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Oakland A's make some dubious history in embarrassing loss to Red Sox

BOSTON -- The 2024 Oakland Athletics are bad. Like bad bad. Real bad. They're representative of a roster built for a franchise that's focused on moving to Las Vegas and is staring down the barrel of having no home next year.

It's not a good situation for anybody involved with the franchise. And the product on the field is suffering.

The Red Sox did not have to wait long to witness that firsthand. The two teams opened up their three-game series on Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum, and the A's immediately began bumbling and fumbling the baseball all around the ballpark.

After entering the game with an MLB-high eight errors through four games, the A's committed five errors before getting out of the third inning, contributing to an early 8-0 deficit en route to a 9-0 Red Sox win.

According to the Twitter/X account @MLBErrors, the A's have committed the most errors through five games since 1906.

Searching back through the game logs of that 1906 season -- who could forget it? -- it seems as though it was the Brooklyn Superbas who committed 13 errors through the first games that year. The Superbas had that team name from 1899-1910, becoming the Trolley Dodgers in 1911 and the Dodgers in 1913, the Robins from 1914-31, and the Dodgers again in 1932. If you're curious (I was) what "Superbas" was all about, that team was named after "a contemporary acrobatics exhibition" known as Superba, along the lines of what we'd now look at as Cirque du Soleil, according to a Fan Nation history of the Dodgers.

So, the 2024 Oakland A's did something that no team has done since the 1906 Brooklyn Cirque du Soleils.

In this game, the errors started right off the bat, as Jarren Duran stole second after a leadoff single in the first and advanced to third on a wild throw by catcher Shea Langeliers. Duran later scored the game's first run on a single by Triston Casas.

In the second inning, after a Masataka Yoshida leadoff walk, Enmanuel Valdez reached based on an error by center fielder JJ Bleday, who allowed a fly ball to kick off his glove while backing up on the warning track. It was ugly.

The A's committed an error with the very next ball put into play, as Cedanne Rafaela hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Yoshida scored from third, and the throw from right fielder Lawrence Butler bounced away from Langeliers, allowing Valdez to jog home.

With three errors and a 3-0 deficit through two innings, the wheels really fell off in the third.

After a Tyler O'Neill single and another Yoshida walk, first baseman Ryan Noda charged a hard chopper by Valdez but couldn't decide whether he wanted to throw to second or first base. He eventually decided on first, but his flip to pitcher Joe Boyle was wild, allowing O'Neill to score, Yoshida to advance to third, and Valdez to take second base. Yoshida then scored on another Rafaela sacrifice fly, giving the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.

Later in the inning, Duran recorded his third hit and his third stolen base. Boyle then tried to pick Duran off at second base but threw high and wide. The ball deflected off Zack Gelof's glove and into center field, allowing Duran to take third base on the A's fifth error of the game with two outs in the third inning. Trevor Story then delivered a two-out, two-RBI double to give Boston an 8-0 lead.

The five errors came from five different players, too -- one from the pitcher, one from the catcher, one from the first baseman, one from the center fielder and one from the right fielder -- which shows the A's have versatility and multiplicity when it comes to goofing around on the diamond.

And thankfully, Tony Massarotti shared all of the errors in an appropriately soundtracked 60-second video on social media: 

The putrid fielding performance combined with what looked to be about 95 percent of the fans being dressed as empty seats made for a rather disgusting viewing experience. But at least fans back in Boston felt comfortable retiring for the night a little bit earlier than they would have if the A's were a real MLB team.

The Red Sox went on to win 9-0, improving to 3-2 on the young season.

The A's, meanwhile, are 1-4, having been outscored by the Guardians and Red Sox 38-11. Their lone win came on a four-pitch walkoff walk, so it quite literally had to be handed to them. They may not end up being the worst team in Major League Baseball, but that's only because the basement is a bit crowded. (Looking at you, White Sox and Rockies.) Yet they've scored the fourth-fewest runs in MLB while being tied for allowing the third-most earned runs and 13 errors through five games. The Dodgers -- who have played seven games -- rank second with seven errors, followed by the Rockies with six. Every other MLB team has committed five or fewer errors, which means the first three innings for the A's on Monday were worse defensively than 27 teams' entire defensive seasons thus far.

"I wish I had an answer for the defense right now," A's manager Mark Kotsay, who's in for his third consecutive painful season, said after the game. "They're going to have to get better. That's just all there is to it. These first five games, if you told me we were going to play as bad defensively as this, I would have said you're dead wrong. We'll see how they respond [Tuesday]."

That we will. 

For the historical record, those 1906 Brooklyn Superbas did not clean things up in their sixth game, when they committed four more errors in a 4-1 loss to the New York Giants in front of 5,500 fans at Washington Park. Can the 2024 A's do better than that both in terms of errors committed and fans in attendance?

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