It wasn’t the pitching, it was the offense. Some of it was the pitching. J.A. Happ was a happy Happ for half an inning, staked to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd, that he promptly gave up in the bottom of the 2nd — a 2-run homer to Chris Davis to make it 2-1 Oakland and a sad Happ. A 2-run homer to Marcus Semien in the 3rd made it 4-1 and a very sad Happ. In the 5th, a leadoff double, hit-by-pitch, and walk sent a hapless Happ to the showers. Chad Green came in and got two popups to keep the runners in place, but then an infield single made it 5-1 Oakland.
The ball is LIVELY — so pitcher mistakes are being magnified — make a mistake and it’s a homerun. Happ isn’t the only pitcher who has felt the wrath of the lively ball, although his off-speed pitches may be more susceptible than others. After the game, he gave his usual good interview.
Happ: “I feel good, so I feel like I can make the adjustments.” pic.twitter.com/6ar8fWln25
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 22, 2019
Oakland Pitching Kept Yankee Offense at Bay
The Yankee offense couldn’t get anything going against Mike Fiers (12-3 3.46) — and this is the worry for the playoffs, when umpires start calling everything a strike in cold October evenings and it’s been all about the offense getting runs. This Yankee team is partially built with batters who put the bat on the ball (a strategy successfully used by Boston last season).
Chip 👏 Away 👏 pic.twitter.com/UdZz63kjWj
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 22, 2019
But Aaron Judge (who has hit well in the playoffs, coming up with big hits in fact) went 0-5. And DJ LeMahieu (who hits hits hits) also went 0-5 — the Yankee two leadoff batters a combined 0-10. Clearly the A’s strategy to keep them off the bases worked, whatever they did to make that happen.
The closest the Yanks came was in the 7th, when Ford’s homer made it 6-3 and Didi Gregorius hit a 2-out double to make it 6-4, runners on 2nd and 3rd (the tieing run on 2nd) — but Gleyber Torres grounded out.
In the 8th, Mike Tauchman walked and Mike Ford singled — but with runners on 1st and 3rd, one out, Liam Hendriks (15 saves, 1.48 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 47 hits in 67 innings) came in and struck out both LeMahieu and Judge. Hendriks pitched a 1-2-3 9th for the win.