Braden tough-luck loser again
Offense: Yes, Justin Verlander is a great pitcher, but the A’s have beaten comparable or better pitchers in the last few weeks (James Shields, Felix Hernandez). And no, you can’t win them all. So sometimes, you just have to tip your hat to the guy who is dealing and move forward. But still, five base runners will rarely win a game, especially for Oakland. At least the A’s only struck out five times; they made plenty of contact against Verlander. GRADE: F
Defense: Pretty non-descript game for the defense, which is often the case in baseball. No one notices when you do your job well. No double plays, no errors. Cliff Pennington made a great over-the-shoulder catch in the first inning to save a run. GRADE: A
Pitching: Dallas Braden has pitched decently in his two starts since perfection, but he has little to show for it in immediate results. Long-term, this just builds his confidence, of course – not that he needs it after tossing the gem on Mother’s Day. Through six innings, Braden was dealing. He only threw 79 pitches, though, and he was ill this weak in terms of strength and even took an IV after the game. Gritty. The bullpen didn’t do a great job in keeping the game close, but maybe it didn’t matter with the way Verlander was going. GRADE: C–
Coaching: Bob Geren put perhaps the A’s most optimal offense lineup together for this game, and it still didn’t matter. He’s not on the field himself, so you can fault him there. And with Braden ill, the manager has to trust his starter on what he has and what he doesn’t – so there’s no fault in terms of leaving Braden in the game too long. GRADE: A
Overall Game Grade: C. Some days are just destined to be in the favor of the other team, but the offense always needs to do better than this, especially at home, no matter who is on the other mound for the opposing team.
Overall Season Grade: B. In the earlier part of the 2000s, the A’s used to thrive on second-half focus to get the team into the playoffs. Early season, they’d wallow around, playing inconsistently. Those teams had more talent than this team does, however, so that theory hasn’t held for the past three seasons. And it won’t hold this year, either.
A’s Record: 20-21. I bet Billy Beane really wants to stick it to Jeremy Bonderman. Maybe he should put together a team that can actually be expected to do so?
A’s “Should Be” Record: 20-21. Dropping below .500 again and losing a game to Texas in the standings while at home is not what the doctor ordered for the A’s this week. They absolutely need to win this game against the Tigers today. Both Detroit (14-6) and Oakland (10-5) have very good day-game records.