The victories serve as a tease, when the A’s show a glimpse every now and then of the quality baseball they’re capable of playing.
Then performances like Tuesday’s make the good times seem like some sort of mirage. With the chance to string back-to-back victories together, Oakland fell flat again in a 6-4 loss to the Astros. They ran themselves into trouble on the bases, then reliever Fernando Abad let a close game get away as he faced three batters and served up two homers.
But here’s where a short memory is required. The A’s can wipe away Tuesday’s mistakes and take this three-game series from the American League West leaders if they manage to pull out Wednesday afternoon’s series finale.
They’ll have to reverse some trends to do so. The A’s are 1-12 in day games this season. They’re 1-11 in the final game of a series, and they are 1-8 in games started by a left-hander. Houston’s Dallas Keuchel takes the ball Wednesday. He’s 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA and is one of the better southpaws in the game.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Gray, A's fall flat in loss to Astros]
Some other assorted notes and updates …
--Abad allowed a .191 batting average and one homer to left-handed hitters in 2014. This season, lefties are hitting him at a .393 clip (11-for-28) with four home runs. Unless the A’s make a roster move, Abad will continue to be the only lefty at Bob Melvin’s disposal until either Sean Doolittle or Eric O’Flaherty return from the disabled list.
--Coco Crisp is listed as day-to-day after leaving Tuesday’s game with neck tightness. Melvin said it’s a similar issue to what Crisp dealt with much of last season, and it was clear how much that affected his play. A’s head trainer Nick Paparesta said last year that Crisp has a chronic neck issue that would stick with him the rest of his career. It’s resurfaced this season just 13 games into his return from right elbow surgery. Talk about a rough 2015 for the veteran outfielder, who is 2-for-45 (.044) in his short time on the active roster.
--Right-hander Jarrod Parker tweeted a picture of himself smiling and giving a thumbs up, his arm in a sling after Tuesday’s surgery to stabilize the fracture in his right elbow. Parker, 26, got the great news that the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow didn’t need repair for a third time. He still faces an extensive recovery process. Melvin didn’t have specifics after Tuesday’s game, saying only that it wouldn’t be as long as the 12-18 month time frame given for a UCL replacement (Tommy John surgery).
--Closer Sean Doolittle threw a scoreless inning for Double-A Midland on Tuesday, his third rehab outing and his best one from a results standpoint. His next step will probably be announced Wednesday. In the same game, Doolittle’s younger brother Ryan followed him in relief for the Rockhounds.
--One final injury update: Ben Zobrist, coming back from left knee surgery, started at second base for Single-A Stockton and went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the first game of his rehab assignment. He’ll also see time in the outfield and perhaps elsewhere in the infield before being activated from the disabled list.