The A’s overcame what few teams in baseball have. And it frustrated the heck out of Clayton Kershaw.
Oakland secured a walkoff win against the Dodgers, 5-4, on the back of starter Felix Doubront (ND, 1-1, 3.89 ERA) and some clutch hitting against the best pitcher in baseball history. And his bullpen.
Catcher A.J. Ellis hit a three run shot in the eighth inning, giving Los Angeles the lead that they seemingly would never surrender.
Until they did in the bottom half of the inning.
First baseman Mark Canha doubled to right field, scoring third baseman Danny Valencia and catcher Josh Phegley, reliever Pedro Baez faced one more, designated hitter Billy Butler, who grounded out but advanced Canha to third base.
Canha hit a leadoff double to left field, his first career four hit game coming with it. And Butler singled to right field on the next at bat.
For the walkoff win.
Fernando Abad (W, 2-2, 3.44 ERA) gets the win, with solid pitching all around from Oakland’s bullpen.
Will Canha, 40 years down the road and with grandkids, tell the youth of his four hits or two against Kershaw?
A’s manager Bob Melvin has his opinion:
“He’s going to have games where he has four hits. Two hits off Clayton Kershaw, probably lead with that.”
“I’ll probably remember the whole thing in it’s entirety. Probably one of my better games this year. It was awesome. What I’ll probably remember most is how much fun we were having in the dugout. Everybody supporting each other. And how of of a team win it was.”
Doubront allowed one unearned run, striking out eight and walking six. Kershaw (ND, 10-6, 2.34 ERA) didn’t do as well when it came to his composure, despite allowing only one run.
Melvin called Doubront effectively wild, noting the lack of hard hit balls and numerous strikeouts packaged with walks. Melvin also shared a thought on the game as a whole:
“Anytime you see the ball in the gaps, when you’re squaring it up, it’s good to see.”
Semien hit into a groundout to second base in the second inning, but Canha scored on the play, and Butler made it safely to third base. That’s all Kershaw allowed.
The Dodgers got their lone run in nearly the exact same manner, only during the fifth inning. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins grounded out to the middle of the infield, while catcher A.J. Ellis scored and outfielder Joc Pederson headed over to third base.
The run was unearned because Ellis reached third on a passed ball charged to A’s catcher Josh Phegley.
Tension was felt early in the game. Especially from Kershaw, who on one play attempted to field a hard hit grounder from Valencia but failed to make the play.
Kershaw threw the ball at the ground, then fielded the rebound cleanly, before throwing the ball into his own dugout.
A few hitters later, Kershaw attempted to throw when the hitter was stepping back into the box. Umpire Todd Tichenor called time, since the batter is allowed time to get set before the pitch, and Kershaw made his displeasure more than clear.
Tichenor took exception.
He immediately removed his mask and began to approach Kershaw. Ellis stepped in the way of Tichenor and gave a legitimate bump into him.
No player was ejected, though, which is abnormal under the circumstance.
A fine, though, is very possible. Beyond the fact that Kershaw’s actions violated multiple rules, which usually end in ejection.
MLB rule 9.01 (d) states:
“Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language, and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field. If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play.”
MLB rule 9.05 (a) also states:
“The umpire shall report to the Office of the Commissioner within 12 hours after the end of a game all violations of rules and other incidents worthy of comment, including the disqualification of any trainer, manager, coach or player, and the reasons therefore.”
It would be more than surprising if a fine, at very least, wasn’t handed down by commissioner Rob Manfred, especially in lieu of Tichenor’s decision to let Kershaw continue to pitch despite what many would call unsportsmanlike conduct.
Simply, Kershaw was acting like a spoiled baby. Even if there’s a competitive edge — Kershaw didn’t become the best pitcher in baseball history statistically by not getting fired up — his brightest moment was not on this evening.
He’s been in the league long enough to know that he must let the batter set before throwing. That’s rule 8.05 (e), and should have been called an illegal pitch, which would also be a ball.
The parking situation was just as bad, with one A’s fan commenting that they are now in line with Giants fans in Dodger hate.
One fan was see exiting his silver Ford pickup near the side entrance of the coliseum, and walking towards the gate. Perhaps he figured he’ll grab his vehicle at impound later in the evening, assuming it wasn’t stolen.
Other cars were parked in spots not meant for parking. Some even blocking emergency lanes. Of the incidents listed, the occupants were wearing Dodgers garb, though some were not present to be observed.
It is probably the strangest type of thing to happen at the coliseum in a few years, maybe more.
Among others, there was a massive brawl in section 110, the lower level of the first base line. It looked to occupy the action of at least 15 people, and the the same number of fans, if not more, were taken from their seats by coliseum security and police.
Several fights were observed in the stands Tuesday night, far more and far larger than any witnessed in the two seasons this author has covered the A’s.
Fair warning to anyone looking to attend Wednesday’s day game: be cautious, and put in serious thought before bringing children. Sad to write, but it seemed too dangerous of a place for children, or anyone for that matter.