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Oakland stumbles back home after 1-6 road trip that costs team first place

After winning AL Pitcher of the Month in July, Oakland starter Sonny Gray is 0-4 with a 4.94 ERA in August.
After winning AL Pitcher of the Month in July, Oakland starter Sonny Gray is 0-4 with a 4.94 ERA in August.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

That was ugly.

The Oakland Athletics have lost five games in a row for the first time in 2014, and they saw a four-game lead in the American League West disappear in one bad week: the A's technically trail the Los Angeles Angels in the division, and they have seven games against their Southern California foes upcoming before the end of the month.

The A's lost three of four in Kansas City and then proceeded to get swept by the Atlanta Braves in a week they'd like to forget—and they can with a day off today, two games against the New York Mets on Tuesday and Wednesday, and another day off on Thursday.

But then it's go time when the Angels come to the Coliseum on Friday.

Oakland couldn't have picked a worse time to have their worst stretch of the season, though: as written in this space last week, "If the A's can win three or four on [this] road trip and come back home with a three-game lead still in the American League West, it'll be a good thing: they host the Angels for three games on August 22-24.

Oh well.

The A's had their chances:

  • Sonny Gray gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh inning to lose, 3-2, in Kansas City last Monday. Oakland also surrendered an unearned run in this game, thanks to a rare throwing error by right fielder Josh Reddick;
  • Kansas City lefty Jason Vargas, who the A's lit up for seven runs in his last start against them at the Coliseum, mowed down the A's with a three-hit, no-walk shutout on Wednesday night;
  • Again in the seventh inning, Oakland blew the Thursday game in Kansas City. Leading 3-2, the club gave up five runs to lose the game and a chance to salvage the road series with a split;
  • Sonny Gray lost his second one-run game of the week, 4-3, on Saturday in Atlanta;
  • On Sunday Night Baseball, Jon Lester was not good, twice giving up runs right after his team scored for him, as the A's lost again by a single score.

So if you're counting at home, the A's scored just 13 runs in six losses last week and dropped three, winnable, one-run games in the process, too.

Just terrible, yet so close to winning four games on this road swing, too. Baseball is like that some times, no?

Thank goodness for the New York Mets. Let's hope so, or else all the hopes and dreams of this season's wonderfulness is going to down the drain quickly. The A's need to win five or six of the seven games in August against the Angels, in truth.

Otherwise, you can count them firmly for the wild-card playoff game, and that's a proposition they really don't want.

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