Losers of three straight home series, the Athletics' frustrations are starting to become more and more obvious each day.
The A's (53-42) find themselves 11 games over .500, which is good for the second wild card spot in the American League, with a chance at still battling with the rival Houston Astros for the AL West crown. By all accounts, they're having a good season. So why the frustration?
It could be much worse, and the team knows that. But they also know that they are capable of playing a lot better than they currently are. They've shown flashes of being one of the best teams in all of baseball, but inconsistencies on the mound and at the plate have prevented Oakland from reaching their true potential.
A's starting pitcher Chris Bassitt threw the ball well in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, but made one too many mistakes, which ended up being the difference in the game.
On the very first pitch of the game, Bassitt surrendered a leadoff homer to Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer, which was a mistake in location.
“Straight location," Bassitt told reporters postgame. "That guy was swinging first pitch and expecting a fastball so if I throw it middle-middle, bad things are going to happen. If I execute a pitch, it’s one out."
The A's were able to respond with a run of their own in the second, and another run in the bottom of the fifth after the Indians tallied their second run off Bassitt. No harm done.
Unfortunately for Oakland, it was Bassitt's mistake in the top of the seventh that proved to be the deciding factor.
With two outs in the inning, Bassitt surrendered a solo homer to Indians right fielder Daniel Johnson. For Bassitt, he was facing a different hitter mentally than he was physically.
“I had a complete mental F-up," Bassitt explained postgame. "Where I knew [Indians 1B Bobby Bradley] wasn’t hitting but in my head, the scouting report in my head was that Bradley was hitting. I was (mentally) pitching to Bradley but obviously, he wasn’t hitting. [Sean Murphy] was calling the completely right pitches but I F'ed up, I F'ed the game up and had the wrong scouting report.”
Despite the few mistakes he did make, Bassitt pitched very well Sunday. If the A's offense was clicking, those mistakes wouldn't have mattered.
“We feel like we’re healthier and have a deeper lineup, we just haven’t seen the results yet," Bob Melvin said of the A's offensive struggles. "I feel good about it every day when we go out there.
"Every day we go out there I feel like we’re going to break out of it.”
The A's are still primed for a run at the postseason, so the sky isn't exactly falling yet.
Baseball consists of many ups and downs throughout the long 162-game season, and the A's could flip a switch at any moment.
"The results aren’t there right now but that’s just baseball for you," A's right fielder Seth Brown said postgame. "Next week we could all be hitting 1.000. It's just one of those things where baseball is going to be up and down for you and you gotta be able to grind through it when it’s not going your way.”