Last night felt like we let one get away.
I understand Oakland, who is still an excellent baseball team, will get theirs over the course of the season. But with Lance McCullers Jr. on the bump pitching with fans in the stands for one of his starts for the first time since the ALCS in 2018, it just felt like we let this one getaway. Once again, we saw LMJ cruise until one long inning with a high pitch count derail the kid. The new arm angle and new wipeout slider paired with that heavy sinker are just downright filthy at the moment.
LMJ struck out 6 over 5 innings and only gave up one run. The maturation of Lance as a pitcher is the question mark some fans have. In the 4th inning, we saw a bases-loaded situation with one out after an infrequent error by Carlos Correa, and someway somehow, Lance pitched out of danger and was pumped about it. That moment in the stadium felt like a true playoff experience because it got LOUD and is a data point of how Lance is starting to take the next step as a front-end rotation arm.
Bryan Abreu is a stud. This is his own paragraph because we most definitely wasted his relief appearance and the kid is a legit weapon in the bullpen.
Our offense was shut down by Sean Manaea last night, who just seemed to constantly attack the hitters in the zone and fool them. Anytime you get Michael Brantley looking on a call or strike out Yordan on 3 pitches, you know you’re cooking with fire.
This afternoon is the series’s rubber game match and just another big matchup with our little brother of the AL West.
P.S. I missed 2 full innings getting ice cream because the line was so damn long. We need to work on this.