By Morris Phillips
Sitting the dugout in the sixth inning after the Giants’ sixth inning surrender, the look on Ryan Vogelsong’s face was unmistakable.
While the look said it, Vogey’s mouth obviously did not. But you can bet it said, “I drove across the bridge to Oakland for this?”
The Giants frustration with losing continued on Monday and it simply hasn’t been easy for the club to take. A 5-0 loss to the A’s was their 19th in their previous 26 games, a month of bad baseball for a group that wouldn’t take it well if the poor stretch lasted just a week. But now it’s nearly a month, and what the Giants’ players don’t say, you can see it written in their faces.
Simply too many proud competitors juxtaposed against too many loses.
“We’ve got to get these pistons back firing,” manager Bruce Bochy said, basically reiterating that the team’s moribund offense that’s been shutout four times in the last eight games just won’t do.
The Giants managed just five singles on the night, four of those against A’s starter Jesse Chavez, who cruised through six innings as a byproduct. Chavez had struggled in his previous two starts, but the Giants couldn’t keep that trend going. Instead they struck out nine times against Chavez, and five of those were looking.
So when Vogelsong fell into trouble in the sixth it was fatal. Leading 1-0, Josh Donaldson took a ball on his hand/the nob of the bat and was awarded first base. One out later, Jed Lowrie singled and Alberto Callaspo greeted reliever Juan Gutierrez with a two-run double that put the A’s up 3-0 and in control.
“Things were going well until I took him out,” Bochy said of his decision to take Vogelsong out. “I thought he was getting close there and I wanted to protect him.”
The Giants played with Brandon Belt, who they regained over the weekend after his absence due to a broken hand. But they were without Pablo Sandoval for the second straight game due to an elbow injury. The first three hitters in the Giants’ lineup—Hunter Pence, rookie Joe Panik and Belt—went 0 for 11 with four strikeouts. Glancing at the entire, designated hitter-enhanced lineup, only cleanup man Buster Posey and Joaquin Arias managed to avoid striking out at least once.
But maybe the biggest factor on this night may simply be that this is a bad time to come to Oakland. The MLB-best A’s have won all five games on their home stand while trailing for a total of three innings. The AL West leaders maybe playing their best ball in a season of bests.
The Giants get Madison Bumgarner on the mound Tuesday. He’ll be opposed by the A’s Sonny Gray.