So…I mean…what? Did that actually happen? I mean, I saw it with my own eyes, myself, in real-time, and I still can not believe that it actually happened. As it was happening, I couldn’t believe that it was happening. It was the most absurd, embarrassing, humiliating, pathetic display of an excuse for baseball that I have seen in recent memory. And given the season we’ve had, that says a ton. I can’t believe it. I really just can’t. I don’t even want to talk about it, because I’m fully conscious of how incredibly awful and horrible and terrible and truly, extremely, exceptionally abysmal it was, and yet at the same time I just can’t believe it.
I’ll start with the offense, since unfortunately that provides the least to report. Why couldn’t it have been a double slugfest so that at least we would have had something to show for the fact that we came to play?
We scored our first run in the fourth, when Salty hit a solo shot on his fourth pitch on a 1-2 count. The first was a curveball, the second was a sinker, and then he got two cutters. Both were around ninety miles per hour. He fouled off the first one and then lit into the second one, pulverizing it into a home run out to right field. We didn’t score again until the seventh, when with one out Ciriaco singled and Iglesias got hit; both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, and Ciriaco scored on a groundout by Gomez.
In the interest of painting the big picture, I’ll tell you what we did in all of the other innings: nothing. Absolutely nothing. We started the game with two back-to-back singles in the first, which amounted to nothing. We hit two singles again in the second and in the sixth, which amounted to nothing. We singled and walked in the eighth, which amounted to nothing. And we went down in order in the third and the fifth and the ninth.
But our lack of offense was honestly the least of our problems yesterday, which can be summarized in one word: pitching. Our pitching delivered a literally unspeakably horrifying performance. Seriously, it was terrifying beyond words. Our pitchers, who, the last time I checked, were indeed pitching in the Major Leagues, looked like a bunch of minor leaguers considering themselves lucky to throw pitches during batting practice. That’s what it looked like. It looked like the Oakland A’s were having themselves a fun and fruitful batting practice before an actual Major League game. Honestly, I sincerely hope that our pitchers just lost the memo that said that it was actually a Major League game and not batting practice, because if that wasn’t the case, then the only other explanation for the painful and devastating humiliation we suffered last night would be that our pitchers are really just that bad. And that’s a level of badness that, even with the kind of season we’ve been having, I really would never have actually thought we’d reach.
We sent out seven pitchers, so there goes the day off they had as a result of Lester’s complete game. Only one of them did not allow any runs. And only one of the six pitchers that did allow runs allowed only one run, and only one of the six pitchers that did allow runs did not allow a home run.
We’ll start with Cook, since he was the first one. He took the loss, although technically the bullpen in its entirety deserved it more since collectively they gave up more than twice the amount of runs that he gave up. He went one-two-three in the first, which at the time didn’t even provide that much false hope because it was easily observable that all three outs were hit well; still, even so, we could never have imagined at the conclusion of that inning the kind of implosion and devolution that was about to ensue. He gave up a single to start the second and then allowed three straight scoring plays: an RBI double, an RBI single, and a two-run home run. And then he ended the inning with three straight outs. Cook began the third with a flyout and then allowed a double to Josh Reddick of all people. He got another flyout and then gave up an RBI double which scored Reddick with a little help from a deflection by Iglesias, and then he gave up an RBI single.
That was when he was replaced by Tazawa, the one pitcher who didn’t allow any runs. Tazawa got the final out of the third and pitched a beautiful one-two-three fourth. Based on that performance alone as compared with what everyone else had to show for themselves, Tazawa should have been allowed not only to stay in the game but to pitch the entire game. But no. Aceves came on for the fifth; with two out, he hit a batter and then gave up a home run that plated two. Bard came on for the sixth and gave up a solo shot with one out; he then gave up a single but managed to get out of the inning, so he’s the one, out of the pitchers who gave up runs, who gave up only one run.
Breslow came on for the seventh; he got Reddick to pop out but then gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases. A fielding error by Gomez allowed a run to score by allowing a runner to reach on a force attempt. And then Breslow allowed a single that plated two. He was then replaced by Melancon, who allowed a double that plated one. He then walked Coco Crisp of all people and then gave up an RBI single followed by one of the worst indignities a pitcher could ever suffer, a scoring play so devastating and complete that it broadcasts to the world not only the mistake that a pitcher made on that one pitch that started the scoring play but also all the mistakes that led to its being possible at all, a play so rare and elusive that we can only hope and dream for it when we need it most because it never really seems to come our way at the right time, a play so devastating that it causes nothing but shame and anger on the part of the pitcher who facilitated it: the grand slam. Hit by – you guessed it – Reddick.
And then Padilla came on for the eighth; he opened the inning with a popout but then gave up a double followed by a home run.
All told, our pitching staff gave up only two walks but nineteen hits last night, five of which were doubles and five of which were home runs. Cook gave up six runs, Tazawa gave up no runs, Aceves gave up two runs, Bard gave up one run, Breslow gave up five runs, Melancon gave up four runs, and Padilla gave up two runs. So Cook gave up six runs, and the bullpen collectively gave up fourteen.
You read right. That makes the final score a humiliating, embarrassing, painful, devastating, abysmal, horrible, terrible, unspeakable, unbelievable 20-2. A fitting end for a month we finish with a record of nine and twenty-one. And that’s all I have to say about it.