By Morris Phillips
OAKLAND–Thirteen times in 37 games the A’s haven’t given themselves a chance. In the cavernous, sparsely populated Coliseum, you can hear what everyone’s asking.
Where’s the offense?
The A’s got a high quality start from Frankie Montas but did little to support it in 4-1 loss to the Angels on Sunday. Thirteen times the A’s have scored one or no runs, and they lost for the 12th time on Sunday under those limitations.
The A’s finished with five hits, proof they couldn’t solve Patrick Sandoval or reliever Jimmy Herget. Both pitchers had their moments of vulnerability, but the A’s never produced a breakthrough. Eleven at-bats with a runner in scoring position were squandered. The A’s only run came on Sean Murphy’s ground out with Jed Lowrie breaking to the plate from third.
The hosts could claim fatigue. In a once in a career type week with nine games in seven days, the A’s finished 5-4, but lost three of the last four to their Southern California rivals.
Last season–with Matt Olson and Matt Chapman leading their offense–the A’s won 15 of 19 against the Angels. This season the health of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, along with the emergence of Taylor Ward have allowed the Angels to turn things around. They’re tied for first place with the Astros, and Sunday’s win moved them 11 games over .500 for the first time in nearly three years.
“Our goal is to win within our division,” Maddon said. “That’s a big goal of ours this year. We were horrible at it last year, and especially against Oakland. They beat up on us like a drum last year. We have to get better within our division. We’ve got to win series like this on the road.”
Ohtani capped his best series in Oakland with a loud, two-run shot off Montas in the first inning. On Saturday, Ohtani hit his 100th home run in the second game of the scheduled doubleheader.
“Not many people hit Montas but I don’t know, that was 97 mph elevated and he got all of it. When he’s starting to get to that, heads up.”
Anaheim nursed a 2-1 lead until the eighth when they came up with single runs in the eighth and ninth to put the game away.
On Monday, the A’s loaded stretch of games continues with the Twins visiting the Coliseum. Zach Logue will be recalled from AAA Las Vegas and make his third, big league start for the A’s in a match-up with the Twins’ Chris Archer.