The Oakland Athletics looked like they were going to keep pace with the Texas Rangers in the AL West race as they were cruising to a 4-2 win heading into the 8th inning. The vaunted trio of Doolittle, Cook and Balfour were going to mow through the Mariners lineup and A’s fans would go home happy. However, the A’s seemed to transform into the Bad News Bears with a Yoenis Cespedes drop, a Doolittle implosion, and a pair of wild pitches that led the A’s to give up 5 runs in the 8th inning.
This is the type of game that the A’s would have easily put away last season during their magical run to win the AL West. The A’s face a couple of tough series over the next few weeks so they can’t afford to drop any games if they want to win the AL West. I don’t want to sound the alarm but the A’s seem to be lacking the magic that they had last season. With the one game playoff awaiting the winners of the wild card, the A’s can’t afford to lose the AL West. While the A’s do have solid pitching they do not have a true ace to compete with David Price of the Tampa Rays, who would most likely be the opponent in a one game playoff.
Not only did the A’s look awful in the 8th inning but catcher Derick Norris went down with an injury. The A’s are already depleted at catcher because of John Jaso’s lingering concussion symptoms. Hopefully Norris’ injury is not serious because the A’s have very few options at catcher. Josh Donaldson came up in the A’s organization as a catcher but it is unlikely that the A’s would want to put strain on their best hitter by suiting him up as a catcher.
On the bright side, rookie Sonny Gray looks like the next great Oakland A’s pitcher. Gray once again breezed through a major league lineup and he could play a big part during the A’s playoff race. When Bartolo Colon and Brett Anderson come back from the disabled list, the A’s will probably choose other pitchers like Dan Strailey and Tommy Milone to replace in the rotation.