The A’s 50th loss of the season Friday shared a common characteristic with many of the 49 that came before it – a breakdown from the bullpen that turned a close game into a not-so-close one.
But to hang a 5-1 loss to Cleveland solely on an off-night from reliever Drew Pomeranz wouldn’t be accurate. The A’s have lost three in a row now, and in each game, we’ve seen a pattern develop offensively.
Oakland has jumped on the scoreboard early, only to be shut down after that. On Wednesday against the Yankees, the A’s scored twice in the second, then went silent until they scored twice in the ninth of an eventual 5-4 loss. In Thursday’s matinee at New York, they again scored twice in the second but mustered just one hit the rest of the game, and that didn’t come until the ninth as they lost 6-2.
In Friday’s series opener at Cleveland, things got off to a promising start as the A’s scored in the first to take an early lead. From that point on, not a single Athletic advanced past second base in a 5-1 defeat. Some credit rightfully needs to go to Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, who struck out eight and came within an out of a complete game.
But the A’s are better than this offensively. At least, they were.
On the heels of an 11-game stretch during which they averaged 6.9 runs and hit .306, the A’s are now averaging just three runs and hitting .229 over their last 14 games.
Those numbers speak for themselves.
What a nutty three days it’s been for right-hander Chris Bassitt. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday after two impressive starts filling in for Sonny Gray. That demotion was expected. By Friday, he was right back with the A’s and preparing for another big league start Saturday in place of Jesse Hahn, who will join the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.
Bassitt didn’t even make a start for Nashville, and he’ll be going on five days’ rest, nothing that’s wildly out of the ordinary. Though no one wants their opportunities to come as a result of teammates’ misfortune, for Bassitt, it’s another chance to shine. He allowed just three runs over his two spot starts for Gray and issued just one walk over 10 2/3 innings.
Saturday’s game will also be a homecoming. Bassitt was born in Toledo, Ohio and pitched collegiately at the University of Akron.
In case you’re curious about how some A’s minor leaguers with major league experience are faring at Triple-A:
Infielder Ryan Roberts, who signed a minor league deal in April, is batting .296 with three homers and 30 RBI in 66 games with the Sounds. He’s been playing mostly third base but also some at the middle infield spots.
Dayan Viciedo, a corner outfielder who also has been seeing time at first base and DH for Nashville, is hitting .227 with one homer and three RBI in 20 games. Viciedo signed with the A’s June 11.
Neither player is currently on the A’s 40-man roster.