Monday was the whole lot we wish to see extra of from the Oakland A’s, besides that it was the Chicago White Sox doing it.
The White Sox scored in 5 completely different innings regardless of recording just one extra-base hit, and their bullpen shortened the sport with a barrage of strikeouts, leaving the A’s on the improper finish of a 5-2 determination at Assured Charge Subject.
Chicago didn’t depend on energy, they usually solely went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring place. However they reached base 14 occasions, between 10 hits, three walks, and a HBP, and as soon as aboard they pressured extra motion by hustling and persevering with to make contact. They by no means prolonged a rally lengthy sufficient to attain twice in an inning, however they nonetheless pieced collectively 5 runs.
Within the third inning, it was a pair of singles and a deep sac fly. Within the 4th it was a two-out single, then a stroll, then an RBI single. Within the fifth it was a groundball single, a bunt misplayed by the A’s finest defender, then a liner off the glove of that very same elite defender for an RBI. Within the sixth it was a single, a steal, a productive groundout, and a squeeze bunt. Their solely extra-base hit got here within the eighth, and it was a solo homer.
Most of these singles had been well-hit, and Chicago additionally crushed a number of loud outs, so the small-ball wasn’t for lack of high quality contact. However on an evening when none of their hits had been discovering gaps or partitions, and after they by no means strung collectively greater than three hits in a single inning, they constantly made the additional play obligatory to make sure they didn’t waste their scoring alternatives.
The A’s themselves have gotten higher at this type of play currently, particularly due to their latest commerce acquisitions, however the Sox placed on a clinic in what to attempt for. Sadly, Oakland wasn’t in a position to rustle up sufficient of it tonight.
It began nicely sufficient, because the A’s struck first with a pair of runs within the 2nd. Matt Chapman homered, his fourth dinger within the final three video games, although like all of the others it was solo. The underside of the lineup proceeded to load the bases with a HBP and two walks, and Mark Canha got here by means of with an RBI single. However that was all they received, and whereas it was good to see the rally produce greater than zero, it was as soon as once more irritating to see an inning that included a solo homer and three runners left on base — nearly any rearrangement in sequencing would have helped loads.
Oakland by no means scored once more. They scattered a number of particular person runners however weren’t in a position to create something out of it like Chicago did.
They received shut within the eighth inning. With Matt Olson on first base, Jed Lowrie hit a deep drive to right-center that one-hopped the wall for an automated double. Olson most likely may have scored if the ball had stayed within the park, so maybe that’s a bit a of unhealthy fortune. However, they now had second and third with one out, and their hottest hitter Chapman on the plate, and that ought to have nonetheless resulted in a run however as an alternative Chapman struck out and so did the subsequent batter. A flyout may have salvaged Olson’s run, or a single may have tied the sport, however the White Sox made their very own luck by not permitting contact in any respect.
The truth is, Chicago’s bullpen recorded strikeouts for 9 of their closing 12 outs. Granted, it was a mix of high-profile stars in Michael Kopech, Craig Kimbrel, and Liam Hendriks, so matching that degree of dominance isn’t essentially an inexpensive normal, but it surely’s certain an efficient method to cease the opponent from mounting a late comeback.
As for the A’s pitching, Frankie Montas snapped his streak of six straight high quality begins however he wasn’t unhealthy. There was some onerous contact however not an excessive amount of, and he prevented lengthy rallies, and he stored the ball within the park, and he missed a ton of bats. However the White Sox have a troublesome lineup they usually had been nonetheless in a position to scratch out sufficient in opposition to him.
- Montas: 5 ip, 3 runs, 6 Ks, 3 BB, 8 hits, 99 pitches, 89.4 mph EV
The largest downside with that line is gifting Chicago three free passes, however tonight none of his walks got here round to attain. It was all of the hits and sacrifices and hustle.
Essentially the most irritating run was simply the one within the fifth. After a leadoff single, the Sox laid a bunt down the 3B line that may have gone foul however Chapman pounced for an opportunity at an out. Nonetheless, he bobbled the ball and as an alternative handed them a free baserunner. Later within the inning they drilled a 102 mph liner straight at him that he often catches for a loud out, however this time it glanced off his glove and trickled into left area. If the two-time Platinum Glover completes simply a type of two performs (or possibly even when he simply lets the bunt go foul) then it’s a scoreless body.
Additionally irritating was seeing extra injury completed by an opponent’s random backup catcher out of the No. 9 spot of the lineup. Seby Zavala singled and scored within the third, hit the RBI single within the 4th, after which delivered the RBI squeeze bunt within the sixth in opposition to Yusmeiro Petit. Reigning MVP Jose Abreu went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, however they couldn’t determine Zavala. (The A’s received successful and a stroll out of their very own random No. 9 batter, Vimael Machin, however with out the identical run-production impact.)
One brilliant spot got here out of Oakland’s bullpen, as A.J. Puk fired one other scoreless body with two extra strikeouts and constant 96 mph velocity. Puk has pitched 4 occasions since being referred to as up from the minors, for a scoreless inning every time.
Strive once more tomorrow
The A’s did some stuff nicely, however the White Sox performed a greater sport. They received on base extra, they pressured extra performs to earn their temporary rallies, and their bullpen locked down the ultimate innings. However Oakland at its finest is able to doing the whole lot Chicago pulled off at the moment, so go flip that script tomorrow.