Chris Smith’s Misfortune

I took the buses out to Jack London Square to catch the 11:15 showing of “War for the Planet of the Apes.” I learned a little more about Bad Ape from this second viewing. I went over to the 12th Street BART station and got to the Coliseum early. A few people got into the line outside the gate before I did. A woman came around and pestered some of the people in the line, rambling on about how the day was her 60th birthday. When she walked past me, I noticed how bad she smelled. She was walking around in slippers. Eventually, she did move on. After the gates opened, I headed to a table and bought two autographed mugs. I then bought a ticket to have my photo taken with Rickey Henderson, and I got into a line for autographs from Dallas Braden and Dave Stewart. Dallas sure has become a hairy guy since 2010, with his ponytail and huge beard. Dave didn’t have a Sharpie on him. Terrence Long was at a counter, but I already had his autograph. Marcus Semien was at the far end of the room, but the huge line discouraged me. I went to the A’s wives table to have my mug filled. I think it was Yonder Alonso’s wife who scooped a lot of ice cream for me. I went over to the Rickey Henderson line. Some fans grumbled that he wasn’t going to sign certain items, like bats and baseballs. When it was my turn, Rickey said that he would have signed my picture, but I chose to get the photo. I guess he was suggesting that an autograph would be more valuable. I already got his autograph last year, and the picture I had in my hand was a card with Dave Stewart’s picture on it. I saw Matt Chapman signing some autographs, but I had enough and left. I visited the food trucks but decided that I didn’t want any food yet with all the ice cream in my gut. Chris Smith was the starting pitcher for the A’s against the Rays on this night. He struck out the first two batters of the game in a clean first inning. In the bottom of the inning, Rajai Davis singled, and he stole two bases as Marcus Semien and then Ryon Healy struck out. Khris Davis saved the inning with a home run, putting the A’s ahead, 2-0. Smith couldn’t get the shutdown inning, however, as he gave up a four-pitch walk, and then Matt Chapman committed an error on a ground ball that should have been a double play. The runner at third base scored on a sacrifice fly. Smith gave up a single before getting the next two batters out, although Ken Korach on the radio commented that the A’s should have had two double plays in the inning. Before the next inning, a fan won a watch for answering a trivia question about Scarlett Johansson being the number one box office movie star of 2016. Smith’s first pitch of the third inning was a home run that tied the score at 2-2. Smith allowed a two-out walk through the rest of the inning, and he had a clean fourth inning. In the bottom of that inning, Khris Davis and Jed Lowrie both walked. Matt Chapman hit a fly ball that moved Davis to third base. Adam Rosales hit a foul ball that the catcher caught. Just as it looked as though the A’s would not get anything out of the inning, a wild pitch allowed Davis to score, with Lowrie going to second base. Josh Phegley singled, but Lowrie went only to third base. Phegley for some reason was caught too far off first base so that a 2-3 play got him out. The A’s would do nothing over the next three innings. Fortunately, Smith would continue to pitch well through the seventh inning. He allowed a single to start the fifth inning. Phegley would throw out the runner attempting to steal second base on a strikeout pitch, and then Smith would get the next seven batters out. Chapman made a good play to end the sixth inning. Smith ended his night with an ERA of 2.77 and the chance to get a win if the A’s could hold a 3-2 lead over the last two innings. Blake Treinen replaced Smith for the eighth inning, and he had a clean inning. In the bottom of the inning with one out, Rajai Davis singled. Semien hit into a force play, and he went to second base on a wild pitch, but Yonder Alonso struck out. Santiago Casilla came out to pitch the top of the ninth inning. He had the count at 0-2 to the first batter, who hit a ball down the left field line that looked like a sure double, but Chapman reacted quickly and grabbed it and threw to first base for the first out. It seemed to be the play that would save the game for the home team. Casilla struck out the next batter to bring the A’s to within one out of a win to send the fans happy on Root Beer Float Day. He went to a 2-0 count before giving up a single. A pinch-hitter came in, and a bad first pitch to the next batter was a wild pitch. The runner stole third base before Casilla gave up a walk. On the next pitch, a ground ball to the right side wasn’t hit too hard, but it got past Rosales for a single and a tie score at 3-3. It felt like the inning had already gone on too long with Casilla, but he faced another batter and got to a 3-2 count before giving up another hit, giving the Rays a 4-3 lead. After the second out, four consecutive hitters reached base, with three singles and a walk. The fans booed, and Bob Melvin brought in Liam Hendriks. After a stolen base put runners at second and third, and Hendriks got the count to 3-2, he got the strikeout that ended the ending. We saw the John Belushi Animal House video clip before the bottom of the ninth inning, but the life had evaporated from the stadium. Khris Davis had the count at 3-2 but struck out, and Lowrie struck out. Down to their last out, Matt Chapman was hit by a pitch. Matt Joyce came up to pinch-hit for Rosales. Joyce once had a pinch-hit grand slam in the ninth inning, but this time up he swung at the first pitch and grounded out to first base. Ken Korach said that this was one of the toughest losses of the year. The fans were disgusted with the way Casilla blew the game, denying Chris Smith the win, which would have been his first win as a starting pitcher, and his first win since June 24, 2008. This game had started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 66 degrees, and it ended at 9:57. The attendance was 15,231. Chris Townsend on the radio said that we didn’t want to see a 36-year old blow a game after all the good feelings during the day. Chris Smith is also 36 years old. Some of the people who died on July 19 include Joe Flynn (1974), Lefty Frizell (1975), Jack Warden (2006), Frank McCourt (2009), James Garner (2014), and Garry Marshall (2016). Today is a birthday for Benedict Cumberbatch (41) and Brian May (71). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 19, Sun Records released Elvis Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right,” in 1954. In 1974, Joe Flynn drowned at age 49 in his swimming pool in Beverly Hills.

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