Just a quick update following the A’s 7-6 loss in 10 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays.
–Interim closer Brian Fuentes was not available because of a blister on his middle finger. He played catch Tuesday for the first time in a couple days and manager Bob Geren is hopeful Fuentes will be available Wednesday. Grant Balfour was called upon to try and preserve a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the 10th, and wound up allowing Yunel Escobar’s two-run walkoff homer.
Right now, I’m not sure if Geren would feel comfortable calling on either Fuentes or Balfour even if both were available. Each has faltered once through four games. It’s clear how badly this team needs closer Andrew Bailey back from the disabled list. Bailey played catch at 120 feet Tuesday but we still don’t know when he’ll get on the mound.
–Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff’s shaky defense seems to be snowballing on him. He should have been charged with two errors in the sixth inning (when Toronto scored four runs to erase a 5-1 deficit), but a scoring change after the game credited Escobar with a hit on a grounder that Kouzmanoff didn’t come up with. Kouzmanoff has three errors in four games but hasn’t cleanly fielded a few other balls that could have been outs. Geren is maintaining faith in Kouzmanoff — publicly at least. “He’s a great third baseman,” Geren said. “He’s just had a rough start. He’s a solid third baseman, an excellent third baseman.”
–On the bright side for the A’s, they clicked offensively tonight with Conor Jackson and Andy LaRoche getting starts against left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes. Each of those guys had two hits and an RBI, and that performance was a reflection of the improved depth the A’s believe they have this season.
But this was one of those losses that tends to stick out in a 162-game schedule, and it’s a sour note for a team to begin a nine-game road trip with. Can the A’s rebound? Only if the bullpen can hold down the fort until Bailey returns, and if the defense starts improving …