Rich Hill’s Short Outing

After I finished watching “The Jungle Book,” I stood at a bus stop next to a guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty promoting an income tax service.  It took forty minutes for the bus to arrive.  I transferred to another bus that took me to the Fruitvale BART station.  One baseball fan standing on the platform with his son talked to me about the old days when Rickey Henderson was playing.  When I got to the stadium, the gates had already opened.  I had forgotten that it was Jackie Robinson Day, so I wasn’t wearing my jersey with the number 42.  I was the first person seated in my section.  Vida Blue, Blue Moon Odom, Rickey Henderson, and Dave Stewart were on hand as four of the African American Franchise Five.  Reggie Jackson was absent.  The game notes said that the A’s were one of three teams that had not allowed a run in the first inning, along with the Blue Jays and the Indians.  That changed on this night when Rich Hill threw more than 100 pitches and couldn’t complete five innings.  Annoyingly, he walked the first Royals batter of the game, and then allowed two consecutive singles to make the score 1-0.  A double play ground ball brought in another run.  Hill walked another batter before getting a strikeout to end the inning.  It seemed like a particularly bad start to the game considering the Royals’ relief pitching.  The A’s got a double from Josh Reddick in the bottom of the inning but couldn’t respond with any runs.  In the top of the inning, Hill struck out the first two batters, but then gave up two hits before getting the last out.  Stephen Vogt led off the bottom of the inning with a home run to make the score 2-1.  Khris Davis and Marcus Semien drew walks, but the A’s didn’t score any more runs in the inning.  Hill couldn’t hold the line in the third inning.  Again he walked the first batter.  After a ground out that advanced the runner, the Royals scored their third run on a single.  Hill got out of the inning without giving up any more runs, although he allowed a sixth hit.  In the bottom of the inning, Reddick walked with one out, but then Danny Valencia hit into a double play.  In the bacon coupon contest, a fan could name only five presidents.  If he had named the presidents during his lifetime and Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and FDR, he could have done better.  Hill gave up a seventh hit in the fourth inning, a double, but he kept the score at 3-1.  He went past 90 pitches, though.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s managed to get closer when Vogt singled, went to second on an out, and scored on Khris Davis’ single.  That was Davis’ first RBI of the season.  Hill got the first batter out in the top of the fifth inning, but then allowed two more singles.  Bob Melvin surely wanted to see him complete the inning, but he brought in Fernando Rodriguez, who walked his first batter to load the bases, but then got out of the jam with a double play.  The A’s were quite in the bottom of the inning.  Rodriguez got two outs in the top of the sixth inning, but also gave up a single and a walk, so Melvin called for Marc Rzepczynski, who got a strikeout for the third out.  The A’s got only a two-out walk from Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the inning.  In the Big Head race, it looked like Rollie Fingers let up at the end to allow Rickey Henderson to win on Jackie Robinson Day.  In the top of the seventh inning, Rzepczynski allowed a single, but then Yonder Alonso picked up a ground ball for a 3-6-3 double play.  Valencia committed an error to break a streak or errorless games, but a strikeout ended the inning.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s got a single from Semien with one out but nothing else.  They were running out of outs.  Ryan Dull continued his good pitching with a clean inning in the top of the eighth, the only clean inning for the A’s in the entire game.  In the bottom of the inning, Vogt singled with two outs, and Lowrie followed with a walk, but Davis couldn’t get the big hit with two outs.  The score was still 3-2, but scoring even one more run was a struggle for the A’s.  Dull got one more out in the top of the ninth inning, and then Melvin went with Sean Doolittle.  On a 1-1 pitch, Doolittle gave up a big home run.  Everyone’s been wondering why he’s been giving up the big hits lately.  He got the next two batters out, although a 4-2 score was discouraging.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s were quiet again, with Alonso, Semien, and Crisp making the outs.  Crisp, Coghlan, Valencia, and Alonso weren’t able to get on base at all during the game.  Fans on the radio postgame show were critical of the decision to go with Crisp and Coghlan instead of Burns and Canha for this game.  Mark Mulder talked about Hill’s pitching and his need to improve.  The game began at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 65 degrees, and it ended at 10:22.  Attendance was 19,451.  I hurried home to get some sleep.  We were advised to arrive early for today’s game because of the additional people who were going to be around, going to the Warriors playoff game next door.  A drunken woman made the trip back home somewhat unpleasant.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 16, the music concert “Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Fee South Africa” occurred at Wembley Stadium in London in 1990, with a lineup that included Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Natalie Cole, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, and Tracy Chapman.  In 1993, Paul McCartney performed at the Hollywood Bowl for the first time since his days with the Beatles.  In 1996, Judy Collins married Louis Nelson.

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