Offense dormant as A's return to field

September 5th, 2020

OAKLAND -- After such a long period of inactivity, A’s manager Bob Melvin was realistic about expectations for his club on Friday night. He anticipated some rust, and that was certainly the case.

Coming off a five-day hiatus caused by a positive COVID-19 test, the A’s were silenced by Zach Davies and the Padres in a 7-0 loss at the Coliseum.

“You’re probably going to be a little rusty based on not seeing live pitching,” Melvin said. “Once you get into the game, you don’t feel that way. You just react and play. But it probably takes a little while to come back. The guys won’t use [the layoff] as an excuse. We’ll get the first one out of the way and come back tomorrow expecting to win.”

matched zeros with Davies through four innings before unraveling in the fifth as the Padres touched the left-hander for four runs. Luzardo’s fifth was a sharp contrast from his first four frames in which he limited San Diego to one hit.

Though Melvin said Luzardo may have been fatigued by that point, Luzardo said his downfall was the result of not mixing up his game plan after Padres hitters made adjustments as they faced him a third time through the order.

“Their approach changed. I wrapped around the lineup again, and they tried a better approach,” Luzardo said. “I didn’t change my game plan the way I should have and recognized it too late.”

Charged with four earned runs, Luzardo took his first loss at home after entering the day with just five runs allowed in his first five games at the Coliseum this season.

A better outing from Luzardo might not have made much of a difference on a night when A’s hitters struggled to regain their timing at the plate following the long layoff.

The A’s offense was limited to four hits. Oakland’s only semblance of a rally came in the fourth when appeared to score from first base on a two-out double by before the call was overturned on a replay review. Upon first glance, it appeared Olson had evaded a tag from Padres catcher Austin Nola. But after review, the umpires determined Olson had not yet touched the plate before getting tagged.

The play was certainly a momentum shift. Instead of taking an early 1-0 lead, the overturned call ended the inning and kept the game tied shortly. The Padres put up a four-spot in the next inning.

“Replay is replay. Doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s just replay,” Melvin said. “There’s probably a little bit of a momentum swing if we score the first run there. It’s just frustrating.”

Yet to review the play after the game, Olson said he felt his cleat touched the plate before getting tagged. Regardless of the call, Olson did not believe the game was impacted heavily by the decision.

“It’s been a few days since we’ve had live at-bats, and Davies is a guy that nibbles around the zone,” Olson said. “He’s doing what he has to do to get outs and is a big location guy. He stayed off the barrel today.”

Minor roughed up in debut
A’s newcomer will be looking to forget his first outing with his new club in a hurry. The left-hander acquired from Texas just before the Trade Deadline entered the game out of the bullpen in the seventh inning and surrendered back-to-back homers to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado to begin his inning, increasing San Diego’s lead to 6-0.

Minor eventually finished the inning, and though his appearance wasn’t great, Melvin wasn’t too concerned with it. Minor threw only fastballs and changeups, and Melvin was just trying to get him in a game after the lefty hadn’t pitched since Aug. 28. Minor is expected to start one of the games in the A’s upcoming doubleheader against the Astros on Tuesday.

“It would have been six days since he last pitched, and we just wanted him to get an inning before the doubleheader,” Melvin said. “Based on where the game was, I did want to get him an inning, and he got that in today.”