Josh Reddick really has put the team on his back. He smacked his 22nd home run of the season in the first, but no one (as usual) was on base when he hit it. Brandon Inge followed suit in the third when he belted his 11th homer of the year.
Pausing on Inge for a second. Check out this stat from CSN’s Casey Pratt:
The veteran third baseman has 47 hits and has driven in 46 runs — he is batting .202. He doesn’t hit much, but when he does, he prefers that it’s for an RBI.
Wow. The statistics are certainly against Inge to keep that sort of hitting up, but that’s truly astonishing. If the A’s get a guy like Chase Headley as an upgrade over Inge, Bob Melvin will have to be cautious of the clutch at-bats Oakland will lose without Inge in the lineup. Perhaps he could be the power bat off the bench the A’s need to pinch-hit? We’ll see.
After the Inge bomb, it really looked like the A’s would complete their second series sweep in a row. But it didn’t turn out that way. Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the third. Tommy Milone never quite recovered from that, allowing eight hits and six runs. He did go seven innings, though.
The momentum really swung in Toronto’s favor after a safety squeeze play that resulted in two runs. The bunt was solid from Travis Snider to score Colby Rasmus, but Milone made a rookie mistake when he tried to field the ball himself despite Inge charging at third. As a result, he made a poor throw to Chris Carter at first, allowing another run to score. Leaving Milone in to work through that error was probably the right move, though. He showed resilience by shaking it off and getting out of the inning. Still, it was surprising to see him back on the mound in the seventh with the score at 5-4 in favor of the Blue Jays. Kelly Johnson demonstrated why it was surprising when he led the inning off with a home run. Milone only threw 86 pitches on the day, but the Blue Jays definitely had his number.
Nonetheless, the game was still tight until the eighth. But Sean Doolittle performed uncharacteristically bad allowing three runs out of the pen in only 2/3 of an inning. That sealed the deal for the Blue Jays.
The pitching can’t be tremendous every game, so A’s fans shouldn’t worry too much. Not yet, anyway.
Something to think about, though: Milone has now allowed 17 deep flies on the road and only one at home. I’ve said before the A’s can win at home playing small ball, and that’s just another stat that shows how the Coliseum affects play. On the road, though, the offense will have to continue to produce, and not just by way of the long ball.
Still, let’s not forget that Oakland was sitting at 37-42 at the beginning of July, and is now 53-45 heading into the weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles. Jarrod Parker is on the hill coming off a spectacular eight inning performance against the Yankees where he allowed only one run.