By John Hickey
Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 8:51 pm in 2013 regular season.
Nothing seems to bother A’s starter A.J. Griffin when he’s on the mound, which makes him just the sort you’d like to have going for you in an emotional game.
And there was more emotion Monday than you would have in your standard April 22 game, given that it was in Fenway Park just a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon that bruised a nation’s sense of itself.
“You just go out and pitch, do the same things you always do,’’ was the way Griffin put it going into the game.
Griffin mostly did his part. Yes, there was a five-run inning against him in the fifth that turned the tide clearly in favor of the Red Sox in a game the A’s would lose 9-6. While four of those five runs were earned, the A’s defense did Griffin no favors.
Second baseman Andy Parrino, asked to turn a double play on a throw from third baseman Josh Donaldson, dropped the ball. Instead of two outs and no one on, there were two on, none out. A couple of batters later, Mike Napoli hit a grand slam, and that was pretty much it.
One of the things you have to like about Griffin is that he wasn’t pointing fingers. He didn’t say a word about the botched double play when the media brought it up. He talked instead about the pitches he didn’t get quite where he wanted.
Curiously, Napoli’s slam wasn’t one of those, although a three-run bomb by Will Middlebrooks on a hanging cutter in the fourth inning was.
“I actually put that one (to Napoli) about where I wanted it,’’ Griffin said. “Napoli just went down and got it. When a guy does that, you have to tip your cap.’’
There was one other error, by Brandon Moss at first base, that led to a run charged to Griffin, and a dropped fly, also in the fifth inning, although the A’s got a force out on the play so it had minimal impact.
Oakland’s defense hasn’t been very good of late. Josh Reddick had some troubles over the weekend in Tampa Bay, for example. Manager Bob Melvin isn’t overly concerned. His team’s defense is what it is, and the manager knows that the A’s will live or die on their pitching and their offense.
“No one play costs you the game,’’ the manager said. “We had our share of defensive miscues. The conditions (18 mph winds and temperatures in the 40s) had something to do with that.’’
Conditions could be much worse come Tuesday. The forecast is calling for 70 percent chance of showers.
–Disabled shortstop Hiro Nakajima began work at the A’s extended spring training facility in Phoenix Monday. The A’s will have him test his hamstring under controlled circumstances. When he’s at 100 percent, they’ll send him out on an injury rehabilitation assignment.
–A’s general manager Billy Beane was in Boston during the day as the guest speaker at a charity event organized by Boston GM Theo Epstein. Beane left for the West Coast after the midday event, however, and didn’t see the game live.