Rich Hill’s Tough Start and Throwing Error

Instead of watching the end of the Columbo episode, I watched “Unbreakable.”  It seemed to have links with “The Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis, a young boy, and the ability to sense things about people.  It was hard for me to believe in Samuel L. Jackson as someone who was physically fragile and involved in comic books.  I don’t think I wanted to know the fate of the characters through captions at the end.  Still, I thought it was a better effort from M. Night Shyamalan than anything besides “The Sixth Sense,” although that really just says something about his later efforts.  I went to work and had extra tasks to do because someone called in sick.  The boss noted that I didn’t apply for a promotion.  I was impatient to get home to have a late lunch and take a nap.  I did buy a hamburger and did fall asleep while listening to the radio.  I got up slowly and got on the bus to the Fruitvale BART station.  I got to the Coliseum and the season ticket holder line.  It took me until 5:27 to get through security and start towards my seat.  I thought about my financial situation and hoped I wasn’t making mistakes.  We saw the families of Dave Henderson and Tony Phillips go onto the field to throw out the first pitch.  We had a flyover.  During the team introduction, we heard music from The Prodigy, “Smack My Bitch Up.”  Because Sonny Gray had suffered food poisoning, he was scratched from the game, and so Rich Hill was the starting pitcher for the A’s.  A bad sign was that the first pitch of the season hit the first batter.  Hill would also hit the third batter of the game, but a pickoff play and a strikeout got him out of the inning without giving up a run.  Hill would actually have a good clean second inning.  Meanwhile, for the White Sox, Chris Sale got the first six A’s batters of the game out.  Hill started the third inning by getting an out, but then he walked the next batter, and he committed one of the A’s big errors of the game with a throw to first base, allowing the runner to get to third base.  Hill seemed to come apart after that mistake.  After a triple and a single, the score was 2-0.  After another double, Hill was teetering.  A strikeout gave him a chance to stay in the game, but then Marcus Semien fielded a ground ball and threw high to Mark Canha at first base.  It was an error that was surprisingly charged to Canha, but in any case resulted in two more runs.  Fernando Rodriguez was brought in, and he allowed a single before getting a strikeout to finally end the inning.  A lot of people expected Chris Sale to continue his excellence, since he was given a 4-0 lead, but he had difficulty getting through the bottom of the third inning.  After Canha struck out, Stephen Vogt got a single on a ground ball that the second baseman couldn’t reach in time.  Billy Burns hit a ground ball for the second out, but it advanced the runners.  Jed Lowrie singled to drive in two runs.  Josh Reddick singled, and then Danny Valencia singled to make the score 4-3.  However, Khris Davis couldn’t keep the momentum going, as he struck out.  Rodriguez would pitch a clean fourth inning, and Ryan Dull would follow with six consecutive outs of his own.  Meanwhile, the A’s would squander a Billy Butler double leading off the bottom of the fourth inning, and they would get another double from Butler in the sixth inning, but it was with two outs.  Coco Crisp came in to pinch-run for Butler, but Canha couldn’t get the big hit.  In the first Big Head race of the new season, Rollie Fingers won.  John Axford pitched the top of the seventh inning, and he was throwing hard.  He gave up two hits and nearly allowed a run, but he did get the key out.  During the seventh inning stretch, Jeffrey Osborne sang “God Bless America,” and he also heard Ray Charles’ “Shake Your Tail Feather” before “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  In the bottom of the inning, Billy Burns singled with two outs, but he was caught stealing, as he was indecisive in returning to first base.  Ryan Madson pitched the top of the eighth inning.  A line drive to third and a line drive to shortstop were the first two outs, and a fly ball to right field was the third.  The relief pitchers were doing a good job.  In the bottom of the inning, Lowrie drew a walk.  After a pitching change, Reddick hit a ground ball that advanced Lowrie to second base.  After another pitching change, however, Valencia hit a fly ball out to right field, and Davis struck out for the third time.  Sean Doolittle came in to pitch the top of the ninth inning, and Brett Lawrie hit his first pitch for a single.  However, he got the next two batters out, and he picked off Lawrie.  Before the bottom of the inning, we saw the John Belushi clip from “Animal House,” intercut with the A’s various walk-off wins over the years.  The A’s had a chance with Coco Crisp drawing a walk.  Chris Coghlan pinch-hit for Canha and took a third strike looking, which was aggravating.  Vogt hit a fly ball for an out.  Yonder Alonso pinch-hit for Semien, and he quickly grounded out to end the game.  It was a frustrating 4-3 loss because of the errors.  The game began at 7:07 with a temperature of 65 degrees, and it ended at 10:03.  Attendance was 35,067.  The usher in my section asked me if I was returning for the next game.  I said yes.  I wondered how Sonny Gray could suffer food poisoning for a second time.  What has he been eating, anyway?  I headed back to the BART station and returned home just after 11 o’clock.  I watched Maureen O’Hara and John Candy on the Tonight Show rerun from 1991.  I ate some food and went through my mail and listened to the radio before going to sleep.  Some of the people who died on April 5 include Howard Hughes (1976), Kurt Cobain (1994), Allen Ginsberg (1997), Saul Bellow (2005), Debralee Scott (2005), and Charlton Heston (2008).  Today is a birthday for Agnetha Fältskog (66) and Mary Costa (86).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 5, public television station WGBH in Boston carried a James Brown concert at the Boston Garden on short notice in an effort to calm the city following Martin Luther King’s assassination.  In 1975, Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You” reached Number One on the singles chart.  In 1987, the Fox television network began its official primetime schedule with “Married… with Children” and “The Tracey Ullman Show.”

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