By Jason Wojciechowski on April 18, 2015 at 2:23 PM
A's 4, Royals 6
SP: Sonny Gray (6 IP, 4 R, 12 H+BB, 5 K)
LP: Dan Otero
Homers: Ike Davis (1), Stephen Vogt (2, 3)
Standings: T-2nd AL West, 0.5 behind Angels
Sonny Gray wasn't the sharpest he's ever been, but he also wasn't the dullest. Multiple ground balls went for hits just out of the reach of defenders, the big Sal Perez double in the sixth that led to the Royals taking a 4-3 lead went off Brett Lawrie's glove,1 and so forth.
Speaking of Lawrie, I don't know how I feel about his slide in the bottom of the sixth that knocked Alcides Escobar out with a leg injury. It was late and it was off the bag (which is the reason he was out, actually -- he either never touched the bag on the way through, or he touched the bag barely but came off it, allowing a tag to be applied), but every slide on a possible double play is late and off the bag. The slide was well in line with the major-league average slide. The problem is that no double play was going to happen because the ball tipped off Jeremy Guthrie's foot and made it a close play just to get an out at second -- forget first. The question is whether Lawrie should have known that in the heat of the play. As it turned out, a straight popup slide into second might have resulted in him being safe, much less the batter, but, as noted, you always slide into the defender, not the bag, if you're at all close. So I don't know.
One thing I note is that Omar Infante was very close to the play and didn't really react to Lawrie at all. Infante put his hads on his head because he knew Escobar was hurt, but he made no aggressive move toward Lawrie. And in light of Lawrie's apparent concern for Escobar, there was no need to start something ... but here came Sal Perez anyway. Infante's lack of reaction doesn't conclusively absolve Lawrie; nor, though, does Perez's reaction conclusively convict him. (On the other hand, and for what it's worth, Mike Moustakas apparently gestured for Lawrie to leave the field while Lawrie was checking on Escobar.)
Fortunately, the injury was only a mild knee sprain and bruise.
Rounding up all the Lawrie talk: Eric Hosmer thinks it wasn't intentional; Lawrie says he wasn't trying to cleat Escobar and that his foot just came up as he hit the bag; Ned Yost noted that the throw to Escobar was late and doesn't blame Lawrie; Bob Melvin had no issues with the slide (but he wouldn't, would he?); Lawrie doesn't hold Moustakas's gesture against him; Escobar is not being chill and disputes whether Lawrie texted him to apologize. Lawrie showed Slusser the texts, but it might be an old number and now it's a dang mystery who the hell got Lawrie's texts.
Meanwhile, John Hickey's question about whether "there was some concern over the possible reaction of an already inflamed crowd had Lawrie been called safe on top of everything that happened in the play" is a little embarrassing.
Mark Canha looked flat-out overmatched by Kelvin Herrera. On the other hand, the entire league is overmatched by Herrera, and it's not like the A's had any better options available. Pinch-hit Eric Sogard?
On the one hand, Dan Otero took as long as he did to get to the big leagues for a reason. On the other hand, relief pitching is fickle and one or two bad innings, especially early in the year, can really sink your season. If you can tell the difference, well, close this blog and send Billy Beane an email because you're about to be rich.
Stephen Vogt's second homer was majestic.
Not in an error way. In a "tried to make a tough play and got a glove on it but couldn't get it done, so the hitter got the double he earned" way. ↩