No laugher in this laugher: A’s can’t hit, they can’t field, set strikeout record in a series as they get blanked in Cleveland 8-0

June 1, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics’ Rajai Davis looks back as the sprinkles turin on in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

by Jerry Feitelberg

Cleveland- The men wearing the uniforms of the Oakland A’s baseball club do not seem to understand that to win, you have to throw the ball, hit the ball, and catch the ball. Thursday, in Cleveland, they had a game that they would like to forget as they lost 8-0 to the Indians as they concluded their third disastrous road trip with a record of 2-5. The only bright spot on the trip was the two wins pitched by Sean Manaea. Jharel Cotton was tagged for two of the losses and Andrew Triggs, Daniel Mengden, and Sonny Gray all felt the sting of defeat.

A’s manager Bob Melvin had to be looking for a bottle of Tums as the team did not have much to show for Thursday’s dismal effort. The only bright spot was the pitching of Jharel Cotton for the first five innings of the game. Cotton allowed just two hits and one run before his downfall in the sixth. However, the one run was a gift by Cotton and the A’s in the bottom of the third inning. The Indians’ Daniel Robertson led off the frame with a double to left. Cotton threw a wild pitch and A’s catcher Josh Phegley committed a passed ball to put the Tribe in the lead 1-0.

The Indians scored four runs in the sixth and three in the seventh to win the game for their ace Corey Kluber. Here’s how things fell apart for Oakland. Erik Gonzalez led off with a single, Cotton then walked Jason Kipnis to put men on at first and second with no out. Francisco Lindor laid down a bunt that A’s third baseman Ryon Healy bobbled for an error and that loaded the bases. Cotton walked Michael Brantley to make it 2-0. The Indians were the recipients of two walks and error for that run. The A’s weren’t done committing fielding blunders. Carlos Santana hit a popup that shortstop Adam Rosales couldn’t find in the sun. The ball landed between Rosales and Mark Canha. Canha hesitated to come in for the ball, and it dropped safely, and that allowed another run to score. With the bases still loaded and no out, Jose Martinez hit a comebacker to Cotton. Cotton fielded it cleanly but almost threw the ball away. Phegley made a nice play to record the out at home. With the infield drawn in, Cotton got the batter to hit the ball on the ground. The out was recorded at home, but the runner was called out at first to complete the double play. A’s first baseman, Yonder Alonso, thought that was the third out of the inning and headed to the dugout. Santana kept on running and tried to score all the way from second on the play. The home plate umpire called him out. However, and this was a first for this writer, the plays at first and home were challenged, and both calls were reversed.  John Axford relieved Cotton. The Indians tallied the fourth run when Healy made another error. The Indians had scored four runs thanks to the ineptness of the A’s defense and now trail 5-0 after six. There was then a game delay as the sprinklers went off in left field, and play had to be stopped until someone could turn them off.

Things continued to go south in the seventh as the Indians plated three more runs to ice the game. John Axford was now pitching, and the Indians showed him no mercy. Erik Gonzales singled. A walk to Kipnis and a single to Lindor produced another run. Michael Brantley singled to drive in the Indians’ 7th run, and Mark Canha overran the ball for the A’s third error, and the Indians picked up the 8th run of the game. The A’s could not wait for this to end as they went down 8-0.

Game notes- The A’s defense made three errors in the game. They have committed 55 for the season and are leading the Major Leagues. The also made a couple of errors of omission as Canha and Alonso went to sleep on a couple of plays that cost the A’s runs.

The A’s continue to strike out. They struck out 17 times Thursday, and for the series, they struck out 59 times. It was the most strikeouts for a four-game series since at least 1913. That’s over 104 years ago.

Jharel Cotton pitched 5 and 2/3rds innings. He allowed four hits and five runs. He was charged with just one earned run. He walked four and struck out four and saw his record drop to 3-6.  Corey Kluber went six innings, and he allowed just two hits and struck out 10. Kluber made his first start as he was on the 10-day DL.

The A’s are now 23-30 for the season and are heading home to face the Washington Nationals Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s are 15-10 at home but a rather dismal 8-20 on the road.

Andrew Triggs will toil for the A’s, and Stephen Strasburg will go for the Nationals. Game time is at 7:05 pm.

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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