Blackburn Can’t Find Rhythm Against Locked Mariners originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The Athletics’ troubles against the Seattle Mariners in this series continued on Wednesday, and even Paul Blackburn could not change their fate.
Blackburn, who started Wednesday’s game with a 2.26 ERA – the best among A starters – had their worst outing of the season, losing 9-0 at the Coliseum as the A lost the first two games of a three-game set.
Blackburn, 28, allowed seven runs on 10 hits in four innings, the first time he allowed more than four runs in a start all season.
“He didn’t have his best stuff,” manager Mark Cotsey told reporters. “He tried to manage this squad to get through it. Again, they have guys who are very good at hitting the ball. .. We made a few mistakes and they were implemented.”
Blackburn allowed single runs in each of the first three innings, but it cost him the fifth inning when he gave up four hits in a row to start the frame.
Julio Rodriguez, who started the scoring with an RBI double in the first inning, led fifth from a single and then scored with Jesse Winker’s two-run homer. Eugenio Suárez then singled and then Blackburn were eliminated after Taylor Trammell scored a brace.
“I feel like I made some good passes and they hit the mark,” Blackburn told reporters. “And they also got into bad fields. Just one of those nights when they were locked up. When I needed to pitch, I couldn’t pitch.”
Blackburn didn’t think it was the worst he’d felt on the hill this year, but he couldn’t get into a rhythm and the Mariners benefited from almost everything he threw.
“It’s been a long year,” Blackburn said. “That’s why there are so many ups and downs. Today was just one of those days. Overall, I didn’t feel like my stuff was terrible. It was just one of those days where they hit the good pitches I made and they also made me pay for the bad pitches I made. This is the major league. These guys are good too. It was just one of those days.”
His struggles in the Colosseum also continued. In six home starts, Blackburn is 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA while he is 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA away.
Kocai said Blackburn’s performance on Wednesday was “out of the norm” for him this season.
“He fell behind [in the count] some guys,” Kocai said. “They put together some good players against Paul and as a result they got him out of there a lot sooner than expected. Just overall not the best night on the mound for us.”
After losing 8-2 in Game 1 of the series on Tuesday, the A’s failed to gain momentum on Wednesday with another lopsided loss. The offense had seven hits, but the result was 0 for 6, and the runners took up the scoring position.
“Overall, I think the bats weren’t as bad as the numbers make it out to be,” Kotsey said. “We will turn the page and prepare for tomorrow.”