What to say? What to say…
Fortunately I don’t have to worry about recaping the season right now. That said, I can’t remember a more exciting, encouraging, even heart warming losing team than the 2017 Oakland A’s. But I’ll leave the reflections for another time.
Daniel Mengden got the ball in Oakland’s final 2017 contest, and he spun another gem. He’s been fantastic since being recalled and today was another statement-start, the statement being that he deserves a rotation spot next season. Mengden went seven innings, throwing just 91 pitches and allowing four hits, one walk, and no runs. He struck out eight and lowered his season ERA to 3.14.
Mengden was opposed by the once-dominant Cole Hamels, who wasn’t able to match Mengden’s sharpness or mustache. Whenever a team’s first reliever throws more innings than their starter, well I haven’t seen any statistics on it but I’m guessing that team loses far more often than not. Such was the case for the Rangers today.
After a relatively easy first two innings, the wheels came off for Hamels in the third. Four straight hits, including two doubles, had the A’s in front 3-0. Hamels did strikeout the side after that, but despite flashing the ability to get swings and misses, the third inning would mark his last.
The Rangers’ bullpen performed valiantly, but did concede twice more. Following another double in the sixth, the A’s added their fourth run. And Khris Davis’ 43rd and final bomb of 2017 capped the season’s scoring in the eighth.
As he’s done too often recently, Chris Hatcher made the game interesting in the eighth, though he did work out of trouble before anything lead-threatening happened. And hey, he set up a save chance for Blake Treinen, who converted his 16th of the season. I don’t see Treinen as our closer of the future but he’s shown more than enough to be in next season’s high-leverage plans.
Other highlights? The A’s ‘only’ had ten hits, but every started collected at least one (Khrush was the only starter with more than one.) The game was also played quite quickly by modern standards, lasting just over two and a half hours.
Today is the end of the season, to be sure. It’s the end of the A’s as a daily presence in our lives, at least for a while. It’s the end of another summer of baseball at the Coliseum. For a few players on the current roster, it’s likely the end of their journey in Oakland. It may well even be the end for third base coach Chip Hale, who is considered a strong candidate for the Mets’ manager vacancy.
But while today marks a number of endings, it still feels like more of a beginning. The sun will set over the Oakland hills tonight, and with it, another playoff-less season will end. But our young talent has us more excited than we’ve been in some time; thoughts of Jorge Mateo going first to third on a single up the middle and Matt Chapman making a diving play to his backhand side and throwing a 90+ mph rocket across the infield is more than enough to keep me company until February.
Have a wonderful rest of your weekend everyone.