According to the box score Oakland Athletics rookie pitcher Jarrod Parker struggled against his former team the Arizona Diamondbacks and yet this would be an example of how looks are deceiving. It certainly wasn’t the best performance for Parker and six of the Diamondbacks eight runs were because of either a blown call or strikes not being called strikes, which resulted in the ejection of A’s manager Bob Melvin who had a legitimate argument as Parker was being squeezed.
In the first inning Jason Kubel drove in Willie Bloomquist for the first run of the game for the Diamondbacks. During Kubel’s at-bat, Bloomquist was called safe on a stolen base attempt even though he was clearly thrown out by A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki as second base umpire Bill Miller was not in good position to see the play at second and called Bloomquist safe, though it was obvious that Cliff Pennington was able to get the tag down.
The fifth inning is where the source of most frustration came for the A’s. Parker got the first out of the inning getting a ground out to short stop by former A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill. Gerrardo Parra singled, Bloomquist singled and next up was Justin Upton and this was the at-bat that started the big inning by the Diamondbacks. Parker fell behind to Upton and that’s when Tim McLellan’s strikezone became the source of frustration. The 2-0 pitch should have been a strike it was on the outside corner and got plenty of the plate, the very next pitch was nearly identical to the pitch called the ball except for it was higher and was somehow called a strike; Parker was able to throw another strike which evened the count up at 2-2.
Parker painted the outside corner with a 95 mph fastball and yet called a ball, the very next pitch may have been a little more outside, yet Upton swung and fouled that pitch off. Parker threw a changeup to the inside corner a perfect pitch because it froze Upton and the A’s for the second time should have had the second out of the inning. That was not the case McLellan ruled the pitch a ball and the count instead became full. Parker this time left a changeup over the plate and Upton doubled scoring Parra for the second run of the game for the Diamondbacks.
Wanting no part of Kubel the A’s intentionally walked him to face Paul Goldschmidt with the bases loaded. Parker immediately got ahead in the count to Goldschmidt and another questionable ball from McLellan kept Goldschmidt’s at-bat alive as the next two pitches from Parker were in the dirt, Parker on the full count pitch struck out Goldschmidt.
With two outs Parker faced Miguel Montero who took advantage of a mistake 1-1 pitch that missed the outside corner and wound up being towards the middle of the plate. Montero crushed the pitch for a grand slam, which as a result gave the Diamondbacks their sixth run thanks to the extra outs received from the umpires.
After the game Melvin said on the ejection “I was just arguing, yeah.” He may have been “just arguing” what he really was doing is standing up for his young pitcher who wasn’t getting the calls he should have been getting.
This game though is a great learning experience for Parker, so next time he’s in a situation where he’s being squeezed by an umpire calling balls and strikes or an umpire on the bases blowing a call; he can calm himself down and not let the frustration affect his rhythm on the mound. There’s no question that Miller and McLellan blundered, yet Parker will need to overcome those and just get the next batter or batters out because if he had the Diamondbacks don’t have any runs on the board.