After two nail-biting games played in a playoff-like atmosphere went in the A’s favor to start the AL-west lead-deciding series, the Angels came back with a vengeance Sunday evening in front of a nationally televised audience.
The highly-paid and highly-talented Los Angeles offense made short work of Scott Kazmir, knocking around the lefty for seven runs in just three-plus innings to take command of the contest from the start in an eventual 9-4 Oakland loss.
“I felt like I just wasn’t aggressive enough. I was trying to trick people instead of just relying on my fastball,” said Kazmir.
The All-star southpaw allowed a season-high tying seven runs and 10 hits, which lowered his record to (5-4, 4.57) over his last 11 appearances after starting the season with an impressive (9-2, 2.08) tally.
It didn’t help Oakland that notorious A’s inhibitor Jered Weaver was on the mound for the Angels. The rival righty improved to (4-1, 2.49) over his past six starts at the Coliseum.
The A’s hitters had seemed to figure out their nemesis this season, winning the first two match-ups of the 2014 campaign after Weaver had gone (8-1, 0.87) over 11 starts vs. Oakland from 2011-13.
Late inning heroics fell short for the Athletics lineup that has found runs tough to come by as of late. The bottom of the lineup contributed a pair of home runs off the bats of Alberto Callaspo and Andy Parrino in the seventh inning to put a crooked number on the scoreboard.
However, it turned out to be too little too late.
Ninth inning magic was not to be had on the night as the A’s dug themselves too deep of a deficit to climb out of.
INJURY UPDATE: A’s closer Sean Doolittle was placed on the disabled list after suffering a right intercostal muscle strain that he sustained over the last two pitches he threw while earning the save in Saturday night’s game.
Per PhysioAdvisor.com: “The intercostal muscles are a group of muscles that run between the ribs, attaching from the rib above to the rib below and are primarily responsible for elevating the ribs (allowing for inspiration) and forming the chest wall. During contraction or stretch of the intercostals, tension is placed through the muscles. When this tension is excessive due to too much repetition or high force, a tear in one or more of the intercostal muscles may occur. This condition is known as an intercostal strain.”
“I’m pissed. Mainly because I can’t go out there and help the team,” said a lethargic Doolittle Sunday night. “Timetables [for return] can be frustrating. We’ll have a better handle on it later in the week.”
Joining Doolittle on the DL will be catcher John Jaso (post-concussion symptoms). Newly acquired catcher Geovany Soto and recently demoted reliever Dan Otero will be added to the active roster for the upcoming road trip.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Brandon Moss is now 0 for his last 18 at bats, and is just (9-for-57) with zero home runs, four RBI, and 26 strikeouts in the month of August. The 24-game homer-less streak for the All-star slugger is the longest of his Athletics tenure.
Next up for the A’s will be a three-game series in Houston against the ever-improving Astros. Jeff Samardzija (3-3, 4.07) will look to get Oakland back in the win column Monday evening opposed on the hill by Scott Feldman (7-9, 4.37) with first pitch scheduled for 5:10 PST.