The better half of Oakland’s middle relief corps would leave the ballpark bruised and bloodied this evening as the baseball gods and an unlikely hero formed a deadly alliance to put the Athletics down.
The game started off normally enough (by 2018’s standards) as 5 total pitchers were used to get through the first 5 innings of the game between the two organizations. On one side, the A’s opened with a quick and efficient Liam Hendriks before receiving 4 solid innings from Daniel Mengden. Meanwhile, the Angels started the recently reinstated Tyler Skaggs who was on a pitch count. In the fourth, Bedrosian would relieve him by seemingly losing the game before Noe Ramirez came in to put out the fire.
That same fourth inning saw Trout’s 35th bomb of the year while 4 runs were pushed across in the bottom half by way of a bases-loaded Mark Canha double and subsequent Jonathan Lucroy single.
In the sixth however, things took a very strange turn. It all started when Jose Miguel Fernandez walked.
Okay, so first of all, you never walk Jose Miguel Fernandez. This guy doesn’t take pitches. If there’s one way to tick off the ancient ones who oversee the sacred game of the ball of the bases, it’s to walk a guy like Jose Miguel Fernandez. And so the A’s were undone.
JMF would advance to second on a wild pitch to Trout, but it would be irrelevant. Justin Upton then grounded the ball hard to defensive sensei Matt Chapman’s right where he botched the transfer.
With a man on first and second, Ohtani stepped up to the plate against lefty specialist Ryan Buchter. On a 2-2 pitch, against a same-hander and in the direction of that aforementioned glovemaster, Ohtani singled on a ground ball the opposite way.
Lou Trivino, an outstanding rookie reliever with a 2.14 ERA, then was called upon to face Andrelton Simmons who swung at the first pitch as he is prone to do. The ball was fouled way out to right field where Piscotty seemed to have it caught. Words cannot do justice to what happened next.
A few pitches later, Simba singled to left-center to cut the deficit to a single run. Trivino then hit Taylor Ward before Kaleb Cowart came up, the bases loaded yet again.
The bad guys had the good guys right where they wanted them. But then old Christopher Lloyd came down with his troop of holy brethren and put the might of Samson into young Cowart where he received a meatball and got all of it.
It was the first Grand Slam of Kaleb Cowart’s career and the first (and likely the last) of the season for the Angels as a team. They were one of only two teams that had no Grand Slams on the season. The Giants now hold that distinction alone.
Of course, Kaleb wasn’t done. Later in the game, he would come up in another important spot with a runner on second and triple off of the wall. It is believed that magical Angeldust has residual effects for a couple of hours afterward. That is the only possible explanation.
While the A’s would come back to turn what might have been a blowout into a save situation, Ty Buttrey looked as dominant as ever. His ERA is now a cool 0.59. That means he allows an earned run about once every 18 innings.
Tomorrow, Felix Pena is on the bump. While victories at this point in the season are meaningless, losses for the A’s are not. It would be fun and interesting to be the reason that the A’s don’t win the division.