I mentioned before Monday’s game how the A’s seemed more loose and relaxed, like they might bust out from a five-game losing streak. After a tough 5-4 loss to the Twins, it was another solemn clubhouse. This one had to hurt because different areas malfunctioned today. The A’s collected 10 hits, they got two home runs, but they could have done so much more with the opportunities they had. A 1 for 9 performance with runners in scoring position just isn’t going to cut it. And of all areas, it was the bullpen that also let the A’s down.
Jordan Norberto gave up two runs in the sixth in relief of Travis Blackley, allowing the Twins to tie it 3-3. “It just looked like he was getting behind,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Usually he throws a lot of strikes. It didn’t look like he had as good of command with his fastball or changeup. He just got into some bad counts.” For those of you wondering why Blackley wasn’t allowed to pitch past the fifth, he was on a pitch count in his first start. “I figured my leash wouldn’t be past five,” Blackley said.
Then Ryan Cook entered in the eighth and gave up the two runs that gave Minnesota a final lead. In his 22nd appearance, the right-handed set up man finally allowed a runner to cross home plate. What got lost in Cook’s dominance before Monday was that he sometimes pitched himself into jams in those scoreless outings. But he always managed to escape trouble. That wasn’t the case Monday. “His command was a little spotty,” Melvin said. “… (But) it’s been an unbelievable run, it really has.”
–Count Blackley’s impressive five-inning start as a silver lining for the A’s. The lefty has been quite good so far since being claimed off waivers from the Giants. We’ll see whether he winds up getting another start. His next turn would come Saturday at Kansas City, but all indications are Brandon McCarthy will be ready to return from the D.L. and pitch that day. At least Blackley gives the A’s a nice insurance policy if other starters falter or get hurt.
–After six straight losses, the A’s must be wondering what they need to do to get a ‘W.’ Games like today’s, where they get a bit of offense and still can’t make it stand, have to be discouraging. Jarrod Parker takes the hill Tuesday night, looking to get his team back on track …