After yet another blown save today by the Oakland Athletics bullpen—the number is now an MLB-worst 21 blown saves this year by the A’s, by the way—Oakland showed what kind of resiliency its always shown under Manager Bob Melvin, pulling out a victory in the 11th inning on the road. With the 7-4 victory, the A’s won two of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and sadly, the one game they didn’t win was the one started by their ace, Sonny Gray.
The three-game set at Chase Field really highlighted all the positives and problems of the 2015 Oakland A’s, so it’s telling they managed to win two of three—something they haven’t done much of this season. If they had, the A’s would find themselves still fighting for a playoff spot instead of dwelling at the bottom of the American League with a 57-74 record. Oakland is one of only six AL teams with a positive run differential, yet the club has the worst mark in the league by three games. It’s been that kind of a wasted season for the A’s.
Friday night, they lost with Gray on the mound due to shoddy defense; Saturday, the A’s managed to win a one-run ball game, just the team has pulled off just 15 times in 45 games this year. Today, they blew a save but recovered to win the game in extra innings. Oakland is just 6-9 in extras this year, and the 15-30 record in one-run games has killed them. The bullpen’s issues are well-known, as are the defensive problems: It gets boring and tedious recounting them every week of the season.
Yet in this short series against Arizona, all of it—the beauty and the horror—was on display, and the A’s managed to come out ahead. It’s too bad they couldn’t pull that off all season. The Texas Rangers and their minus-19 run differential are in the final AL wild-card spot right now with a 68-61 record. Oakland is 9-4 against Texas this year, having outscored them 76-44 in those 13 games. See what we mean by a wasted season?
Five positives from this weekend to highlight on our way back home to the O.co Coliseum for a nine-game home stand against three division foes:
- Stephen Vogt went 6-for-13 with four RBI to get a little on track again with his bat.
- Marcus Semien has made just three errors this month at short, and he delivered the game-winning hit today in the 11th inning.
- Danny Valencia could be a long-term solution at third, moving Brett Lawrie to second and filling a huge hole there for 2016.
- Despite Friday night’s loss, Gray still has a good shot at the AL Cy Young Award this season.
- Starting pitchers this series gave up just five earned runs in 17 1/3 innings, even if the defense contributed to four unearned runs during those same innings.
As Oakland prepares to take on the Los Angeles Angels, the Seattle Mariners and the Houston Astros—each for three games at the Coliseum—hopefully they can demonstrate that this season was a random bad one as they start preparing for 2016 a little bit early.