Jharel Cotton’s Dazzling Debut

After I dealt with some paperwork and bought some groceries, I headed out to the Coliseum.  Someone was handing out free samples of yogurt pops.  It tasted OK for an early afternoon that was warming up, but I wasn’t inspired to go out and buy more of them.  I took my seat in the morning and looked around me to see that many people in the stands took seats in the shade.  It was a game between two of the American League’s worst teams, so baseball fans weren’t excited to pay for tickets.  Mike Trout and Albert Pujols weren’t even in the lineup for the Angels.  The main attraction on this day was the debut of Jharel Cotton, the pitcher the A’s acquired in the trade with the Dodgers.  This was two days after the debut of Raul Alcantara, who went through a rough three innings.  Cotton didn’t disappoint the home fans, as he started off with nine consecutive outs, with the help of Jake Smolinski’s catch of a sinking line drive in left field.  Cotton gave up a single to start the fourth inning, but then he got another five consecutive outs.  Meanwhile, the A’s got four men on base during the first three innings, all on walks, but produced no runs until the fourth inning.  Yonder Alonso started off that inning with a double, followed one out later by hits from Max Muncy and Brett Eibner, producing two runs.  Cotton gave up just a two-out walk in the fifth inning, so he did get that shutdown inning that Vince Cotroneo always talks about.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s loaded the bases with no outs when Marcus Semien singled and Stephen Vogt and Khris Davis both walked.  Alonso singled to bring in the A’s third run of the game, but then Ryon Healy and Max Muncy both struck out, and Eibner hit a ball to first base.  I thought it was especially frustrating to see Muncy strike out looking.  There was no Big Head race.  Cotton made his one real mistake in the seventh inning, as he gave up a home run.  It looked for a moment that Eibner was going to catch the ball, as it was in his glove for an instant.  Cotton went to a 3-2 count to the next batter before getting a foul ball that Healy caught.  That was it for Cotton.  He finished with a 1.42 ERA, and he looked like he could become an exciting pitcher.  Ryan Dull was summoned, and he got two strikeouts to close out the inning.  The A’s did come back with one run in the bottom of the inning, as with one out Healy hit a home run into the left field bleachers.  Vince Cotroneo said that the ball travelled 404 feet and had an exit velocity of 107 mph.  Liam Hendriks took over in the top of the eighth inning and threw 13 pitches to the first batter before finally getting an out with a ground ball.  A strikeout and a fly ball finished the clean inning, the fourth of the afternoon for the A’s.  In the bottom of the eighth inning, the A’s stranded two more runners.  The only inning in which they did nothing was the first.  Ryan Madson pitched the top of the ninth inning.  He got a quick strikeout, and then a fly ball to center for the second out.  The last out was a ground ball.  The game started at 12:37 with a game time temperature of 79 degrees, and it ended at 3:49.  The attendance was 11,866.  The usher in my section told me that she was surprised that I stayed out in that sun all afternoon.  I thought that I was about to turn into a pile of ashes if I stayed out there much longer.  One of the foul balls in the second inning hit a vendor in the back.  Ken Korach mysteriously disappeared from the radio broadcast late in the game.  I didn’t go straight home.  I stopped at Target and bought an Icee.  I went over to Best Buy and bought a pair of ear buds and the Blu-ray disc of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”  I couldn’t get Gene Wilder’s recent death out of my mind.  I browsed through the record stores and thought about buying a copy of “The Red Shoes.”  I went out for a hamburger before I returned home.  Some of the people who died on September 8 include Richard Strauss (1949), Dorothy Dandridge (1965), Zero Mostel (1977), Jean Seberg (1979), and Brad Davis (1991).  Today is a birthday for Bernie Sanders (75).

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