It’s lean times for the A’s right now, as they’re 1-4 so far on this six-game road trip. Here’s a couple thoughts that stick out from Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals:
–Should left fielder Yoenis Cespedes have hauled in that double from Lorenzo Cain that tied the game with two outs in the seventh inning? That’s a tough call. I’ve watched the replay several times, and I think it would have been a great catch had he made the play. But bottom line, Cespedes gets exposed on balls like that. I actually think he’s started to look better in left field lately, but on balls hit straight back that he has to chase to the wall, he just isn’t giving himself a chance to make the catch. On Cain’s double, Cespedes took his eyes off the ball as he approached the wall. He seems to not have a sense of where the wall is when he makes his jump. And if you’re unaware of how close you are to the wall, it’s obviously going to be tough to concentrate on making a catch. The A’s are working diligently with Cespedes on his defense, but it’s hard to simulate plays like Cain’s double. Such plays are game-changers, especially with the A’s struggling offensively as they are in Kansas City.
–Brandon McCarthy was ticked at himself after the game for letting the Royals’ seventh-inning rally unfold as it did. But McCarthy also said he and rookie catcher Derek Norris had a mix-up regarding pitch location on Cain’s double. “It was a misunderstanding,” McCarthy said. “Before I threw the pitch, I didn’t know we were going in. It was just a bad job by me communicating.”
Norris has worked very hard at learning the A’s staff since he was called up for the first time June 21. But he’s gotten a lot of responsibility dumped on his shoulders since taking over the everyday catching job when veteran Kurt Suzuki was traded Aug. 3. Who’s to say what the cause was of Wednesday night’s mix-up with McCarthy? But when there is a miscommunication, it exposes the fact that the A’s are entering the heat of a pennant race with an inexperienced rookie handling an extremely demanding position. Norris shows the maturity and work ethic to handle it as best as can be expected, but it’s a tough spot for a young player to be in.
–You would think the A’s had a chance to do damage with three games against the Royals, who are 51-65. Now consider this: Oakland has lost four of five in the Royals’ home park this season, and they’ve scored a combined two runs in those four losses.
The A’s will send rookie Dan Straily to the mound Thursday night as they try to avoid a sweep …