Kendall Graveman’s Sixth Loss

I went to the record store and bought what I thought was a CD of Roy Buchanan, but I opened the case to see a disc of Duane Allman.  I did some work on my final exam and answered some students’ questions.  I was certainly looking forward to the end of the school year.  I left to board a BART train to the Coliseum.  I got there after 6:30. This year’s Yankees team didn’t attract very many fans to the ballpark on a Thursday night.  Alex Rodriguez was out with an injury.  Kendall Graveman took the mound for the A’s as “Sweet Home Alabama” played.  Even though he allowed a single in the first inning and a double in the second inning, he kept the Yankees from scoring until the third.  It was a walk and a double that gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.  Josh Reddick made a rare error when he couldn’t catch a ball hit to him.  Reddick tied the score in the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run.  Danny Valencia followed with a single, but then Khris Davis insisted on swinging on the first pitch, and so he hit into a double play.  It seemed like Kendall Graveman got to a 2-0 count on practically every batter he faced.  In the fifth inning, Graveman hit a batter with a pitch and gave up a single and a walk but the Yankees didn’t score in the inning. In the sixth inning, Hahn allowed three consecutive singles and a double, but with a runner at first picked by Graveman and another runner thrown out at second, Graveman gave up just one more run.  What was really annoying was that the RBI came from the Yankees’ ninth batter.  I was hoping that the A’s would slow down those Yankees.  It had been painful to watch Graveman fall behind in the count so often and have to get some of those outs on the bases.  It felt that Bob Melvin was one batter too late in bringing in Marc Rzepczynski, who took one pitch to end the inning with a ground ball to first.  The A’s could respond in the bottom of the inning.  In the Big Head race, Dennis Eckersley finally won, although the radio broadcast didn’t seem to notice the result, as they said that Rollie Fingers had won.  Rzepczynski gave up a single to start the seventh inning, but got the next three batters out.  Josh Reddick singled to start the bottom of the inning, and he stole second, but he was injured on the play.  He stayed in the game until the inning was over.  The A’s couldn’t bring him in from second base with no outs, however, as Valencia and Davis struck out, and Stephen Vogt fouled out.  John Axford pitched very well in the eighth inning, as it was a clean inning for him.  The bottom of the order continued to do nothing in the bottom of the inning.  Chris Coghlan was 0-for-2 with his batting average dropping from .168, where it was at the start of the night.  Billy Butler pinch hit for him with two outs not grounded out.  Fernando Rodriguez came in to pitch the top of the ninth inning with the usual “Money for Nothing” playing.  Ken Korach had been praising him as one of the best relief pitchers in the American League this season, but two batters hurt him and killed the A’s chances of winning this game.  Rodriguez started well by getting the first two batters out, but then he went to a 3-2 count on the third batters in giving up a walk.  On a 1-2 count, he gave up a home run to Carlos Beltran, who made up for a baserunning mistake in which he apparently was unaware that there were two outs instead of one in moving only one base on Reddick’s error.  Rodriguez got the third out on a fly ball to center.  At 9:28, the fans were doing The Wave, which was extremely annoying with the home team behind in the score.  It felt like this inning was a punishment for the fans’ doing The Wave.  Down in the score by 4-1 and having to face a pitcher who was throwing 100 mph pitches, things looked bleak for the A’s.  Coco Crisp singled to lead off the inning, and he took second base on defensive indifference.  Billy Burns’ at-bat was a bad-looking strikeout.  Tyler Ladendorf, whose batting average was still at .000, had replaced Reddick.  He flied out to center.  Danny Valencia was unable to keep things going, as he struck out to end the game.  The A’s four-game winning streak was over.  What was noteworthy in the game was that the Yankees’ starting pitcher was having a good game and had thrown only 62 pitches in six innings, but they went with their big relief pitchers the rest of the way.  The game began at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 61 degrees, and it ended at 9:46.  The attendance was 17,456.  As I walked across the left field sections to get to an exit, I passed my old seat, and the usher there saw me and asked me where I had been the first month and a half of the season.  She even said she had asked other people about me.  After twenty years in the same section, I had moved.  She asked me if I had seen Khris Davis’ walk-off grand slam.  I headed home quickly with the night getting cold.  The Who had been playing next door at the Oracle Arena, but I didn’t see too many of their fans.  Bob Melvin is a fan, and perhaps he caught the end of their set.  Instead of listening to the radio announcers talk about a loss, I listened to The Jesus and Mary Chain on my way home.  It was the first disc of a compilation called “Upside Down: The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain,” and it reminded me of why I liked this band so much during the 1980s.  I craved some pizza, but just headed home and had some chicken salad on pita bread.  I heard about the death of Morley Safer, which was sad just a week after his retirement.  I don’t know if I should ever retire.  I also heard that Josh Reddick had broken his thumb.  Just when the A’s lineup was looking promising, there is this setback.  Some of the people who died on May 20 include Christopher Columbus (1506), Clara Schumann (1896), Gilda Radner (1989), Stephen Jay Gould (2002), and Robin Gibb (2012).  Today is a birthday for Mary Pope Osborne (67) and Cher (70).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 20, Paul McCartney’s “With a Little Luck” reached Number One on the singles chart in 1978.  In 1987, “Beverly Hills Cop II,” starring Eddie Murphy, was released.  In 2015, David Letterman appeared in his final Late Show.

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