The A’s have certainly been a rather successful franchise the last 10 years, going to three postseasons and never losing more than 88 games. While the timeframe doesn’t include their extremely successful 2000-03 run, they’re still 45 games over .500 since the beginning of 2005.
It just doesn’t happen for them on Opening Day.
On Monday, they lost their 10th straight opener, dropping a 2-0 game to the Indians. They’re the first franchise in major league history to take a loss in their first game 10 consecutive years.
Tonight’s game, a pitcher’s duel between Sonny Gray and Justin Masterson, was scoreless in the eighth, when Josh Donaldson hit a ball off the very top of the wall in center field. Three inches more and it would have been a homer. Instead, it was one of the longest singles in history (just to the right of the 400 foot sign at the Coliseum), as the runners on first and second returned to the bag to tag up and advanced only one base. Cody Allen then pitched out of the bases-loaded jam, striking out Jed Lowrie and inducing a grounder from Brandon Moss.
A’s closer Jim Johnson went on to take the loss in the ninth after retiring just one of the five batters he faced.
The last time the A’s won an opener was 2004 against the Rangers. Tim Hudson started that game for Oakland, and Eric Byrnes had the big hit in the bottom of the eighth, turning a one-run deficit into a lead with a two-run double.
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).