The Athletics’ 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night at T-Mobile Park was a wild one … of the pitching variety.
The A's set an Oakland-era record with a total of five wild pitches on the night, three of them from reliever Jake Diekman in the seventh inning alone.
“Balls in the dirt,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game. “With sliders, [Diekman’s] trying not to hang them, probably make too good of pitches and they end up being some tough blocks where it’s kind of in-between where you get a decent hop and where you don’t. Kind of bounced off [Sean Murphy].”
Diekman, who is tied for the second most blown saves in the AL (five), ended up striking out two in the seventh inning.
Starter Frankie Montas who struck out 10 across six frames, said he knows what it’s like to be in Diekman’s shoes, watching wild pitches bounce in the dirt.
“I’ve been there,” Montas said. “I feel like every pitcher’s been in that position. It’s a tough spot, but you can’t take that stuff away when you’re pitching. It happens, that’s part of the game. Just got to stay there, keep grinding and make good pitches.”
And yet, Montas remains confident in his relievers. All A’s starters do.
“Honestly I think our bullpen’s been really good, to be honest with you,” Montas said. “Can’t complain. The guys go out there and give 110 percent. That’s all you can ask for. Every time we go out there, we just try to give 100 percent.”
Murphy had a tough game behind the plate as well. Between the wild pitches, foul balls off of his calf and mask, and being hit by a pitch while he was batting in the seventh inning, he had a brutal night. It would have been fair for him to be taken out, but Melvin said Murphy is a “tough kid,” and didn’t want to be taken out of the game.
The A’s are one of the teams that will be shopping for bullpen arms as they head down the playoff stretch toward the July 30 trade deadline. Perhaps their acquisition(s) will help strengthen a bullpen that desperately needs it during those fall months.