The Oakland Athletics seemingly take turns getting clutch hits to win games. This time, it was Stephen Vogt.
The Athletics and the Detroit Tigers took game two of the ALDS to the bottom of the ninth inning with no score yet on the board for either team. That changed quickly. Yoenis Cespedes led off the bottom of the ninth with a base hit to left. Seth Smith followed. Base hit to right. Josh Reddick walked, bases loaded, no out.
Stephen Vogt was next. He had two opportunities in earlier innings to drive runners in but failed to do so. He didn’t let his third chance go to waste, lining a Rick Porcello pitch to left-center field, driving Cespedes in, and giving the A’s game two.
The importance of this win cannot be overstated. A loss in the game would have translated to a loss in the series. The A’s would have had to win three straight games against Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, three of the top pitchers in the game.
A win, however, puts the pressure on the Detroit Tigers to produce at home and, most importantly, evens the series. In the process of equalizing the series, they have stolen the momentum from the Tigers.
Since the first inning of the series, the Athletics have outscored the Tigers 3-0. Yes, you read that right. Since the first inning of game one, A’s pitchers have held the Detroit Tigers, who have perhaps the most talented offense in the MLB, scoreless through seventeen innings. Give credit to the A’s have for pitching very well, but the Tigers have also been ice cold. The best hitting teams can hit tough pitching, yet the Tigers, with exception to the first inning have not been able to get a seriously threatening half-inning in the series.
Of course, the A’s have only scored three runs over that period, not an overwhelming amount. They have had, however, many more dangerous opportunities than the Tigers. In the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings of game two, the A’s had men in scoring position. This could potentially be a sign of better things to come for the A’s bats. They still need to drive in the runners on base, but getting people on base is the first step to scoring consistently.
Stephen Vogt’s hit put the A’s in a position to win the series. The A’s must have confidence and energy after missing multiple opportunities to score and still coming out with a win. They have played better than the Tigers for the majority of the series, putting Detroit on their back foot and snatching the momentum. The Oakland Athletics will look to keep the momentum traveling to Detroit for game three of the ALDS.