Article by staff writer Brian Brownfield – Martinez News-Gazette
Photos by Tod Fierner
OAKLAND, Calif. — Nothing has been ordinary about 2020. After a four-month hiatus without baseball, games are being played in front of cardboard cutouts of fans and giant teddy bears. What’s just as strange: the struggles of the Oakland A’s offense through six games, which failed to get going on Wednesday afternoon against the Colorado Rockies. After a home run in the first inning, the A’s mustered only four additional hits en route to a 5-1 loss to the Rockies, dropping both games of the interleague series and finishing the opening home stand 3-3.
The A’s got a five-inning start from a pitcher for the first time all season as Frankie Montas was solid in his second outing of 2020. Montas went five innings and sprinkled five hits and two walks across his time on the mound, adding in three strikeouts.
He ran into trouble in the second, where he loaded the bases with one out for Tony Wolters. The Rockies catcher nearly cleared the fence with a blast to right, but it hit off the right field wall. The runners had to pause with Stephen Piscotty in pursuit, so Wolters only got a single and that was the only run the Rockies got in the second, tying the game. They added on in the fourth when a pair of leadoff singles was followed by a Garrett Hampson sacrifice fly, giving Colorado a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.
Aside from a five-run first against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels on Sunday, the A’s have struggled to get their bats going early in games. Matt Chapman helped the A’s put those thoughts somewhat to rest after both Marcus Semien and Ramon Laureano struck out on three pitches. Chapman lined a 3-1 fast ball that narrowly snuck over the wall in left-center field. It marked the first home run of the season for Chapman, and the first home run for Oakland in the first inning of a game.
Among bright spots on the day, Robbie Grossman continued his hot start the season with a pair of hits, including a double in the fifth inning. Jesus Luzardo made his second appearance of the season out of the bullpen and struck out five in 3.2 innings, but ultimately gave up three runs in relief, with two of them unearned after he made a throwing error with two outs in the eighth.
Hitting with runners in scoring position and strikeouts were detrimental to the A’s on Wednesday. Oakland went 0-6 with runners in scoring position, with chances in the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings to break through. The A’s also struck out 11 times, the third time in six games in which Oakland hitters have struck out at least ten times.
Oakland will get its first off day of the early season on Thursday as they travel north for their first road trip of 2020. The A’s will take on Seattle at T-Mobile Park for a four-game wraparound series over the weekend, with Friday’s series opener set for 6:40 pm.