It was a rough night for Bruce Maxwell behind the plate tonight. It started with a hard shot foul-tip off of Brad Miller’s bat. Nailed in the mask, Maxwell literally fell backward to the ground; this required, needless to say, a visit. Maxwell then tripped on his way to fielding a wild pitch strikeout and hitting the dirt hard. This was pretty much the metaphor for the night. Hard work, some pain, and not much gain from all the effort. The A’s came into this game winning 7 of the last 9 and sweeping the Central AL leading Cleveland Indians. So what went wrong? Usually we look to pitching first.
You can access the game thread blog here and see people’s reactions to the pitching and more: https://www.athleticsnation.com/2017/7/17/15987240/game-thread-93-as-versus-rays
Daniel Gossett wasn’t awful. In the second, Gossett left a ball too close to the middle of the plate and Steven Souza Jr. went long for the first Ray’s run of the game and Souza’s 19th homer of the season. Gossett walked Mallex Smith and then gave up his second wild pitch to allow Smith to second. Smith then scored on Evan Longoria’s fielder’s choice. And then Gossett gave up a 366 foot home run to Longoria in the 5th. But that was about it; ok, maybe that was pretty bad. Gossett did go 7 innings, giving up the three earned runs and notching 3 strikeouts and a walk.
So, what was it tonight? Well, it was a Ray kind of night!
The Ray’s pitching was solid as Odorizzi went 7 innings and only gave up one hit, striking out 5 and walking 2. That one hit was a home run by Khris Davis, #26 on the year.
Other than that, the A’s bats were quiet and there really wasn’t much of a challenge on their part. The defense, on the other hand, was strong. Alonso, for example, saved a run by making a solid fielding play and throw home to get the out. Well played by both Alonso and Maxwell who set up perfectly to make the tag.
The bottom of the 9th had the A’s down 3-1 and Yonder Alonso let the Rays know there was still life in the A’s bats as he knocked a double to leadoff the inning. A deep shot to center field, this had to have inflated the hope of fans in the stands, the second A’s hit of the game. Unfortunately Khris Davis grounded out to 3rd in a 5-3 putout, leaving Alonso stranded at 2nd. Jed Lowrie followed by grounding out to second baseman Trevor Plouffe but Alonso advanced to third. Two outs with DH Ryon Healy batting. A wild pitch by Ray’s pitcher Colome allowed Alonso to score. Unfortunately Healy was unable to manufacture anything more and grounded into a game-ending 6-3 out.
Bottom line, it seems the credit goes to Jake Odorizzi who kept the A’s off-balance with an excellent choice and mixture of pitches. Odorizzi only gave up one hit and the second came in the 9th, pretty difficult to score many runs on such a lack of offense.