A’s struggle against Giolito in Wild Card Game 1

Oakland – In the best-of-three game Wild Card series, the A’s didn’t get off to the start they wanted. Lucas Giolito almost pitched a perfect game while Oakland’s offense struggled against him.  The result proved costly as the A’s lost 4-1 to the Chicago White Sox.

“Giolito was good,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.  “We knew he’d be tough.  Looking at some of his previous outings, you could get his pitch count up a little bit and make him work.  That was the plan.  But it didn’t work out that way for us.  He was on it right away, threw strikes and kept us off balance.”

Giolito retired each of the first 18 batters he faced before Tommy La Stella broke up his no-hitter with a lead off single in the seventh frame.  He became the fifth pitcher in postseason history to take a perfect game into the seventh inning.  Giolito struck out eight, walked one, allowed two hits and one run.

Oakland’s offense went six innings without a hit or a walk.  They extended their postseason losing streak to six games, which matches the longest such streak in Athletics postseason history.  Tomorrow will be a do-or-die situation for Oakland to stay in this series.  

“We wanted a series, we lost the first game of it, now it is time for us to respond well tomorrow,” said Melvin.  “We are going to have to do more offensively, we can’t score one run and think we are going to win tomorrow and put that much pressure on our starters.”

Jesus Luzardo allowed three runs, six hits through 3.1 innings.  Tim Anderson went 3-for-4 with two singles and a double.  Adam Engel, Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal all homered.  Engel went deep in the second on a fly ball, Abreu blasted a two-run homer in the third while Grandal’s solo shot in the eighth sealed their victory.

“Two mistakes, two home runs,” said Luzardo.  “Obviously it’s a team that hits lost of home runs and they capitalized on those two mistakes, I feel like my pitches were pretty good other than that.

I was trying to go down and away, but left it more middle than it was supposed to,” on pitch to Abreu.  “They guy is a MVP caliber hitter.  I made a mistake.  That’s not where I meant to put it.”

Photo by MLB/Michelle Minahen

By the eighth, Oakland’s offense came alive.  Mark Canha was issued a free pass to start the frame.  Jake Lamb singled and Canha advanced to third.  Ramon Laureano grounded into a force out and Canha scored making it a 4-1 game.  Sean Murphy singled and Laureano advanced to second with two on and two outs.

But La Stella who had an opportunity to keep the inning going grounded out into a force out to end the threat.  The A’s offense never got another shot and will have to play their best game tomorrow for Game 2.  One of the A’s best pitchers, Chris Bassitt will take the mound tomorrow.  

J.B. Wendelken made his third consecutive postseason roster for the A’s but made his postseason debut today with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief.  The A’s bullpen allowed one run in 5.2 innings after allowing one in 7.0 innings in the Wild Card game against Tampa Bay last year.

“I have no doubt in this team,” Luzardo said.  “I know there’s a lot of pessimism gong around from a lot of people, but not in this clubhouse.  Whatever is said negatively about this team, it doesn’t get in our heads.  I know Bassitt is going to dominate tomorrow and the hitters are goin to hit.  We’ll go to Game 3 and see what happens.”

Chris Bassitt Named AL Pitcher of the Month for September

Oakland A’s right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt has been named American League Pitcher of the Month for September.  This is his first career Pitcher of the Month award and the first by an A’s pitcher since Sean Manaea in April of 2018.

Bassitt went 3-0 with a 0.34 ERA and .232 opponents batting average in four starts in September.  He did not allow a run in three of his four starts and yielded just one run in 26.2 innings.  Bassitt walked five and struck out 25.  His ERA was second lowest in Oakland history in any month to Cory Lidle’s 0.20 ERA in August of 2002 and it was the lowest in the majors in the month of September since Greg Maddux had a 0.29 ERA for Atlanta in 1995.  It was the first time in his career he won three games in a month.

Bassitt was 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts this year and has been named the A’s starting pitcher for Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series on Wednesday against Chicago.  His ERA was sixth lowest in the majors and was second lowest among pitchers in the West divisions.

Malaika Bobino

Malaika Bobino, an Oakland, California native, is a Bay Area sports journalism powerhouse and influencer. With nearly two decades of experience at both the Oakland Post and the Huffington Post, she is always on the front lines of the iconic Bay Area sports scene. Bobino covered the Oakland A’s postseason trips, all three of the San Francisco Giants World Series, was present for all three Golden State Warriors three NBA Championships and covered the 49ers last two Super Bowl appearances

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