Vaunted bullpen trio lets A’s down in loss to Tigers

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Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined to pitch nine scoreless innings, allowing just three hits in the process, in the series sweep of the Rangers last week. In today’s Game 2 loss to the Tigers, the trio gave up four runs — two earned — and six hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

What was a 2-1 Oakland lead when Doolittle entered to start the bottom of the seventh turned into a 5-4 loss after Don Kelly’s sac fly in the ninth.

All three relievers allowed two hits. Doolittle still would have escaped his inning clean if not for Coco Crisp’s drop of Miguel Cabrera’s fly to shallow center. It was ruled an error, so both runs Doolittle allowed were unearned. Still, he took a blown save, as did Cook after his wild pitch allowed the tying run in the eighth. Balfour suffered the loss in the ninth after entering a 4-4 game.

To see all three get negative results in the same game is simply incredible. Doolittle took a loss or a blown save just twice in 44 regular-season appearances this year. Balfour was even better, with three such appearances in 75 trips to the mound. Cook took a loss and/or a blown save seven times in 71 appearances.

Now, sure, many of those appearances came in situations in which a loss or a blown save was never in play. And most of them didn’t come against offenses as good as Detroit’s. Still, for all three to fail back-to-back-to-back, well, perhaps there is a little something different to this thing they call postseason baseball.

Yoenis Cespedes may need season-ending surgery

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Yoenis Cespedes is facing potential season-ending surgery, the outfielder told reporters following the Mets’ 7-5 win over the Yankees on Friday. Newly-returned from the disabled list after rehabbing a hip flexor strain and quad tightness, Cespedes appeared to be back to his old self after going 2-for-4 with a walk, base hit, and home run (his ninth of the year) during Friday’s series opener, but later remarked that he was suffering from calcification in both of his heels.

The only remedy, it appears, is a surgery that would require anywhere from 8-10 months of recovery. Should he elect to undergo the procedure now, it goes without saying that he won’t be able to return to the field before end of the regular season. On the other hand, if he postpones the surgery until the offseason, he could miss the first half of the Mets’ run in 2019.

The pain doesn’t seem to be debilitating, at least for the time being, but Cespedes added that any discomfort in his heels causes him to stand, walk, and run differently, which presents a definite problem if the club intends to ramp up his workload going forward. The Mets have yet to announce a final decision regarding any surgical procedure, though they will bench the outfielder for Saturday’s matinee against the Yankees. Following yesterday’s impressive performance, Cespedes is currently batting .262/.325/.496 on the year with 15 extra-base hits, three stolen bases, and an .821 OPS through 157 PA.