Reviewing the Series: #12 Oakland Athletics
It is frustrating to even write this so I can’t imagine what the players are feeling. They can say the right things about putting it behind them or it only counts as one game, but to lose yesterday’s rubber match like that after finally seeing the offense break out some is incredibly hard. The Athletics have played an awful lot of up and down ball just like we have. To lose a series to them at home isn’t a death sentence or anything, but it certainly adds another shovel onto the casket.
No two ways about it. The Rays pitched like shit this series. The first and last games saw us yield an expected 15 runs combined with only Matt Andriese’s absolute gem in the middle bailing out some of the water. The team played one of their best all around games in that match and it really looked like something to build upon. Only to see the pitching really let the team down. This is supposed to be the strength. A deep rotation that can pitch long into the night and then hand it off to a pen that features some real studs at the back end. The problem has been the soft middle.
You can see Andriese’s early entry for start of the season, but unfortunately it was bookended by those woeful Odorizzi and Moore starts. You can blame Steve Geltz all you want for the homer, but that and a single were all he gave up in essentially a pass through the order. We’ll take that just about every time. The problem was him being in that position thanks to an offense that shut it down after building an early lead paired with yet another short start that forces the team to expose the soft underbelly that is the bullpen.
On the hitting side we finally saw a lot to be excited about. Longoria went off and Brandon Guyer came along for the ride. Souza continued to ride power and patience and we even saw signs of life from Desmond Jennings. Unfortunately, other than Conger and Lomo, virtually every other batter took the series off. This team can’t just ride one or two hot guys each series and hope to score enough. We still haven’t seen a series where everyone pulled their weight so we’re left with some good being offset by a bunch of bad.
Danny Valencia was worth six runs above average over this series. SIX! How the hell do you give that guy anything to hit in a high leverage situation? It boggles the mind. The only other guy that hit on their team was Marcus Semien, but both these guys brought very real power that doomed the Rays throughout the series. Their pitching was a lot like Tampa Bay’s. Two abysmal starts mixed in with a pretty good one, though nowhere near as dominant as Andriese’s. The difference was their bullpen being utterly shutdown other than Scrabble in a lost cause. Their bunch of no names won them this series.