The Oakland A’s once again let slip the chance to win their first series sweep of the season yesterday, although they showed plenty of fight in the process.
I’ll be honest, once the A’s went down 11-1 to the Texas Rangers in the top of the sixth inning, I decided to call it a night and headed to bed.
That meant I missed the A’s offense finally coming alive, scoring seven runs on four homers including back-to-back-to-back jacks.
In another season I would reluctantly concede this late flurry as being of little consequence. When you are fighting for a play-off place, offensive outbursts when the game is already gone don’t count for anything. A loss is a loss whether it was a close game or not.
However, in a rebuilding year such as this there are always things you can take from every game, no matter the result.
It’s easy for a team to show character and spirit when things are going well. In a long tough season, finding a way to keep your heads up is a difficult task however professional the players are. You have to be impressed by the way a group of players who could have accepted yet another loss decided they were going to fight to the end come what may.
We’ll need those same battling qualities this week with another series against the Houston Astros and then three games in Chicago against the White Sox.
The Astros come into this week with a 64-32 record after sweeping a series in Seattle. They lead the Mariners by 13 games at the top of the AL West and are already a full 30 games ahead of the A’s, so the form book would suggest that the Astros should take at least two of the three games at the Coliseum.
The form book said the same thing just before the All-Star Break when the A’s went to Minute Maid Park and took two of three, so maybe Mark Kotay’s men can repeat that feat and sign off on what has been an encouraging home-stand so far. The probable pitching match-ups are as follows:
Game 1: Adam Oller – Jake Odorizzi
Game 2: Frankie Montas – Luis Garcia
Game 3: Cole Irvin – Cristian Javier
Much as I don’t want to think about it, the obvious thing to point out is Game Two on Tuesday and the strong likelihood that this will be Frankie’s final start in the Green and Gold at the Coliseum.
It seems all but certain that only a recurrence of his recent shoulder injury will prevent Montas from being dealt before the trade deadline on Tuesday August 2nd. If Frankie makes the start tomorrow as planned then his next scheduled start would not be until deadline day, as we have an off-day on Thursday and then on the Monday, so hopefully he can sign off in style with a great performance and a win.
Chicago White Sox (A)
The team will then head on to Chicago for our first meeting with the White Sox this season.
Tony La Russa’s team are currently an underwhelming 48-48 bearing in mind the talent on their roster and the expectations for them coming into the season. They have had some injuries to key players, with Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal returning recently from a spell on the sidelines, and Luis Robert has just joined that list due to illness. That still doesn’t explain how they are not over .500 having played nearly 100 games of the regular season.
So long as the White Sox sit in third place in the AL Central, the surprising decision by owner Jerry Reinsdorf to bring La Russa out of retirement to manage this young team ahead of the 2021 season will continue to be called into question. The one thing they have in their favour is that they only sit four games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins, so if they can get their act together over the next 64 games they still have a good chance of making the play-offs.
The probable pitching match-ups for the series are as follows:
Game 1: James Kaprielian – Lance Lynn
Game 2: Paul Blackburn – Johnny Cueto
Game 3: Adam Oller – Dylan Cease