.
Saturday, however, the A’s were able to turn the tables, jumping ahead in the 1st inning thanks to a three-run homer by Josh Reddick. Untimely errors by Jed Lowrie at second base and a shaky 9th inning from Ryan Madson nearly cost the A’s this one, but the A’s hung on to win it 5-3.
Then came Sunday. This was a game that, early on, felt very much like the games in the Angels series. The Royals again scored early, taking a 2-0 lead after three innings, and the A’s offense just muddled along, hitting popup after popup and grounder after grounder, their bats looking incapable of doing anything resembling scoring runs. Scoring opportunities were wiped out by a Billy Butler double play and then a Butler strikeout looking. In fact the A’s first run came on a strikeout with a passed ball with a runner at third. I certainly expected the late inning Royals bullpen to nail this one down.
And that bullpen had their chance. The Royals had a 2-1 lead going into the 7th and after starter Kris Medlen allowed a ground rule double to Chris Coghlan, they handed the ball to that lights out bullpen. But Jed Lowrie, pinch hitting for Butler, singled to right field on Kelvin Herrera to tie the game up at 2-2. And the in the 8th, Billy Burns got to the Royals 8th inning man, Joakim Soria, leading off the inning with a triple and Reddick provided the sac fly to put the A’s up 3-2 and the A’s would hang on to win by that score after another Madson save.
Pretty impressive, all things considered. I don’t think this is a game that the 2015 A’s would have won. Maybe things are really different this year! These 2016 A’s are now 4-2 in one-run games.
Now the A’s head on their first long road trip of the year – 10 games against east coast teams. That’s good for me because that means the games are all on at a reasonable time for me to be able to watch them live, but I know teams don’t love long road trips like that. If the A’s can pull off 5-5, I will certainly take that. First stop – the Bronx and a three-game series with the Yankees. Go A’s…