This weekend has been a nightmare for the A’s.
They headed into Anaheim on Thursday for the start of a four-game series with the goal of recapturing the lead in the American League West standings, but runs have been difficult to come by and now the Angels enter play Sunday looking for the sweep.
Saturday’s game was especially frustrating for Oakland. Halos reliever Cory Rasmus made a spot start and seven different pitchers followed, but the A’s managed only three total hits in a 2-0 defeat. That putrid offensive performance spoiled a strong outing from Jeff Samardzija, who allowed just four hits and one earned run over eight innings.
The Angels — despite a relatively quiet trade deadline and the loss of stud starter Garrett Richards — are suddenly four games up on the A’s in the American League West with a month to go.
Your box scores and recaps from Saturday …
Yankees 0, Blue Jays 2
Tigers 3, White Sox 6 (Game 1)
Cubs 5, Cardinals 1 (Game 1)
Reds 2, Pirates 3
Twins 2, Orioles 3
Indians 3, Royals 2 (11 innings)
Marlins 4, Braves 0
Rangers 0, Astros 2
Phillies 7, Mets 2
Red Sox 0, Rays 7
Tigers 8, White Sox 4 (Game 2)
Rockies 2, Diamondbacks 0
Cubs 2, Cardinals 13 (Game 2)
Dodgers 1, Padres 2 (10 innings)
Athletics 0, Angels 2
Brewers 1, Giants 3
Nationals 3, Mariners 1
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: