A’s Angels Recap: Pitching is a Serious Problem

Well, on the prediction front, I wasn’t too far off. I couldn’t have possibly anticipated that the A’s would lose game one after hitting five dingers and being up 6-1 in the second. Part of what I said held true, which was that the bats would wake up in the smaller ballpark and warmer weather in Los Angeles. The five homers in game one of the series was as many as we had hit all season to that point. Had it not been for the 10 hits that Petit and Gossett combined to give up through 4 innings, we would have coasted to a series win.

Notice that I don’t mention the chapman error in the late innings that lead to 5 unearned. The poor kid is spraying the ball all over the yard, showing off power and consistency, making diving plays right and left. I’m not going to get on him for throwing one ball away, especially because of what he had already contributed to that game. I like that he attacks every game as if it’s game 7 of a playoff series and I hope he doesn’t burn out. Mistakes are going to be made, I hope he’s able to move on and keep playing the gold glove caliber hot corner that I expect from him.

Jed Lowrie was another spark in this series, one that I would consider unexpected. I’ll admit that if there is a Jed Lowrie hate train, I’m probably the conductor, but I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong, even in a small sample size. He’s been our only other guy in the lineup hitting with any consistency and I’ve been surprised by his power through the first few weeks. He still only hits singles from the right side and plays a virtually sedentary second base, but I’m willing to keep an open mind going forward.

Lets take a look at the performances of our starting pitching:

Daniel Gossett,      3.1 IP    5 Hits   5 ER

Andrew Triggs,     5.2 IP    4 Hits   2 ER

Kendall Graveman,   3.1 IP   5 Hits   5ER

Forcing your bullpen to step in and pitch 12.2 Innings out of 25 is a tough ask. When guys that are used to closing out games come in to pitch in the 4th inning with men on base, there are going to be some issues with focus and control just because of the setting change.

Kendall Graveman specifically is a complete mystery to me. He has posted over a 9 ERA through three starts with a K’s per 9, BB’s per 9, and HR’s per 9 all at 3.4. Stranger than those terrible numbers is the fact that he was throwing 3-5 MPH harder than he did through his first two starts. I did a double take his first inning on the mound. It was like he decided to completely abandon his sinker and was just trying to pump 96 or 97 by the Angels lineup to no avail. On top of getting battered around, he once again had trouble staying in the strike zone with 4 walks. I don’t think he’s ever going to be an ace, but with arguably much better stuff than Andrew Triggs, who turned in a solid performance with his 88 MPH sinker, Graveman should be able to be competitive and slot in behind Manea.

Looking forward to this Dodgers series in LA, I’m predicting that the A’s RHB offense roughs up lefties Ryu and Wood for 2-0 series win.

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