Good defense is a characteristic of this generation of the Oakland A’s. I’ve gotten so used to it now that when the A’s don’t make a defensive play, even if it’s a difficult one, I’m surprised.
Therefore, I hereby note that in the 28th game of the 2020 MLB season, the Oakland Athletics flubbed at least half a dozen plays on defense that they would ordinarily make. Two of these flubs, both my Matt Chapman, ordinarily the best defensive baseball player on the planet, led to all four runs that scored against them in this game, which the A’s ended up losing, 4-3.
The A’s officially committed three errors in the game, by Matt Chapman, Tony Kemp, and Marcus Semien. There were also a few plays not made which were not errors, but could have turned into outs, but didn’t. The first run of the game scored on a play ruled a fielder’s choice. It was a grounder to third with a runner on third and one out. Matt Chapman fielded a grounder by Mike Trout, and threw home to get the runner who went on contact. A good throw would have the runner out, but Chapman’s throw short-hopped the catcher, Austin Allen, and the time it took for Allen to gather the ball let the runner slide under the tag.
In the second inning, with runners on first and third and one out, a ground ball came to Matt Chapman, who could have turned a double play, but instead flubbed the ball for an error, and everybody was safe. The inning could have been over right there, with no runs scored. Instead, a run was in, and two batters later, Mike Trout doubled in another pair of runs.
So Matt Chapman could have made two plays, but didn’t, and the Angels led 4-0 instead of it being tied 0-0.
The A’s, being the good team they are, fought back, and got within a run, but couldn’t get all the way back to tie the game up.
Does the A’s defense suck because it sucked in this game? It’s only one game out of sixty. One bad game does not make a trend.
That’s easier to remember in baseball, when the next game is tomorrow. It’s easier to hold onto the idea that the A’s have, if not the best, but one of the best defenses in the world.
In a game like politics, however, when the next game is two, four, or six years later, a bad game, a bad administration, an imcompetent regime, it can be difficult to believe that what’s going on now isn’t a permanent change. The American government sucks right now, it can’t do anything right, and it’s easy to lose confidence in our system when that happens. But if America elects a competent government in November, perhaps this bad regime, this bad year, can be forgotten as an anomaly, a bad period in the long history of a great country, like a bad defensive day by a great defensive team in a long baseball season.