On Green Day fireworks night at O.Co Coliseum, the Oakland Athletics could do nothing to Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez but offer him a welcome to paradise.
Once again unable to solve the 2010 AL CY Young Award winner, the A’s (58-78) fell to the Mariners (65-72), dropping deeper into the AL West cellar.
With his win King Felix (16-8, 3.65 ERA) has now gone 7-1 in 11 starts against Oakland over the past two seasons.
Hernandez, whose loss on July 4 this season was first in Oakland since 2009, now boasts a career 22-8 record against the A’s.
Instead, his 2-plus innings and five runs allowed, all earned, amounted to nothing more than a dookie start.
Chavez came into the started very confident, and feeling strong, according to A’s manger Bob Melvin:
“He’s pretty frustrated with today’s game because he felt strong, physically, just the ball wasn’t going where he wanted it to.”
The start was hampered, from the jump, by the inability to control the fastball – or anything for that matter.
With his five walks and six hits allowed, only an excellent play by his catcher Stephen Vogt to nab Shawn O’Malley stealing third, and a timely double play to end the second inning kept Chavez’s night from being much worse.
Though, between the lines, there were very few positives for the A’s righty, his short outing did allow him to get into the clubhouse quickly and review the tape.
Upon reviewing the tape, Chavez felt he discovered the problem:
“My stride down the hill resulted in me leaning back, and as a hitter, you can see the ball from basically 68 feet instead of 60 feet. That gives the hitter an advantage.”
Chavez likened his motion to sitting on a chair. Saying that he needs to use his legs to drive more and conceal the ball from those hitters who had their way with the starter.
As for the Oakland offense, it was another quiet night against Seattle’s six-time all-star, as all the offense came in a third that brought a crowd of more than 27,000 to an emotional peak.
A peak that was matched, on this night, only by the fireworks that took place after the game.
After season homer number 12 for first baseman Mark Canha to lead off the inning, Vogt triggered a two-out rally with his second single of the night.
The A’s working class hero was then moved to third, as second baseman Brett Lawrie hooked an 0-2 sinker just inside the bag at third.
Both were then knocked in by designated hitter Billy Butler, who chopped an 0-1 changeup over Hernandez’s head and into center.
On most nights, the A’s would have been happy the three runs against Hernandez, as he now brags a miniscule 2.62 career ERA in 279.1 innings pitched against his divisional foe.
On this night, however, the five runs allowed by Chavez, coupled with three given up by a quartet of Oakland relievers, made it a mostly uncontested night for a Seattle team now winners of four straight.
With just 26 games left in the 2015 season, the A’s will try to scrape together whatever positives they can find.
Though, after the success of the 2014 campaign, being at the bottom of the AL standings must have many Oakland faithful feel like they are traveling down a boulevard of broken dreams.
And despite many of those fans likely asking for their team to *wake me up when September ends*, the team will have rebound and strap it on again tomorrow for a day game.