Perhaps nothing summed up Oakland’s day better than when Adrian Beltre hit a home run with only one hand on the bat and one knee touching the dirt.
The A’s were pummeled by the Rangers in dramatic fashion Thursday afternoon, losing 10-1 just hours after they delivered a similar beating to Texas the night before.
Three errors didn’t help Kendall Graveman in his first start in green and gold, who lasted only 3-1/3 innings, striking out one and allowing seven runs on seven hits.
Graveman, known for his sinkerball, had next to no movement on his breaking pitches and that didn’t work well when coupled with the easterly winds blowing towards the bleachers.
“I didn’t make a lot of pitches. I didn’t locate well. And they made me pay for it. They did a good job at the plate. It’s something where I need to change speeds a little more, I need to locate better and I have to give our team a chance to win and I didn’t do that today.”
He added there was too much east to west movement on his breaking pitches, and that he thrives on staying on top of the ball to it starts at the batters’ chest and ends at their ankles.
Graveman’s summation of the outing was accurate.
Manager Bob Melvin added:
“He was rushing a little bit, getting ahead of his arm a little bit. For a guy that’s a command guy, and all of a sudden you’re trying to find your arm slot, he got behind some guys and you have to give them credit.”
In general, though, the A’s were not on their game, and the Rangers had no problem with theirs.
Texas even got a runner on first when infielder Roughned Odor began to swing and was pinched on the hands. Home umpire Adam Hamari initially called strike, but changed his mind after a conference with his colleagues.
It didn’t go any better late, with new reliever R.J. Alvarez getting bombed by Odor on his second pitch in an A’s uniform.
In all, four Rangers hit home runs, and to all parts of the park.
Subtract a few defensive mistakes, and the outcome may not have been so caustic. Back to back errors stymied any positive energy before any outs were recorded in the game.
A pickoff play with a runner at second became and overthrow by Graveman and catcher Stephen Vogt was charged with an error one pitch later as he dropped to ball while tagging a runner advancing home on a ground ball.
“We had him picked off at second. Bad throw there, so that really could affect where the inning went. Then the play at home, Vogt just dropped it trying to be a little quick with the tag.”
The A’s had played exceptional defense in the three prior games, with highlight reel defense being showcased just about every inning. Even when outs weren’t recorded, runs were saved.
Melvin made some lineup adjustments in the eighth inning to get players some time on the field, and reliever Tyler Clippard made his first appearance since being traded to the A’s.
He allowed one hit and walked one in one inning, striking out none.
Oakland split the four-game series with Texas with a win followed by a loss, followed by a win on Wednesday. The A’s open a weekend series Friday evening at 7:15 p.m. against the Seattle Mariners.
Replacing Graveman, Evan Scribner tossed a career high 3 1/3-innings, his previous high being three total. Thursday’s attendance was announced as 16,045.