If position players could have wins and losses applied to their stat sheets, Brandon Moss would demand that Tuesday’s loss go on his.
There were three throw that came to first base in the course of the game that were errant in one way or another, and he felt he should have played better defense on them all.
He was particularly incensed over the final play of the game, when with Astros runners on second base (Jonathan Villar) and first base (Jose Altuve), a pitch in the dirt got away from catcher Derek Norris.
Altuve broke for second base but Villar did not break for third, meaning Altuve was in no-man’s land. His only hope was to get back to first base, but any kind of decent throw from Norris would have Altuve out. Instead, the ball got past Moss at first base. By the time it was retrieved, Villar had raced around to score the winning run.
“That’s not on Derek, that’s my fault,’’ Moss said. “I did two things wrong. One, I didn’t move my feet when he threw the ball to me. Two, I didn’t know where the base runner was. I didn’t know Altuve had fallen down. I thought the play would be at first base. If I’d known he’d fallen, I would have moved my feet, I would have caught the ball. I should have caught the ball anyway.
“I absolutely take this one on myself. I made that throw look bad with the way I played it, but it was not a bad throw.’’
The A’s have made six errors in the last two games and the defense, which is so crucial to the Oakland pitching staff’s success, looks a bit lost.
That’s one reason why the A’s are bringing back their best defensive shortstop, Adam Rosales, while sending down former first-round draft pick Grant Green, who’d made three errors in five games. It didn’t help that Green, who projects as an offensive force, began his big league career 0-for-15. Rosales should be in uniform Wednesday.
“We have not been playing very good defense,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. `We’ve been giving up cheap runs. And in close games, it will cost you.’’
Starting pitcher Jarrod Parker, a man who relies on his defense making the plays behind him, was himself culpable. He threw wildly to first base, setting up the Astros for a game-tying run in the fifth inning. He also threw a couple of wild pitches.
“Those were some pretty terrible fundamentals,’’ Parker said. “At the same time, it’s just two games. You don’t want to make a big deal about it. We’ve got to just get back to it. It needs to be cleaned up.’’
–John Jaso was feeling better after the game, not because the A’s lost but because he was no longer “feeling fuzzy’’ after a foul ball went off his batting helmet in the sixth inning.
Jaso remained in the game until the eighth inning, when Norris took over.
“I was crushed by a ball off the mask in Anaheim,’’ Jaso said. “Then this one off the helmet. So yeah, I was feeling a bit fuzzy there.’’
Jaso was taken and checked for a possible concussion. The results of the tests were negative and Melvin said there was a chance Jaso could play in Wednesday’s series finale.
For a moment, at least, Jaso was wondering about the merits of being behind the plate ever.
“I was thinking about those guys who used to catch without wearing a helmet,’’ he said. “How did they do that?’’
–Parker, making his first start in 11 days, gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced, then didn’t allow another hit until there were two out in the sixth inning.
Melvin said it wasn’t Parker at his best, that he missed the strike zone a little more than usual, but he liked the way the right-hander bounced back after the slow start.
Parker gave the A’s a scare in the seventh inning when he looked uncomfortable, stretching out his arm and side after giving up a one-out hit to Jonathan Villar. After a test pitch or two with Melvin and the trainer looking on, Parker finished out the inning.
“It’s fine,’’ he said. “It wasn’t anything.’’
Parker also said that the hamstring issue that had plagued him earlier this month wasn’t in evidence Tuesday.