O.CO COLISEUM — Dan Straily just wasn’t feeling it.
All it took was one pitch — his first of the evening — to show how off-kilter he was.
Straily’s first pitch ended up in the right field bleachers at the Oakland Coliseum, and was the first of four runs the Texas Rangers scored against the A’s in their 4-3 loss Monday.
On his start, Straily said:
“I couldn’t get ahead of guys tonight. I never really felt like I was out of any at bats, I just kept having to work my way into it, never got ahead early.”
Despite some rocky innings, Straily (1-1, 5.40 ERA) didn’t get dinged too hard. Over five, he struck out six batters, while allowing six hits and two walks.
Oakland’s offense came on a Brandon Moss homer, his fourth-career jack against Rangers ace Yu Darvish (1-1, 1.61 ERA), while two more runs were scored on a Coco Crisp single.
Crisp also stole his 147th base, passing Carney Lansford for fourth most in Oakland A’s history.
Manager Bob Melvin won his first challenge of the season — on four total attempts — in which Texas’ Shin Soo Choo was initially called safe on an infield single.
At the end of the night, not enough went right for Oakland. Like the soaring fly ball hit to the deepest part of the yard by Yoenis Cespedes — that was caught against the fence.
The play summed up the evening, though Melvin wouldn’t go that far when he spoke to media after the game:
“I thought when he hit it, it was gone. I know that on a cold night here, it’s difficult, especially in that part of the ballpark. But when he hits one good, it usually goes out.”
The A’s have won seven of their last 10, which is particularly important considering all of the games have been against division opponents.
The series with Texas — a constant threat to the A’s playoff chances over the last few seasons — may be the A’s most important of their first 80 ballgames.
No doubt, the Seattle Mariners could pose a threat. But Texas is a must-beat team.
Melvin’s assessment of Straily left much to be desired, considering the opponent:
“He was a little spotty at times. He recovers nicely from the first batter of the game, the home run. He has two outs in the fifth, tried to finish that one off and couldn’t do it. … At times I thought he threw the ball well, at times he may be a little off in his command.”
The play Melvin mentioned was a single by Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder that knocked in shortstop Elvis Andrus.
Crisp left the game late with a rib injury and the team will check in with him tomorrow and see how he feels. Crisp had been dealing with a sore hamstring one week ago, and could be seen grabbing for it while on base.
Despite being hobbled by various injuries, Crisp has been playing like an all-star of late, both on offense and defense. He went 3-for 4-Monday, adding the stolen base, and made a highlight-reel-catch just before he was pulled out of the lineup.
Brandon Moss has 14 RBI’s in the last 14 games, leading the team in that category. … Jed Lowrie leads the team with an .884 OPS, placing him third in the majors for shortstops. He is 11th in the American League in any position. … Including Monday’s loss, Oakland will have played 20 straight games against division opponents by the end of April.