The Oakland A's sure can lose the hell out of a postseason series. Despite making it to October more than any team besides the Dodgers, Yankees, Cardinals, or Braves in the Billy Beane era, they have achieved crap. Coming into today's decisive Game 3 against the White Sox, Oakland had dropped nine straight winner-take-all games. The 10th felt inevitable by the second inning today, when Luis Robert sent a pitch to the Great Baseball God In The Sky.
Instead, under a sickly orange sun, the A's broke their historic streak of futility by winning a wacky, agonizing game that lasted four hours and twenty minutes, took 17 pitchers to complete, and featured one on-air cuss. The stupidity started in the first inning, as Rick Renteria pulled starter Dane Dunning after just two outs and 15 pitches. Dunning—who has eight career starts—made way for Garrett Crochet—who has 6 2/3 career innings and skipped the minors. Crochet threw two nasty strikeouts before leaving with forearm tightness, and Renteria wound up using six pitchers to get through four innings.
Meanwhile, Mike Fiers was chased shortly after letting Robert break the Oakland Coliseum home run distance record, and the A's first three pitchers all gave up runs. Everyone seemed nervous, The aura of anxiety was briefly punctured by Ramon Laureano's hilarious on-air declaration that Eloy Jimenez "can FUCKIN' run," though Jimenez hurt his foot while FUCKIN' running, and he had to leave the game. The blood moon-looking sun rose further into the sky.
The next inning, Renteria opted to intentionally walk A's backup third baseman Chad Pinder to load the bases, only for Matt Foster to walk in two runs and tie the game. Things stayed weird in the fifth inning when Tommy La Stella stymied a potential rally by somehow holding onto this one.
Somehow, the game ended only 6-4, despite the A's drawing nine walks and the White Sox accruing 12 hits. Both teams stranded 12 runners, and Chicago left the series hitting just 4-for-28 with runners in scoring position. Liam Hendriks lasted 49 pitches yesterday and had to watch Jake Diekman save the game up two with the bases loaded, but he was ripping today, and he sealed Oakland's first winner-take-all game victory since 1973.
The Astros await. Fuck the Astros. The wannabe Patriots but with more cheating and less winning are as despicable as any organization in baseball, and the A's have more reason to hate than anyone besides the Dodgers. As this homer sees it, and as A's players see it, the Astros' 2018 and 2019 AL West crowns are the rightful property of the A's. The nobody-believes-in-us schtick is breathtakingly brazen, and I want the A's to drive them into the ground like a tent spike. Mike Fiers blew the whistle on Houston and Ramon Laureano famously tried to fight the entire Astros bench. If the Yankees sweep the A's or some shit in the ALCS, I will still be overjoyed with the A's postseason if it involves exposing the Astros as haughty frauds and talking some good shit on the way out.