After the wondrous walk-off in Game One, Game Two against the Angels was full of frustration.
It feels difficult to strike the right balance at the moment in this unusual season. It would be wrong to over-react to a couple of days of batting line-up struggles – 7 runs scored in Game One notwithstanding – as that is the way things go in baseball; however time is of the essence in this 60-game sprint and teams can ill-afford to go into slumps.
Things could have turned out very differently in Game Two but for Chappy grounding into a double-play in the eighth inning. Ty “Butter Fingers” Buttrey had got himself into some trouble by giving up singles to Semien and Laureano to start the inning and that was the time to strike.
Chapman worked a good at-bat, so it wasn’t for lack of a plan at the plate, and if the ball evades Andrelton Simmons then we would have been in business. Fine margins can often decide a ball-game and it is all the more important that those moments go your way when there are comparatively few ball-games to determine your fate.
Other things of note
Sean Manaea looked much more like his old self over his first four innings of work. It unravelled a bit in the fifth, but it was a positive performance to build on.
Jesús Luzardo is going to be an outstanding starting pitcher for years to come. Twirling three dominant innings despite what he’s been through in recent weeks just goes to show his level of talent. We’re going to have a lot of fun watching The Messiah in the Green and Gold.
In a recent podcast we discussed our hopes that KD would have his Khrush back this season. Even when he’s had strong seasons we’ve seen him go through bouts of Hack-Happy-itis akin to his at-bats in the first two games of this season. He always seems to be one swing away from finding his groove again and, for the A’s to really start rolling, we need that swing to come soon.
Up next …
Today would be a good time for KD to Khrush a couple. Shohei Ohtani makes his first start on the mound for the Angels since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery back in 2018, with ‘The Patron Saint of Clean Baseball’ Mike Fiers pitching for the A’s.
First pitch is 21:10 UK time (1.10pm Oakland) and we’ll be doing a Zoom watch-along during the game. Get in contact via our Twitter account if you’d like to join in.