Braden still winless since Mother’s Day perfecto
Offense: One-for-11 with RISP is all anyone needs to know about the offense in this one. Half the teams hits came from Rajai Davis and Mark Ellis – at opposite ends of the batting order. The A’s stole two bases and avoiding hitting into any GDPs for once, but it didn’t matter. But they couldn’t get to a pitcher (Randy Wells) who came into the game with a 5.15 ERA – typical. And when they needed a run in the ninth inning, veteran Gabe Gross fouled out with a runner on third and one out. GRADE: D
Defense: The Cubs made two errors that didn’t help the Oakland offense score, and A’s didn’t return the favor, fortunately. Oakland also turned the only double play of the game. GRADE: A
Pitching: Dallas Braden threw his best effort since the perfect game on May 9. And the team still couldn’t score enough to give him the win (although the bullpen deserves a lot of blame here, too.). In the nine innings on May 9, the A’s offense scored four runs. In Braden’s 40 innings since, the Oakland offense has scored four runs. Strange. In three innings, the bullpen gave up two runs and lost the game for Braden and the team. GRADE: C+
Coaching: Bob Geren needs to realize that the Michael Wuertz of 2009 is gone. The 2010 version is terrible, with a 6.35 ERA, and he is not capable of setting up Andrew Bailey any more – only putting Bailey in terrible position like he did on Thursday. And Jerry Blevins really isn’t to be trusted, either. This game is just as much on Geren as it is on the bullpen. GRADE: C
Overall Game Grade: C+. It’s tough when everyone does their job through most of the game only to see it collapse in the last five outs on the pitching side and the last at-bat on the offensive side.
Overall Season Grade: B. Winnable games that get away are painful, even in a 162-game season. Come September, most teams wish they hadn’t frittered away games like this earlier in the year.
A’s Record: 33-35. Heading to St. Louis, it’s bad coming off a poor effort like this. The A’s could easily get swept by the Cardinals as they face Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jeff Suppan (recently reacquired by St. Louis and probable to recapture his 2006 postseason magic).
A’s “Should Be” Record: 34-34. This really was a game Oakland should have won, twice. First, Wuertz blew the lead in the eighth inning, and then Gross couldn’t get the go-ahead run in from third with one out in the ninth. Two wasted chances, not to mention the pitching effort in the bottom of the ninth. Blown game, period.