OAKLAND — One could refer to the A’s as the ultimate hot-and-cold team, but reliever Sean Doolittle goes with another label.
“It’s almost like a Jekyll-and-Hyde type scenario,” he said after Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Yankees. “When we’re on, we’re capable of playing some really good baseball. Unfortunately, it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster. We’ve been a little inconsistent.”
The A’s were swept in four games at home over the weekend against New York. That came on the heels of taking three straight from the Texas Rangers. Going back to the season’s early stages, the A’s swept Seattle on their first road trip only to immediately lose four in a row. They followed that up with a six-game winning streak. Then they opened May by losing nine out of 10 before taking five out of six. Then came the sweep at the hands of the Yankees this past weekend, only the second time New York has ever swept four games at the Coliseum.
Sunday’s finale turned in the top of the sixth, an inning after the A’s had commanded a 3-2 lead. With two outs and two runners aboard, manager Bob Melvin opted to pull starter Jesse Hahn after he struck out Brian McCann, though Hahn was only at 73 pitches. John Axford came in and allowed a tying single by Mark Teixeira and then Starlin Castro’s go-ahead single to make it 4-3. The Yankees wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
“I thought he’d pitched well,” Melvin said of Hahn. “He was ahead when he came out of the game, and I wasn’t going to leave my three best (relievers) in my pocket with 10 outs to go.”
Said Hahn: “It’s tough. Obviously I want to pitch that inning. I want to keep going, but I don’t necessarily disagree with the decision. Our bullpen has been great all year.”
Left fielder Khris Davis, out of Sunday’s lineup due to right forearm tightness, entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth and grounded out to third with the tying tying run on second. Melvin had indicated before the game he was “optimistic” Davis would be able to serve as DH in Monday’s series opener at Seattle.
Speaking of the Mariners, since they last played the A’s on May 4, the teams have headed in opposite directions. Seattle has gone 10-6 and is 26-17 overall, leading the AL West by 1 1/2 games over Texas. The A’s are 6-10 over that stretch, 19-26 overall, and reside in fourth place, eight games off the pace.
But the A’s can look forward to Rich Hill, their best starter in 2016, taking the ball in Monday’s series opener. Hill struck out 10 in a win at Safeco Field in early April.
The A’s were swept in a four-game series at the Coliseum for the first time since April 26-29, 1999 against Cleveland. Oakland lost the season series against the Yankees, 4-3, for the first time since 2011.
Evidence that the A’s need Jed Lowrie back from the D.L.: Chris Coghlan, the primary second baseman in his absence, is hitless in his past 14 at-bats and 1-for-22 (.045) in his last seven games.