Not even a gem from their ace could stop the Athletics from a historically bad homestand.
The A’s fell 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday despite seven shutout innings from Frankie Montas, wrapping up six straight losses at the Oakland Coliseum which consisted of two consecutive three-game sweeps – first at the hands of the Cleveland Guardians and then the Rays.
It was the first 0-6 homestand for the A’s in their history playing at The Coliseum. The last time they lost six or more in a homestand was in 1956 when they were still in Kansas City. After a promising start to the season, the A's are now five games below .500 and fourth in the AL West.
On Wednesday, the A’s mustered just four hits and went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. During the six-game losing streak, Oakland has been held to one run or fewer in half of the games.
“The hits will come,” Montas said to reporters. “We have a lot of talent.”
Manager Mark Kotsay elaborated on the offensive struggles, noting that every team goes through stretches like this. The A’s rank in the bottom five of the league in team batting average (.206), on-base percentage (.269), slugging percentage (.329) and OPS (.598).
“The guys are grinding,” Kotsay said to reporters. “It’s not for lack of effort or lack of fight. You go through these stretches as a group. You get that one big hit and there’s a big sigh of relief. And then the momentum. Offense is contagious. You see one guy take a good at-bat and it just just seems to fall in line with the rest of the group. It feels like it’s a grind for them and we’re going through it together.”
The A’s bullpen, which has many new faces this season, is also going through it. In Tuesday night’s 10-7 extra-inning loss to the Rays, the A’s jumped out to a 5-1 lead and had a two-run advantage in the ninth, only for Mike Zunino to tie the game with a two-run homer off Kirby Snead. Lou Trivino then gave up five runs in the 10th.
On Wednesday, Montas managed to hold the game at a scoreless tie through seven innings, only for the Rays to score three runs in the eighth off Zach Jackson after Montas departed at 103 pitches.
The A’s next few games don’t get much easier, as they hit the road to play the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins for three games beginning Friday.
Kotsay declined to use the word “deflating” to describe the late-inning woes, instead choosing “anger.”
“Because they know we had opportunities to win games this homestand and we didn’t get it done,” Kotsay said. “Moving forward, we talk about our mindset and winning the day. That group understands we’re going to go through these times.
“Every team goes through these situations – whether it’s lack of offense one day, bullpen doesn’t come through one day. My whole focus with that group is, ‘Can you continue to keep that mindset of: ‘We’re going to go out and win the day?’”